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Home > Projects & DIY Toolkit > Buying Guides > Moulding Buying Guide

Moulding Buying Guide

Moulding can be used to hide small imperfections as well as complement the style of any room. Moulding helps make a transition from different materials such as paint and wallpaper and can also be used to emphasize contrasts between the same materials.

Determine Where Moulding Will Go

  •   • Identify and list the places where moulding is necessary. A wall with wainscoting will almost certainly require a cap or chair rail and an area where tile flooring meets a sheet rock wall will need base moulding.
  •   • Identify and list the places where moulding could complement your decor. The sheet rock of a wall and ceiling may meet perfectly and not require moulding, but a handsome piece of crown moulding may add just the right touch.
  •   • Consider the benefits of chair rail and outside corner mouldings to protect walls from bumps and scrapes. It is much easier to repair or replace a strip of moulding than sheet rock or wall paneling.
  •   • Window and door casings serve as frames for beautiful views or well-carved doors, while hiding the seams where jambs and walls meet. Rosettes can be used to replace mitered corners and plinth blocks or base blocks make it easier to join door casings and base moulding.

Decide what style is best for the room. Collect sample pieces of different shapes (called profiles) and experiment with them. If single profiles don't fit your decor, build up or stack the different profiles together. You are only limited by your imagination. There are essentially three styles of moulding from which to choose:

  •   • Traditional Moulding
  •   • Decorative Moulding
  •   • Exterior Moulding

Traditional Moulding

Unfinished Solid Wood Moulding

Unfinished solid wood moulding is the most common moulding used in homes. It can be made from pine or hardwood and milled in a multitude of profiles, to match almost any decorating style. Check out our moulding profiles page to see a few samples of the most common moulding profiles. Unfinished wood moulding comes in two grades:

  •   • Stain grade moulding is made from clear lumber so it accepts stains well, without streaking or blotching. The absence of knots and other defects yields a rich, even finish after staining or clear coating.
  •   • Primed finger joint or paint grade moulding is made from short pieces of pine finger jointed together to create each piece of moulding. The difference in paint and stain grade moulding is that the finger joints in paint grade moulding render it unsuitable for staining or clear coating. Most paint grade moulding comes preprimed and ready to paint, saving you the time, trouble and expense of priming the moulding yourself.

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) Moulding

MDF is a lightweight engineered wood product that cuts and works just like wood but with less movement due to changes in humidity and temperature. MDF moulding comes preprimed and ready to paint. Its workability and stability make MDF a good choice for any moulding application where a paint grade solution is desired.

Prefinished Moulding

Prefinished moulding is made from polystyrene and comes in several different wood grain patterns at a significantly lower cost than wood moulding. It comes ready to install, since the finish is applied at the factory, saving you the time and expense of finishing it yourself. Prefinished moulding is available with several wood grain finishes and a traditional white so it can be used in many settings. Its low cost and easy installation make prefinished moulding an economical alternative to traditional wood moulding.

Decorative Moulding

Decorative Hardwood Moulding

Decorative hardwood moulding is suitable for staining, clear coating or painting to accentuate and highlight any home's decor. Hardwood moulding is highly decorative and comes in many different embossed patterns, sizes and profiles. The embossing creates the appearance of hand-carved moulding and the natural beauty of hardwood creates a sense of style and warmth. Matching corner blocks, plinth blocks and rosettes not only complement hardwood moulding, they eliminate coping and miter cuts to make installation simple and worry-free. You can even use matching, decorative appliques in conjunction with this moulding to put a more personal touch on your trim.

Architectural Moulding

Architectural moulding is a premium, polystyrene or polyurethane moulding with large profiles that mimic the look of built-up moulding. Architectural moulding will not warp, rot or split. It is a low maintenance material that saws, mills and works just like wood. It is lighter than hardwood for easier handling and due to its light weight, workability and stability, architectural moulding is usually easier to install than traditional wood moulding. There are matching inside and outside corner bocks available to make installing the crown moulding even easier. The moulding comes ready to finish, so no priming is required. It can be painted or stained to match any colour scheme or style. You will also find matching ceiling medallions and even wall niches to add the final touch to your trim.

Exterior Moulding

Exterior PVC Moulding

PVC moulding is an excellent choice for all of your exterior trim. It can be cut, sawn, drilled, screwed, nailed and painted just like wood. Unlike wood it won't warp or split. PVC moulding is also impervious to insect damage, rot and decay. Think of PVC moulding as a permanent solution to all of your exterior trim needs.


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