Measuring for Molding

Posted by Patterncut on 1/29/2014 to Flex & Crown Moldings
Molding is the decorative wood trim found in many homes.  The term can refer to anything from finely scrolled and detailed trim found in period homes to the basic, plain and one dimensioinal flat boards that are prevalently seen in new construction.  In addition to molding that goes around doors and windows, there is crown molding which is installed at the point where the walls meet the ceilings.  The next lower trim  is called plate rail molding, and it’s usually installed at eye height.  After that, the next one below is called chair rail molding, and it’s installed around two to three feet up from the floor.  At the point where the walls meet up with the floor goes baseboard molding.  It really doesn’t matter how simple or fancy the trim is that you want to install.  The technique is the same. You need only a few tools to install molding.  
You’ll need a long measuring tape and a couple of good pencils, then you’ll need a miter box or radial arm saw to cut the angles.  They can not be cut with a jigsaw or saber saw so don’t even try.  And to prevent dents and dings in your wood, you should use an air hammer which works off of an air compressor.
You should not try to guess at how much molding you will need, as it’s tricky, especially as the 45 degree angles at which it’s cut will influence the total length of molding you’ll need.  Then there’s the occasional mistake, which sometimes can be fixed by joining pieces of wood together.  While you don’t want to underbuy, you don’t want to overbuy either.  If you have to err in one direction or the other, overbuying means that you won’t run out, mid-room, and possibly when the stores are closed.  You’ll ensure that you have the materials to finish the job without having to drop everything to run back to the store.
First, you’ll want to measure the length and width of the room to determine how much molding to buy.  You’ll need that exact measurement for crown molding, plus 20% to allow for mistakes and angles.  Then for all the molding on the wall itself (plate rail molding and chair rail molding,) you will want to subtract from those measurements the width of the windows and doorways, and add 20% for mistakes and angles.  For the baseboard molding, take that measurement and only subtract for the doorways, adding 20% for mistakes and angles.

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