[This is part of Our Molding Makeover series.]

Jennifer asked me if I’d make her a checklist for Our Molding Makeover. She said that even though we’ve talked about the project at length many times, to her the process is still not clear. And if it’s not clear to her, she said, then it’s probably not clear to some of our readers, either.

And she’s right. I needed to create a more comprehensive checklist for planning and completing a big molding project like this. I have a rough outline in my head I’ve used during the nearly 17 years I’ve been decorating with moldings, and I’ve covered some of the ideas in Seven Design and Installation Principles and Planning Tips, but I’ve never laid it all out in a checklist before.

Design Checklist

1. Choose your period style for the whole house: Traditional, Victorian or Craftsman.
2. Decide what room you are going to start in and then stay focused on that room.
3. Choose foundation patterns.

  • Baseboard
  • Door trim
  • Window trim
  • Crown moldings

4. Choose feature patterns.

  • Wainscoting
  • Chair Rails
  • Picture Rails
  • Wall Panels
  • Newel Posts
  • Fireplace Mantels
  • Door Surrounds
  • Window Valence Boxes
  • Ornate Ceilings
  • Wall Niches
  • Pilasters
  • Built In Furniture

5. Have a general idea for the color scheme in each room.
6. Decide exactly what ornaments you want on each pattern.
7. Know the exact dimensions of each pattern.
8. Know the exact dimension of each molding piece in each pattern.
9. Identify limiting factors in each room.
10. Identify difficult transition zones.

Materials Budget Checklist: Preliminary

1. Sketch a floor plan with dimensions for the baseboard, a ceiling plan for the crown molding and a sketch for each different kind of door trim.
2. Find molding sources.
3. Find MDF board sources.
4. Find ornate applique sources.
5. Total the materials for each pattern in each room.
6. Total the materials for all the patterns in each room.
7. If the total is in your budget, then move on to the next checklist.

Installation Materials Checklist: Stuff to Buy

1. Moldings and Millwork
2. MDF Board
3. Ornaments

  • Appliques/wood onlays
  • Corbels
  • Ceiling medallions
  • Ornamental wall frames

4. Installation consumables you’ll need.

  • Brad nails: 18g, 23g
  • Liquid Nails
  • Wood glue

5. Prep for paint consumables to have on hand.

  • Painter’s Caulk
  • Rags
  • Spackling
  • Sandpaper and sanding sponges
  • Oil base primer
  • Paint thinner for cleaning brushes
  • Waist can for paint thinner

Installation Checklist

1. Empty the room
2. Put tarps on the floor and plastic tarps on anything else needing protection
3. Stage your tools
4. Remove the old moldings
5. Layout the patterns
6. Install moldings in this order:

  • Crown molding (I like to finish the crown completely — prime, sand, caulk, paint two coats — before working on the lower molding patterns)
  • Door/Window Trim
  • Wainscoting
  • Baseboard

Prep for Paint Checklist

1. Fill nail holes with spackling and let dry.
2. Sand spackling on nail holes.
3. Vacuum the moldings.
4. Wipe moldings down with a clean, slightly damp rag.
5. Prime with oil base primer and let dry completely.
6. Sand all of the moldings with a sanding sponge and sandpaper; vacuum/wipe with damp rag.
7. Look for blemishes that need to be sanded or filled with spackling and then fix them.
8. Re-prime the repairs you made in step 7, sand the newly primed area after they dry.
9.  Caulk all seems between moldings and wall and between stacked moldings.
10. Paint two finish coats on the moldings.
11. Paint two finish coats on the walls.
12. Clean up, redecorate and bask in the glow of your new moldings!