Posted on: 13.07.2023 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

The biggest challenge in home repairs and renovations often lies in figuring out all the little details. When you’ve added or replaced a door, how do you know what baseboard to use to create a seamless and good-looking end product?

There are many variations of decorative moldings such as door casings and baseboards. Typically, the door casing or trim is about 1 inch thicker than the baseboard. The reason for this is to create a relief between the casing and the baseboard.

Your personal taste also inevitably plays a role in your selection. There is an endless array of thick, thin, two- and three-layered, ornate and simple half-round shapes to choose from. You may prefer thicker baseboards or even ones with the same thickness as your door casing.

Average thickness and how they stack up

Door casing or trim is the decorative edge around a door frame. The main purpose is to hide the “guts” of the door frame where it fits into the rough opening. These are rough dimensions used in construction in general. These commonly sized moldings allow homeowners to replace doors in their houses if they wish to do so.

The average thickness for door casings is 1/2 inch (1/2″). It can be as thick as three-quarters of an inch (3/4″). Door and window casings are typically consistent within a room. This creates a visual flow and supports the aesthetics of the space.

Baseboards are the decorative moldings around the base of walls in rooms, hallways, and foyers. The thickness can be up to three-quarters of an inch. A general rule followed by most installers is to keep the baseboard about 1 inch thinner than the door and window casings.

This creates a slight reveal at the base of the door frame and also allows for slight imperfections in the way the door is hung. Some installers add a strip of half-round trim to the baseboard. This also accommodates minor floor flaws or irregularities, creating gaps beneath the baseboard.

Different cuts for different looks

Visiting the lumber yard can be an overwhelming experience. When you enter a lumber yard or a home improvement store, you’ll be amazed at the different types of moldings available. From the plain round edge look to ornate groove patterns with inserted rosettes for the corners, there are variations for every design taste.

When matching the casing to the baseboard, you don’t need to be as precise. Some people prefer a plain casing with a more ornate baseboard, or vice versa. Most people opt for a similar look when selecting baseboards and casings, but you have the choice.

You don’t need to have a preconceived concept when shopping. Hold different boards together to see how they look. Some are already matched; others are mix-and-match styles.

Door casing

A quick note on measuring to make sure you buy the right amount of trim material. Measuring is probably the most important part of any remodeling job.

  • Always measure along the outside edge of the existing door casing
  • Add six inches to each measurement for cutting
  • Use a miter saw for perfect 45-degree angles
  • Make a fresh 90-degree cut at the bottom before measuring your new board
  • Always measure twice and cut once

Having accurate measurements means just one trip to the lumber yard. Boards are sold by the foot and are often available in pre-cut sizes. Many stores have a cutting station, either for customer use or managed by an employee. This allows you to buy only what you need, but remember to account for extra inches for your cuts.

This is a good video for installing door casings.


Measuring baseboards should be done at the bottom edge. Measure the entire room and add up your sums. For smaller rooms, you can use single pieces for walls less than 8 to 12 feet. Remember to add at least six inches per wall for cuts.

For baseboard cuts, you’ll want to cut your boards for corners from top to bottom to form a 45-degree angle. In most local home improvement stores, you can usually rent a miter saw for a day. Rentals are relatively inexpensive, and the rental staff can show you how to operate it properly.

When joining two boards for longer walls, use an angled cut at the seam for a flusher look. The only “rectangular” edges on baseboards are where they meet your door casing.

Here’s a video on installing baseboards that can help you.

Wood vs. synthetic materials

Choosing between real wood and synthetic materials is another one of those personal preferences. While most builders prefer working with real wood, there are also more affordable options.

Wood species

If you’re planning on staining your trim and baseboard for a natural look, hardwood is the best choice. Although oak is an expensive choice, it delivers an excellent appearance and adds a polished look to any home. You can also choose mahogany, maple, ash, and a variety of other available hardwoods.

You’ll need wood putty to fill in the spots left by your finishing nails. When buying hardwood trim, always carefully check for warping and gaps.

Pine is a natural wood choice that is popular due to its lower cost. It takes stain or paint and is relatively easy to work with. Pine moldings are usually knot-free and come either primed for painting or unprimed for a natural finish.

Check them for obvious imperfections, knot holes, warping, and splits when you purchase them. Be cautious when cutting your pieces to avoid splitting. It is softwood, so it is more susceptible to nicks and dents during and after installation.

Synthetic or artificially manufactured moldings

A synthetically manufactured material that proves practical for painted moldings and baseboards is medium density fiberboard (MDF). It’s made from wood fibers, resin, and other fill materials that are then compressed and formed. It can be cut and worked like real wood but doesn’t look particularly good when stained. If you’re opting for painted moldings and baseboards, MDF is a budget-friendly choice.

An even cheaper option is molded polyurethane trim. These are usually sold primed for painting. They are not suitable for natural finishes at all but can be bought with a wood-like coating. However, they have a very artificial look. These can be cut with a sharp utility knife or on a saw like real wood, but they are very fragile. Unless your budget is extremely tight, this is not a good option for long-lasting use.

Every cut counts

Measure twice, cut once. This concept can never be emphasized enough for a DIY project. Accurate measurements mean tighter-fitting joints and a better-finished look. It also saves on material costs because you won’t have to replace poorly cut boards.

This video has great information on marking and cutting angles for moldings and trim.

Time to get to work

Now you know the basics about door casings and baseboard thicknesses. Remember, the general rule is that door casings are slightly thicker than baseboards. However, there is no hard rule, so if you desire a different look, go for it.

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