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Moulding Buying Guide

Including moulding elements such as baseboard, casing and crown as a decor category when renovating or redecorating your home can significantly impact its overall look and feel. We’ll teach you how to choose the right moulding to suit your design, as well as the various types of moulding materials and how to select the right size for the job.

Moulding.

Moulding Types

Types of moulding.

Primary trim is used in most installations. This category includes baseboards, casings, and crown mouldings. Typically, it is the most functional trim since it covers the gaps between two areas, but it can also be highly decorative, setting the style and tone of the room.

Design enhancing trim, such as chair rail, panel moulding and architraves, add extra dimension and style to any room. Walls and entry-ways with these extra touches will definitely stand out.

Decorative trim is the detailed design embossed into moulding that adds specific accents to a room. These distinct designs or patterns allow homeowners the opportunity to “dress up” a plain space while adhering to a budget. Corner blocks, plinth blocks, rosettes and other accessories are often used in conjunction with ornate mouldings.

For more help, see our Moulding Glossary.

Good to Know

Ask an associate at the Lowe's Millwork or Pro Service Desk for help with moulding questions.

Where to Use Moulding

Where to Use Moulding.

Wall and Ceiling: (Chair Rail, Crown Moulding and Panel Moulding) Crown moulding softens the transition from wall to ceiling, while adding charm and a luxurious feel to any room. Panel moulding is ideal for creating wall frames that can be dressed up with wallpaper or fabric. The right moulding is all it takes to transform a room.

Floor: (Baseboard, Base Shoe, Base Cap) These moulding elements are essential for covering gaps between floor boards or carpeted edges and adjoining walls. A great baseboard and supporting trim elements provide a smooth transition from the wall to the floor, guiding you seamlessly from room to room.

Door and Window: (Casing, Architraves) When walking into a home, one of the first things people notice are the doors and windows. Give them a “perfect view” with the use of great moulding and trim elements. Focal areas like entryways can establish the foundation for the overall style and decor of the entire home.

General Purpose: (Corner Moulding, Lattice, Screen Bead) From adding function to an entryway to updating an office with much-needed shelving, moulding and trim make DIY projects easy. Using additional moulding and trim elements can create a customized look and feel.

For additional moulding uses, see Designing with Millwork

Layered Moulding

Layered moulding.

You can create your own style by layering moulding products together to achieve a look that is all your own.

  • Combine two, three or four mouldings as a way to define the scale of a large room
  • Build-ups can be used for crown, chair rail, casing or baseboard to dramatically enhance the character of a room
  • Lowe’s offers a large selection of moulding styles and species in convenient pre-cut lengths and price points

 

For moulding build-up ideas, see How Do I Combine Moulding?

Traditional Corner Blocks

These products provide a decorative and functional accent. Moulding can be installed with square cuts by simply “butting” the square end of the moulding to the side of the block or rosette.

 

Plinth
Rosette  
Base  
Crown
Chair  

Moulding Material Choice and Use

Moulding materials choices.

Moulding comes in a variety of species and densities. Understanding the material differences and selecting the right one for your project is a key step in a successful installation and end result.

 

  • MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) is a high-grade, composite material. Moulding products tend to come primed, making it easy to paint.
  • Primed Finger Joint Products are available in Pine and Poplar wood. This engineered moulding is made by fitting smaller pieces together to create one long board. Finger Joint moulding looks best when painted.
  • Poplar is a favored material by design professionals. The crisp grain lines and rich wood tones accept paint and stain, making it a perfect wood type for any room.
  • Pine adds a distinct character to a room. The lines from the grain and occasional knots can create interest and texture.
  • Fir offers two distinct grain patterns. Mixed Grain (MG) offers coarse, wide, and light to dark patterns. Vertical Grain (VG) has a more consistent and tighter grain pattern and less color variation. This wood should be stained to bring out its natural beauty.
  • Oak moulding is typically milled from Red or White Oak, which are among the hardest and most durable wood species. Both have great grain appeal and are easy to sand, cut and finish. Your choice of stain color can really enhance the character of this material for a style that is all yours.
  • Aspen is a light, soft wood that is typically used for more ornate moulding profiles. It has a straight grain and fine uniform texture.
  • Polyurethane moulding is made from high-density polyurethane that won’t warp, rot or split. This product will create detailed patterns without the expense of wood. It’s lightweight for easy handling, saws like wood and comes preprimed and ready to paint.
  • Polystyrene prefinished moulding is lightweight and simple to cut using conventional saws, making installation a one-person job. These mouldings can be installed with construction adhesive or finishing nails and are slightly flexible, making them perfect for walls that aren’t true. They’re also moisture resistant—an ideal solution for kitchens and bathrooms.
  • PVC gives you the look of wood with moisture protection, inside or out. Strong and durable, PVC moulding is easy to cut and installs without chipping, splitting or cracking.

