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Quick Tip: Moving a Light Switch Away from Door Trim

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[This is part of my How to Install Moldings series.]

Step 1: Move the Electrical Box for c. $75.00

Nearly all light switches are positioned too close to the side of a door frame to allow me to install wide moldings.

Sometimes I can get away with trimming a tad off of the side of the light switch cover. But not always.

And when my molding design requires that I move the entire light switch box over to make room for beautiful new moldings, I call a qualified electrician.

Here’s why.

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Quick Tip: The Two Most Important Molding Installation Tips I Have

[This is part of my How to Install Moldings series.]

My Dubious Qualifications

Prior to teaching myself how to install molding buildups, my woodworking experience included the following two projects:

The Fort  Building a wobbly tree house out of scrap lumber that my childhood partner-in-crime, Curt, and I, scavenged from around the neighborhood.  We built it about 10′ up in the big ash tree down by the lake (Wolverine Lake) in my Michigan, childhood yard.  I think we were about 10 years old at the time.

The Fish  Making a fish-shaped plaque on a band saw in middle school shop class.

And that’s it.

Post tree fort and fish, however, I did spend years working on and building precision machines like jet engines and broach machines, not to mention a short stint in a wildlife genetics lab.

And that background in precision work — where tolerances are measured in thousandths of an inch — prepared me for the #2 most important molding installation tip below, but not the first.

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Quick Tip: The Unifying Coat of Primer

The Importance of Priming Even Pre-Primed Moldings

how to paint moldings

After applying a unifying coat of primer on our half bathroom moldings. Before and after pictures below.

[This is part of our How to Paint Moldings series.]

Even if all of the flat-stock and moldings you installed come from the factory coated in primer, you still need to apply a final, unifying coat of sandable primer before you apply your first finish coat of paint.

Here are my four reasons why.

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Quick Tip: Blending Molding Scarf & Butt Joints Perfectly

Using a Primer Shadow as Your Blending Gauge

how to install bathroom moldings

Blending butt joints on our bathroom moldings.  Look for the primer shadow.

[This is part of our How to Install Moldings series.]

When two pieces of molding don’t quite lay flush with each other, you’ll have to do some blending.

This post shows you the trick I use to tell if my moldings are blended perfectly so the joint will not be seen after it’s painted.

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Quick Tip: Keeping Track of Good & Bad Layout Lines

how to install moldings tips

A simple tip for molding layouts.

[This is part of our How to Install Moldings series.]

The Problem

I like to draw layout lines all over my walls before I ever install moldings.  Doing this helps me visualize the moldings I think I want before I ever nail them to the wall.

But after revising my sketches multiple times I sometimes end up with a confusing web of scribbles and forget which are the final lines I want!

The Solution

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Quick Tip: Test Paint to Find Molding Proportions

how to install moldings

A quick coat of paint can help you visualize your molding proportions before installing them.

[This is part of our How to Install Moldings series.]

Fill In the Blanks With Paint

When you want to make absolutely sure you’ve got the right molding proportion — like the height of a wainscoting or the width of wall panels — but you’re still not confident enough to start nailing moldings to the wall, then grab some paint and fill in the blanks!

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Quick Tip: Making Two Pieces of Flat-Stock Flush With Each Other

how to install moldings

The right side of this butt joint won’t stay flush with the other surface, it keeps dropping below it. Here’s a way to fix that.

Note: The tip is for those of us who don’t own a biscuit joiner.

[This is part of our How to Install Moldings series and Our Molding Makeover Updates.]

Here’s how I deal with a butt joint that won’t stay flush to the surface I’m trying to even it out with.

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Bang, Bang, Psssssssh! Wet Walls & Stud Finders

how to install bathroom moldings

Don’t do what I did. A few notes on wet walls can help avoid calling the plumber.

Think Before you Hammer

I drove the nail through the baseboard with one final, satisfying whack.  And then I heard a faint hissing sound.

Pressing my ear to the wall I listened in disbelief.

Sure enough, the sound was coming from inside the wall.  A hissing sound.  I am such a dork!

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Molding Buying Tip: Turn it Over Before You Buy!

Matching moldings

Avoid a molding disaster by making sure you’re really buying the exact same moldings.

[This is part of our How to Install Moldings series.]

The problem: Exactly the Same Only Completely Different

You hand-pick a batch of moldings that you think are all exactly alike, but when you try to splice two pieces together, like when splicing two pieces of crown molding together or when matching two pieces of door trim, you discover that they do not match — that one is just slightly wider or thicker than the other — and so you can’t use them.

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How Do I Blend a Crown Molding Scarf Joint? Part I

[This is part of my How to Install Crown Molding Series.]

PJ is installing crown molding in his small New York City apartment. His question is about splicing two pieces of crown molding together.

PJ’s scarf joint.

Dear Ken: I stumbled upon your site yesterday while searching Google for “how to paint crown molding.”  You have done a fantastic job, as there is nothing else like your site on the web dedicated to molding.  Well done, I love it. 

Some background: I am putting up crown molding for the first time in my 550 square foot apartment just outside of New York City.  The ceilings are concrete and the walls and corners are far from square, which has made this job quite challenging for a first timer.  I have glued small wood triangles cut from a 2×3 board into the corners of the walls to act as anchors.
Unfortunately, I didn’t come across your site until after I bought and put up the molding.  If I could do it again, I would try something with multiple layers.
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