How to Put Moldings Around a Large Room Opening

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The architecture in some homes provides an open atmosphere with large entrances to adjacent rooms, such as from the kitchen to the formal dining room. The large openings offer the advantage of a roomy feel and the ability to carry large object through without scraping your knuckles on a narrow door frame. A plain Sheetrock opening gives you an opportunity to create a majestic entryway by installing eye-catching molding around the opening for a polished, expensive look.

Things You'll Need

  • Molding
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Primer, paint and/or stain
  • T-square
  • Pneumatic nail gun
  • 2 1/2 inch finishing nails
  • Table saw or miter saw
  • Caulk
  • Wood putty
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Select decorative molding for the entryway. Make sure you select wide molding as narrow molding will be eclipsed by the size of the entryway and look odd. Molding that is 3 inches wide or more should work for most entryways.

  • Select end caps for the two top corners of the entryway. End caps are square pieces of wood that contain decorative inserts such as symbols, flowers and seashells. The end caps will lift and broaden the appearance of the entryway, making it a focal point on the wall. Make sure the end caps are the same width as the molding you chose in Step 1.

  • Sand the molding with fine-grit sandpaper until the molding surface is smooth to the touch.

  • Prime the molding if you are painting it a solid color, and follow up with at least two coats of paint. If you are staining the molding, apply coats of stain until you’ve achieved the color you desire. Allow the primer, paint and stain to dry completely between coats in order to determine the final color of the molding.

  • Use a T-square to draw two lines in the top corner of the entryway in order to center the end caps. The lines should extend out and up from the corner of the entryway so that the end cap is perfectly square to the entryway when installed.

  • Install the end caps using a pneumatic nail gun and 2-1/2 -inch finishing nails. Hold the end cap in place and drive nails through the interior of the end cap. Do not place nails close to the edges of the end cap or you may split the wood. Use as many nails as required for the end cap to feel secure when you attempt to wiggle it. Most end caps require two or more nails.

  • Measure the distance from the baseboard to the end cap on each side of the entryway. Do not assume both sides are the same length as items in a home can vary, and even 1/8 of an inch can create an unsightly gap in your molding.

  • Cut the two side lengths of molding based on the correct measurements. The most efficient and accurate way to cut molding is using a table saw or miter saw. You need a straight cut across the molding at both ends.

  • Hold the side molding in place and nail it with a pneumatic nail gun. Do no place nails within 1 inch of the ends or sides of the molding or you may cause the molding to split. You need at least one nail per foot of molding in order to secure the molding well.

  • Measure the distance between the two top end caps and cut the top molding based on that measurement. Install the top molding with the same method used on the other molding.

  • Run a caulk line down the inside and outside edge of the molding and end caps and smooth the line into place with a wet finger. The caulk will hide gaps between the molding and the wall.

  • Fill the nail holes with wood putty using a plastic putty knife. Allow the putty to dry completely.

  • Sand the patched nail holes with fine-grit sandpaper until the patches are smooth to the touch. Wipe away the sanding dust.

  • Touch up the patched areas with the same paint or stain used on the molding.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wear safety glasses when using power tools.

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References

  • "Crown Molding & Trim: Install It Like a Pro"; Wayne Drake; 2003
  • Photo Credit Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
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