Lowe's Home Improvement

Moulding Buying Guide

Moulding can be used to hide small imperfections and complement the style of any room. Learn how to shop for the types of moulding that best suit your style and decor needs.


Determine Where Moulding Will Go

Larger foyer with chair rail, base and crown moulding, as well as window and door casing.

Before you begin a moulding project, assess the area. Decide what style is best for the room. Collect sample pieces of different shapes (called profiles) and experiment with them. If single profiles don't fit your décor, you can build up the moulding. This means you stack different profiles together to create a bigger or more artistic look.

There are three styles of moulding from which to choose: traditional, decorative and exterior. With these types, your decorating options are virtually endless.

  • Identify and list the places where moulding is necessary. If you're wainscoting a wall, don't forget to list the cap or chair rail.
  • Identify and list the places where moulding could complement your décor. For example, the sheet rock of a wall and ceiling may meet perfectly and not actually need moulding, but a handsome piece of crown moulding may add a finished, decorator touch.
  • Identify and list places of heavy wear in your home. Chair rail and outside corner mouldings protect walls from bumps and scrapes. In the long term, it is much easier to repair or replace a strip of moulding than sheet rock or wall paneling.
  • Identify and list places that could benefit from moulding. For example, window and door casings serve as frames, while hiding the seams where jambs and walls meet. Rosettes can be used to replace mitered corners, and plinth blocks or base blocks make it easier to join door casings and base moulding.

When shopping the moulding aisle, browse by application - such as ceiling, wall, floor, general purpose or door and window moulding. Within each application, you'll find profiles grouped together so you can explore all of your options easily. If you can't find what you're looking for, remember that you can mix and match different mouldings. If you're not sure how to get started, don't be afraid to ask a Lowe's associate for help.

Traditional Moulding

Front door with door casing, chair rail moulding and base board.

Unfinished Solid Wood Moulding is a common moulding used in homes. It can be made from pine or hardwood and milled to match almost any decorating style. Unfinished wood moulding comes in two grades:

  • Stain-grade moulding is made from clear lumber so it accepts stain well without streaking or blotching. The absence of knots and other defects yields a rich, even finish after staining or clear coating.
  • Primed finger joint or paint-grade moulding is made from short pieces of pine finger jointed together to create each piece of moulding. The difference in paint- and stain-grade moulding is that the finger joints in paint-grade moulding render it unsuitable for staining or clear coating. Most paint-grade moulding comes preprimed and ready to paint.

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) Moulding is a lightweight engineered wood product that cuts and works just like wood but is less susceptible to humidity and temperature. MDF moulding comes preprimed and ready to paint. Its workability and stability make MDF a good choice for any moulding application where a paint-grade solution is desired.

Prefinished Moulding is made from polystyrene and comes in several different wood grain patterns at a significantly lower cost than wood moulding. Since the finish is applied at the factory, it comes ready to install, saving you the time and expense of finishing it yourself. Prefinished moulding is available with several wood grain finishes and a traditional white so it can be used in many settings. Its low cost and easy installation make prefinished moulding an economical alternative to traditional wood moulding.

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Good to Know

Many flooring manufacturers offer pre-stained floor moulding to match their flooring finishes exactly.

Decorative Moulding

A grand entrance with wall tiles and build ups.

Decorative Hardwood Moulding

Decorative hardwood moulding is suitable for staining, clear coating or painting to accentuate and highlight any home's decor. Hardwood moulding is highly decorative and comes in many different embossed patterns, sizes and profiles. The embossing creates the appearance of hand-carved moulding, and the natural beauty of hardwood creates a sense of style and warmth. Matching corner blocks, plinth blocks and rosettes complement hardwood moulding and eliminate coping and miter cuts for easier installation. Use matching, decorative appliqués in conjunction with this moulding to personalize your trim.

Architectural Moulding

Architectural moulding is a premium, polystyrene or polyurethane moulding with large profiles that mimic the look of built-up moulding. Architectural moulding will not warp, rot or split. It is a low-maintenance material that saws, mills and works like wood. It is lighter than hardwood for easier handling and due to its light weight, workability and stability, architectural moulding is usually easier to install than traditional wood moulding. There are matching inside and outside corner bocks available to make installing the crown moulding even easier. The moulding comes ready to finish and can be painted or stained to match any color scheme or style. Matching ceiling medallions and wall niches are available to add the final touch to your trim.

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Exterior Moulding

Exterior front door with trim and decorative moulding.

PVC moulding is an excellent choice for exterior trim. It can be cut, drilled, screwed, nailed and painted just like wood. Unlike wood, however, it won't warp or split. PVC moulding is impervious to insect damage, rot and decay. PVC moulding is a viable solution to all of your exterior trim needs.