How to Stick Molding to a Door Panel


If your front door is uninspiring or your interior doors are bereft of style, adding inexpensive molding on the doors can create texture and drama. Molding can even make a cheap, hollow door look like an elegant solid wood door with recessed panels. To avoid permanent damage to the door, you can stick the molding on the door with adhesive rather than nails.

Things You'll Need

  • Chalk
  • Tape measure
  • Straightedge
  • Large nail
  • Hammer
  • Two sawhorses
  • Masking tape, 1 inch wide
  • Sandpaper, 80-grit
  • Rags
  • Pencil
  • Wood miter box
  • Handsaw
  • Two-sided tape
  • Construction adhesive
  • Plan the molding layout while the door is in position. Use chalk to draw lines where you want the molding, marking both the inside and the outside of the molding lines. Use a tape measure and straightedge to create lines that are straight and centered on the door. Make sure that the lines are the same distance from the edges of the door.

  • Remove the door from the hinges. You can remove most doors from the hinges by removing the hinge pins. Remove each hinge pin by tapping a nail into the hinge pin's small end, driving the pin out the other side. Use a hammer to tap the nail lightly.

  • Lay the door on two sawhorses so that the surface you will be working on is facing up.

  • Apply masking tape along the inner and outer chalk lines, creating a strip of exposed door between the two sections of tape that duplicates your molding layout. This exposed strip is where you will place the molding. Herbert Tennant of Habitat Modifications recommends taping off around the molding area to protect the door surface during preparation and to keep excess glue from marking the door.

  • Roughen the exposed strip with 80-grit sandpaper, if the door is painted or varnished. You do not need to sand the strip if the door is unfinished wood. Sand the exposed strip lightly to avoid tearing the masking tape. Wipe the sanded area with a damp rag to remove sanding dust.

  • Center a piece of molding on a section of the exposed strip of door, between two pieces of masking tape. Use a piece of molding long enough to extend past the corners where the adjoining pieces of molding will meet this piece. Mark one end of the molding with a pencil, drawing a line from the longer outside edge of the corner to the shorter inside edge of the corner. This line is where you will cut the molding to create a mitered corner.

  • Place the marked piece of molding into a wood miter box. A miter box is a tray with slotted sides that guides the cutting of wood at predetermined angles. Lay the molding in the box, lining up the pencil line on the molding with the miter box slots marked for a 45-degree angle. Mitered corners for squares and rectangles are always 45 degrees. Place the handsaw in the slots and cut the molding.

  • Remove the molding from the miter box and hold it in place on the door, lining up the angled cut with the corner of your layout. Mark the corner angle on the other end of the molding. Place the molding in the miter box and cut the molding at the angled mark.

  • Apply two-sided tape to the back of the trimmed piece of molding and stick the molding in place.

  • Repeat Steps 6-9 until all pieces of molding have been cut and are temporarily taped in place. Reposition or cut any pieces, as necessary, until you are satisfied with the layout.

  • Remove a piece of molding and remove the two-sided tape. Apply construction adhesive to the exposed strip of door. Lay the molding back in place, pressing gently until the molding is firmly attached and level on the surface of the door. Use a damp rag to wipe off excess adhesive from the sides of the molding. Repeat the process until all strips of molding are in place.

  • Allow time for the construction adhesive to dry. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for dry times.

  • Paint or varnish the molding, as desired, if you are not painting the whole door. If you are painting or varnishing the whole door, remove all masking tape before proceeding. If you are painting or varnishing the molding only, remove the masking tape after the painting or varnishing is complete.

  • Replace the door on its hinges and put the hinge pins back in place.

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