How to Cut Trim Molding

cutting baseboard molding

In just about every instance of home remodeling, you will come to the part where you need to install the trim molding. The trim molding is the finishing touch to a room that you have already worked hard on. It is also the piece of any remodel that will make the lasting impression.

Trim molding has a place in every room. It goes on baseboards, the ceiling, around doors, under cabinets, along stairways, and around windows. Being able to cut trim molding is an essential skill for any do-it-yourselfer.

Tools for Cutting Trim Molding

When you are cutting trim molding there are some tools that are pretty basic to the whole procedure. Trim molding requires some angles, mitered edges and precise fittings. Using the right saw for the job will help you immensely. There are a few different types of saws you can use:

  • Circular Saw—You can use this in a pinch, but it isn't the best saw for cutting trim molding.
  • Table Saw—Again, a great saw for cutting and ripping, but may not be best for precise cutting like trim molding.
  • Miter Saw—A much better saw to use for cutting trim molding. Also called a 'chop saw,' this tool has a fine toothed blade that you pull down on the work piece. You can cut in different angles.
  • Radial Arm Saw—A variation of the chop saw, this one is ideal for precise cuts. You pull the saw across the work piece instead of pulling it down.
  • Miter Box and Hand Saw—This is not a mechanical saw, but one that is hand powered. A good choice for larger trim work, but not for intricate precise angles.

Cutting Trim Molding - The Basic Cuts

There are several instances where you cut trim molding, here are just a few of them.

Baseboard Trim

This is the easiest piece of trim to cut, as well as the most forgiving. It is also a great way to practice with angle and miter cuts. Baseboards are usually 1x4-inch stock, or some other wide board, so you don't have to worry about small intricate cuts.

Step 1

Measure the length of the area to place trim. Measure the wood, marking the place for your miter cut.

Step 2

Hold the piece of wood up against the miter fence and make the cut.

Step 3

Measure other side of wall by going past the corner to the outside edge of the trim molding. Mark this on the wood.

Step 4

Cut with the piece standing flat against the miter saw fence.

Door Trim

Cutting the trim for a door is another great way to practice with your miter cutting skills.

Step 1

Measure across top of door and on the inside, and add 3/8-inch to the measurement.

Step 2

Cut the 45 -degree angle on both sides from the short to short direction.

Step 3

Measure up the right side of the door to the bottom of the 45-degree angle cut on the top trim. Mark your measurement.

Step 4

Cut with the blade on the right 45-degree angle.

Step 5

Do same for left side, but swing the blade over to the left for an inside-out cut.

Trim Molding Practice

Now that you know how to do these two basic cuts, try them on different pieces of wood until you can do them without any problems.