Molding and Casing, Crown Molding and Other Decorative Moldings Molding and casing is considered finish carpentry. It is a decorative feature of woodwork that also serves a functional purpose, that of a transition between two surfaces such as a wall and floor, a wall and ceiling, or a window or doorframe and the wall. Moldings and casings also indicate a termination point. A good example of this is the use of the rosette that marks the intersection and corner of two pieces of casing on a door.

Molding and Casing, Crown Molding and Other Decorative Moldings | Molding and Casing, Crown Molding and Other Decorative Moldings

Molding and Casing Materials

Typically, moldings and casings are made from wood or plaster. The type of wood used to make molding and casing depends on whether it is to be painted or not. Pine or birch is recommended for moldings and casings that will be painted, whereas red or white oak, ash, and pine are recommended for moldings and casings that will be stained or not painted. However, moldings and casings might also be made from a plastic composite material or resin.

Moldings and casings have a profile that is usually both concave and convex. The profile is created by means of a router or a laser on the front face of the wood surface. The back of the molding or casing is either flat or in the shape of an L to conform to an existing edge such as a baseboard. Casing is typically 2 1/2-inches by ¾-inch, whereas the size of moldings varies according to type.

Types of Moldings and Casings

Sometimes, moldings and casings are referred to as architectural elements. Molding and casing is sold as stock molding and casing or custom molding and casing. There are more than 800 stock molding and casing profiles available, including:

  • Crown and cove moldings
  • Door and window casings
  • Picture moldings
  • Baseboards
  • Chair rails.

Custom molding and casing is used when there needs to match an existing pattern for example in an old house. Some moldings and casings have specific names such as rope molding, dentil molding, or half or quarter round molding.

Molding & Casing: How to Add it to Your Home

Cove moldings can be added to give your windows a more finished appearance. The addition of crown moldings between the wall and ceiling can make your ceiling seem loftier. Adding a quarter round molding to the baseboard makes it seem more complete. Moldings and casings are an easy do it yourself project that adds style and elegance to the plain woodwork in your home.

Crown Molding: The Most Popular Decorative Molding

The majority of homes come with some form of basic molding, whether crown molding, casing, or another variety. Most of these moldings are used to hide gaps between two different surfaces or pieces. But while molding is pretty much standard in any home, an upgraded home takes advantage of the more ornate designs on the market. Great molding is the finishing touch of any well-decorated room, and designers often use it in interesting and innovative ways to complement existing décor.

The most popular type of decorative molding is crown molding or cornice molding. This molding runs along the ceiling and is again used to hide a gap, this time between the wall and ceiling. Crown molding is usually between three and fifteen inches wide. Experts usually suggest that the molding be one inch wide for every one foot of ceiling height. In other words, if the ceiling is eight feet high, an eight-inch crown molding is best. In addition, the smaller the room, the less wide the crown molding should be, as it can easily become overpowering.


Casing is molding used around a window in order to hide the gap between the wall and the window frame. Casing is usually between two and eight inches wide. Matching molding is typically used around the door to hide the gap between the door frame and wall. There is also baseboard molding, which is used to cover the gap between the floor and wall. This molding also protects the wall from anything that might run along the floor, like furniture and vacuum cleaners.

Chair Rail

Another type of decorative molding is a chair rail. These long strips run horizontally at the proper height to protect the wall from getting damaged as people get in and out of chairs. They are also commonly used for decorative purposes to section off the top and bottom section of a wall, particularly when two different wall treatments are used on these sections, such as wallpaper on bottom and paint on top.

Thin molding can be used to frame out areas of walls in an attempt to make the wall look recessed. This is an inexpensive decoration that adds flair to a flat wall.

Choosing the Proper Molding

Most interior designers will suggest a molding that reflects the architectural style of the house, so a more streamlined molding would be used for the modern home, while a more ornate molding would be used in period homes.

Molding Tips

  • Plan a layout for the molding carefully. Be sure to use each strip to its fullest and also limit the number of joints.
  • Bring your molding into the house a week or two before installation. This allows the moldings to adapt to the humidity and temperature within the house before they are finished.
  • Paint both sides of the molding before installation to reduce warping. It's much easier to paint it beforehand than have to go up and down that ladder a million times!

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post