easy to install moldings

A center panel can break up a long run of molding on wide archways.

Other Posts in Dave’s Series

  1. Dave’s Kitchen Crown Molding Challenge
  2. Dave’s Foyer Moldings
  3. Corner Blocks for Dave’s Living Room & Foyer Archways

Hi Ken,

Once again I am very grateful for your help!

Corner Blocks

Q  When using corner blocks, is it better to use casing with a symmetrical profile?

I hadn’t even thought of this until you mentioned that the rosette corner blocks installed in my living room were Victorian style.

Although I had reviewed your Door Trim Gallery several times in the past, I reviewed it again with a focus on corner blocks and  noticed that all the casings used with corner blocks were symmetrical.  I’ve also noticed the same thing on other website photos of rosette corner blocks.

I’ve attached a few photos of our favored symmetrical and tapered casing profiles that have been increased in width and depth using back band or strips of flat stock.  The thought was that we could use one of these basic profiles but vary the width depending on where we use it.


Ken’s Answer

Good eye, Dave!  Yes, use a molding with a symmetric profile in combination with corner blocks.

Using a backband on this style profile is certainly an option, but one I’ve never used.  When I’ve wanted to beef-up a symmetric profile like this I’ve always added some flush strips to the back.  This allows me to control the thickness of the profile when the molding width is fine.  Either way gives you the control you want.

moldings with corner blocks

I really like this combination, Dave.  This would be especially nice.

reed molding for corner blocks

I like the reeding on the inside of this molding, but I’m not so sure about the cove molding to extend its width.

Keep in mind that the wider your casing molding becomes the wider your corner block will have to be.  If your other moldings are of not similar scale your door trim with corner blocks may look top-heavy.

Long Archway

interior home archway in living room

Dave’s wide living room archway.

Q  I’m glad you warned me about using an entablature here, as I was somewhat concerned about the proportions for such a wide opening.  I also like your idea about breaking up the casing with a center panel, but I wasn’t able to clearly see how you did it on  DOOR TRIM-128.  It almost looks like the top portion of the casing was cut out and replaced with flat stock that projects above and out from the casing around it?

Ken’s Answer

Yes Dave, once again you nailed it.  The casing is butted up against a center panel that is made from 3/4″ thick mdf flat-stock.  Note that I didn’t use a scriber on this door surround.  But I should have.

I want to thank you for asking these specific questions because they forced me to go dig around in my image files more deeply and find these finished pictures of the center panel that I thought were lost in my tragic MAC hard drive crash that ruined thousands of installation photos.

easy to install mdf moldings

This is the door surround with corner blocks Dave is referring, DOOR TRIM-128.

easy to install mdf victorian moldings

This center panel is a simple mdf flat-stock.

Victorian architectural decoration door trim

The paint is still wet on this applique. This motif is repeated in other architectural ornaments in the room.

Also, I didn’t understand your suggestion for using flat stock scriber on the inside of the casing.  Would that mean you would install casing on top of a somewhat wider piece of flat stock (with the extra width exposed on the inside) and then install corner blocks (same width as casing) on top of that flat stock as well?

Ken’s Answer

You can install scribers first and then wrap the casing around them — butted up next to them, not on top — or, if it’s more convenient, you can install your casing first and then butt the scribers up to them.

The below image is from our How to Make an Eared Architrave Part 2 series if you need a little more clarity.

greek revival door trim casing inner scribers

Flat-stock scribers are a simple, affordable way of adding width to your stock moldings.

Double Archway and Kitchen Archway

I’m planning to first install the moldings on the Double Archway and will definitely wrap the pilasters around the door jambs.  I also love your idea of a center panel with applique.  After I finish the Double Archway we’ll decide whether to install a similar but less ornate entablature or opt for simpler casing/corner blocks on the Kitchen Archway.

Big Baseboards are Better!

The preference for Big Baseboard seems to grow on you after a while.

We looked at quite a few options for baseboard as there is a hardwood molding store less than an hour away from our home that has a good selection with  free 3-1/2″ long samples.  (The prices there seem quite low as the poplar moldings are about the same price or lower  than MDF moldings at Lowes or Home Depot.)

After we narrowed down our choices, I bought 2 ft lengths and prepped and painted them a creamy white (Benjamin Moore Albescent).

It was interesting to see how our preferences changed over time.  At first my wife and two daughters (who live near us) were all in agreement that 4-1/4″ was the widest base we should use.  After some time, a couple of the 5-1/4″ wide base profiles were preferred.  Eventually though, after adding an ogee profile “shoe” (sold as colonial door stop) to some 7-1/4″ base we had a unanimous winner with the big baseboard.

We plan to use this combination everywhere on the main level except in the kitchen where we’ll go with an identical 6-1/4″ profile base + the same shoe.  I have to thank you for this winning combination of big base and  the idea for the ogee profile shoe from  your BASEBOARD-102 design.


Dave Klen

From Ken

finish trim joiner carpenter ken

You’ve certainly got a great eye for the nuances of molding design, and I’m sure everyone who’s been following your work is anxious to watch as you start nailing some moldings to the wall!

You’re also lucky that you have such a nice, independently owned molding store close by.

Many of my own designs are based on moldings available at Lowes and Home Depot.  But since I’ve left the contracting business in 2008, those big box home improvement stores have tripled their prices and in many cases dropped the quality of their stocked moldings.

So you and your wife get the benefits of shopping locally and get a better price and selection.  However, I would like to point out the low resolution on the two backbands you are considering.

backband moldings for door trim

There is nothing wrong with the basic style of these backbands, an ogee.

But the resolution on both of them is really too poor to create the kind of visual impact you want from the kind of moldings you are installing.  I assure you, better quality backbands are out there, it just may take a little more looking.

door trim moldings

Dave, it sounds like you’ve got some really big plans for your own Molding Makeover, and we’re very happy that you’re sharing them with us.

Good luck!

Read more posts in our molding Q&A series here: Ask Ken.

Other Posts in Dave’s Series

  1. Dave’s Kitchen Crown Molding Challenge
  2. Dave’s Foyer Moldings
  3. Corner Blocks for Dave’s Living Room & Foyer Archways