How Much Does Trim Work Cost?


Trim packages vary depending on wood type (or other material), the package and the size of the room or other project area receiving the trim. Basic interior trim types include baseboard, door and window casing, chair rail, picture rail and other simple decorative moldings. More elaborate trimwork, such as crown and cornice molding, often come at a higher cost due to the detailed profiles and expertise needed to install them. If you do the work yourself you may be able to save up to 50 percent on the total project.

Linear Foot Basics

  • The type of trim you want and where you live drives how much it costs. Stain-grade wood trim costs more than vinyl, and vinyl typically is more than MDF or paint-grade wood. Hardwoods such as oak, pecan, and hickory increase the cost, as do any special details on the trim. When factoring variables in the cost, the prices to install trim molding in 2014 can range between $3.37 and $6.42 per linear foot, or $674 to $1,283 for 200 linear feet, including labor and materials. Prices at the low end of the scale involve simple, standard moldings consisting of basic materials and designs. Prices at the high end represent mid-grade and better moldings installed by licensed and bonded contractors. This range does not include the cost to remove the old trim.

Finishing Costs

  • Trim and molding are usually stained and finished prior to the installation, and generally are not included in the price of materials and labor. But if the molding is a paintable grade, it's typically part of the bid or price for painting the home and is completed after the molding is installed. If the bid doesn't have the cost of staining and finishing figured into it, add it to the cost. The cost to stain and finish molding averages $1.48 to $2.52 per linear foot, or $296 to $504 for 200 linear feet. Finishing typically includes stain with two subsequent coats of lacquer or other clear protective topcoat.

High-Grade and Exotic Trims

  • High-grade trim typically consists of domestic hardwoods. Among the most commonly used are oak, mahogany and ash. High-grade or stain-grade molding, installed by the vendor, typically runs between $887 to $1,351 per 200 linear feet. Premium grades, exotic wood species and imported hardwoods are more expensive. Expect to pay between $1,010 to $1,505 for 200 feet of exotic hardwood trim installed. In some cases cherry wood, even though it's domestic, may be priced at the premium level.

Do-It-Yourself Savings

  • To get some idea of how much you can save by doing it yourself, or how much labor you're paying for, use a simple formula. Many carpenters use the half-and-half rule for basic jobs, which means you can save 50 percent, if you do the work yourself. For example, if 150 linear feet of molding costs $150, and you add another $150 for installation materials, such as fasteners and finishing supplies, plus $50 for equipment, your total is $350. Double that amount to $700 for a rough idea of how much you can expect to pay for everything including labor. If the walls, floors or ceiling are crooked, or crown or specialty moldings are involved, the price of labor goes up.

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