Replacing Exterior Door Moldings

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Taking the Old Molding Off

  • If your exterior door molding has seen better days, before moisture or termite damage, then it's definitely time to replace it. Taking off the old molding is a more delicate procedure than putting on the new. You want to be very careful not to gouge the jamb or damage the siding. Even placing a shim between the jamb and the pry bar can cause an indentation. So it's best to come in from the siding side.

    Use a flat pry bar and start where there is rot, if any. This will give you access without having to lean against the siding. If there is no rot, place the pry bar under or just at the edge of the molding on the siding side. You may have to hit it with a hammer to get it under the molding. Then place a block of wood between the pry bar and your siding. Use the leverage of the wood to push the molding up. Once you have a section up, you can usually stay in the area where the new trim will hide and marks made by the pry bar. Remove all the trim and clean the area well. If it is wet, you should let it dry before installing new trim or the new trim will rot out quickly from the moisture.

Cutting and Installing the New Molding

  • Measure the area from the where the old trim was. Using a miter saw cut your corners to meet at the top of the door at a 45-degree angle. Cut the bottoms at a 90-degree angle or a straight cut. It will make the finishing easier if you prime the pieces before you install them. It's also one less thing you have to worry about getting on the siding, too. Once the primer has dried, the pieces can be nailed in. Use a nail set to sink the nails. Then putty over them. Don't nail too close to the edges or you may split the wood. A nail gun can also be used. Some even have a setting to sink the nails. Once the pieces are installed, wood putty can be places in the mitered joints so there is no space left between them.

Finishing the Molding

  • Once the molding has been installed, it should be caulked with an exterior grade paintable caulk. Make sure there are no openings between the molding and the framing behind it. This caulking should be checked every so often to make sure it has not deteriorated at all. Moisture getting through can cause some major damage to your molding and the door jambs. Smooth the caulk out with your finger to make it look nice. Now the molding is ready for paint. Use a high quality exterior paint and brush on at least two coats. Keeping up with the caulk and the paint will give you great looking and structurally sound molding for years and years.

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  • Photo Credit Jamie Harris
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