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In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva discusses some of the many options available for trimming out the interior of a room.

How to Choose Molding:

  1. Clear hardwood moldings are expensive and used when you wish to apply a stain and varnish or just varnish.
  2. Clear pine molding has no knots and is suitable for staining and varnishing, or just varnishing.
  3. Clear, primed moldings are finger-jointed together from shorter pieces of wood, and are intended to be painted.
  4. Moldings made from MDF (medium-density fiberboard) are economical and come primed and ready for paint.
  5. Polymer molding has an attractive wood-grain finish, but can be stained or painted.
  6. Crown molding comes in a variety of sizes and styles and is installed at the top of the wall up against the ceiling.
  7. Baseboard moldings, which run along the bottom of walls, can be made from a flat board topped with a narrow base cap, or bought as a single piece with the top edge routed with a decorative profile.
  8. Baseboard is available primed for painting, or clear for staining and varnishing, or just varnishing.
  9. Shoe molding or quarter-round molding is used at the seam between the baseboard and the flooring.
  10. Chair rail goes flat against wall at about 30 to 36 inches high.
  11. Beadboard is used to create wainscoting along the lower portion of walls.
  12. Beadboard is typically topped with rabbetted piece of decorative trim.
  13. Colonial trim is often used for casings around windows and doors; installation typically requires mitered corners.
  14. To avoid cutting miters, square-cut the casings and install rosette blocks at the corners.