 

Wood Substrate Comparison

This chart is a handy reference to the most common wood substrates available, and has details to help you choose the right substrate to meet the demands of the project and the budget.

 

MDF   Finger Joint   Softwood Hardwood 
Materials Wood fibers and resin Pine, Poplar Pine, Fir, Hemlock, Alder, Poplar Oak, Maple, Cherry, Mahogany, Walnut
Best Finishes Painted Painted Clear, Stained, or Painted Clear or Stained
Weight Moderate Moderate Moderate Heavy
Installation Similar to solid wood but produces more sawdust Same as softwoods Can be cut with hand tools Difficult to cut with hand tools; requires pre-drilling before hand nailing

Cost

Economical Economical to moderate Moderate

Investment

Pros Long, consistent lengths of trim available Environmentally friendly; smaller lengths jointed together to eliminate waste

Allows for stainable product at a moderate price

Crisp edges can be milled into hardwoods
Cons Moulded edges must be softened to avoid flaking May require some sanding before painting
More susceptible to denting when used in high-traffic areas Can be restrictions in trim lengths and widths

Tools Needed to Install Moulding

Moulding installation tools.

In addition to a large variety of moulding to fit your style and budget, Lowe’s has all the tools, paint and additional accessories you need to successfully transform your space:

  • Miter Box and Back Saw, or Miter Saw - Allows you to cut perfect angles.
  • Coping Saw - The thin blade allows you to carve the end of a moulding to fit flush against another piece.
  • Finishing Nailer - Can be used in place of a hammer. Note: spring action staplers should not be used on moulding.
  • Finishing Nails - Available in various sizes and materials. The most common size used in moulding is 1-1/4 in. (3d) or 1-1/2 in. (4d). Use a galvanized or stainless steel nail for outdoors.
  • Hammer - Allows you to drive a nail into a piece of moulding. Always wear safety goggles.
  • Nail Set - Drives the nail below the wood surface without marring the moulding.
  • Tape Measure - Use a 25 ft. tape measure for most applications.
  • Level - An essential tool for making sure your installation goes smoothly. Available in traditional or digital versions.
  • Goggles and Dust Mask - Proper safety precautions should be a part of every project you undertake.

 

 

 

For painting or staining moulding, you'll need:

  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • Caulk
  • Drop cloth
  • Rags
  • Gloves
  • Paint or stain
  • Paint brush
  • Wood putty

How to Measure a Room For Moulding

How to measure for moulding.
  • Measure the length of each wall, taking into account openings for windows and doors.
  • Remember to add ten percent to the sum total for mitering.
  • Moulding is available in a variety of lengths. Use longer lengths of moulding in larger rooms so that fewer cuts will be required.

 

For more tips and instructions, see Install Decorative Moulding.

How to Select the Right Size Moulding

While your choice of moulding style is a personal one, the size of the room and the height of the ceiling in the room play an important role in making moulding decisions. Lowe’s suggests you consider the following recommendations as a minimum size range to use based in particular to ceiling height.

 

Ceiling Height Crown Size Casing Size Base Size
8 – 9 ft. 3-1/4-in. to 4-1/4-in. 2-1/4-in. to 3-1/4-in. 3-1/4-in. to 4-1/4-in.
9 – 11 ft. 4-1/4-in. to 5-1/4-in. 2-1/4-in. to 3-1/4-in. 4-1/4-in. to 5-1/4-in.
11 – 12 ft. 4-5/8-in. or more 3-1/4-in. or more 5-1/4-in. or more
12 ft. or more 7-in. or more 3-1/4-in. or more 7-1/4-in. or more

 

Can't find what you’re looking for in store? Ask a store associate for available Special Order options at your local Lowe’s store.

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