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Why Won't my Window/Door Casings Ever Line up?

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Forum topic by wilschroter posted 09-10-2019 05:06 PM 343 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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wilschroter

95 posts in 1006 days


09-10-2019 05:06 PM

I’m trying to refit all of my windows and doors with fresh casings/trim. I’m working like mad to get absolutely perfect 45 degree cuts (high fives for all the help there), but even then when I go to lay them on my door/windows, the trim is always rocking between the drywall and the inside door trim (not sure what that’s called) so it will never lay flat.

I looked at all the existing trim in my house – flawless. Yet when I pull the trim off and try to lay mine on – disaster.

Guys, what am I missing here? I don’t see how I could possibly line up my corners to lay flush if the area below them is consistently not flush. The trim carpenter before me obviously figured it out!


17 replies so far

View Bill_Steele's profile

Bill_Steele

556 posts in 2212 days


#1 posted 09-10-2019 05:42 PM

Can you post a picture or video of the fitment issue?

Sometimes the drywall around the window or door can cause casing fitment issues—but you are replacing trim that fit perfectly—so this is odd. Sometimes you need to remove or dent in the drywall to get a good flat fit.

Is the casing you removed the same on the back as what you are putting up? Does it lay flat on a flat surface (e.g. workbench or countertop)? Try gluing up the casing before you nail it in place.

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wilschroter

95 posts in 1006 days


#2 posted 09-10-2019 05:51 PM

In most cases, the drywall appears to be a fraction of an inch lower than the inside wood, which is all it takes for the casing to have a fitment issue at the 45-degree miter cuts in the corners. I even went so far as to biscuit joint my joints but that didn’t seem to work terribly well either because the moment I start firing nails into the casing, it pulls them at a slight angle which pulls the joint anyhow.

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile

wildwoodbybrianjohns

184 posts in 28 days


#3 posted 09-10-2019 07:24 PM

Find your high spot, or spots, and shim accordingly. Trim carpenters often shim the mitre joints to keep them flush. Get yourself good and tight on the casing, work outwards from there. If the wall is wonky, thats a painters problem, not a trimmers.

My 2 cents.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: It is wiser to find out, than to suppose (S. Clemens)

View Rich's profile

Rich

4823 posts in 1070 days


#4 posted 09-10-2019 07:33 PM

Good advice from Brian Johns. When it comes to trim work that’ll be painted, don’t be afraid to use a little caulk. I know… Heresy.

-- There's no such thing as a careless electrician

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wilschroter

95 posts in 1006 days


#5 posted 09-10-2019 07:52 PM

I’m pulling off all the old casing and can’t find a single shim and this guy’s work is dead flush. When you guys are putting trim on, do you simply use whatever the existing plane of drywall + inside trim is? Feels like it would be damn near impossible that every one of them would be perfectly planar, in which case everyone would be dealing with really crooked trim.

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1762 posts in 1975 days


#6 posted 09-10-2019 07:57 PM

Solutions:

1) Better Prep:
Get out the 8’ level and check the entire frame for level/square after removing the old trim. Use drywall mud and build up, or sand down anything not level. If the mounting frame is not entirely in same plane, it will be wonky and require non-45 degree or compound angle cuts. Also check the actual angles of each corner with square, and/or sliding T-Bevel gauge. (Can use newfangled digital angle finder if you are rich person)
Prep is number one nightmare for high end hardwood molding installation.

2) Hand fit every cut old school method:
Cut all your trim large on power saw, and use a hand miter box at window/door for fitting. Use a sliding T-bevel gauge to measure the exact angles needed, and transfer to hand saw for each cut. Slow, but it works.

3) How are you sealing the edges of trim?
For painted trim, on a quick and dirty job, add some shim stock under the trim, and use caulk/paint to hide/seal the gap.
For stained hardwood, refer to step one.
Here in AZ, always seal molding trim to wall and/or floor with caulk, even stained hardwood. Without it, it becomes a suite hotel for insects. It also helps to seal out drafts, and improve HVAC efficiency.

#IAMAKLUTZ, not an expert. Although I did spend 6 months as finish carpenter’s apprentice in my younger days, and change finish trim on a couple of my own homes?

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View Bill_Steele's profile

Bill_Steele

556 posts in 2212 days


#7 posted 09-10-2019 07:59 PM

I see you have another prior post > https://www.lumberjocks.com/topics/305754 < that is related to this.

Have you tried to glue up (and allowed to dry) your casing using a biscuit BEFORE you nail it in place?

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wildwoodbybrianjohns

184 posts in 28 days


#8 posted 09-10-2019 08:34 PM


I m pulling off all the old casing and can t find a single shim and this guy s work is dead flush. When you guys are putting trim on, do you simply use whatever the existing plane of drywall + inside trim is? Feels like it would be damn near impossible that every one of them would be perfectly planar, in which case everyone would be dealing with really crooked trim.

- wilschroter

You dont use the wall as your guide, you use the casing, the wall is unimportant, unless the wall is sitting proud of the casing, in which case, you have two options, reduce the wall or increase the casing.

the Captain has the best advice, check for square and plumb first on your casings.

The original trimmer might not of needed shims then, conditions may have changed some since. But I bet if you check some of the inside-mitred base mouldings you will find a few, especially closer to the floor.

Also, I hate to contradict Rich, but as a high-end painter for 25yrs, I absolutely detest caulk. It is much better, though considerable more work, to build up with joint-compound to cover unsightly gaps, as Captain suggests. This method will last. The problem with caulk is it continually shrinks, and at some point you will have to redo it because that crack or gap will return. Caulk does have its place however, in small doses.

One thing i used to do when trimming out windows and doors is to pencil line my 90degree angles on the casing, level with eachother, equal reveal, and nail to that, rather than just eyeballing it.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: It is wiser to find out, than to suppose (S. Clemens)

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splintergroup

2827 posts in 1703 days


#9 posted 09-10-2019 08:41 PM

Without seeing the backside of the trim, I’d side with Bill’s earlier thought.
Is the new trim hollowed out on the back side as wide and deeply as the original trim? It should only have two points of contact, one with the casing, one with the wall. The cutout on the back bridges over any drywall goofs at the edge.

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wilschroter

95 posts in 1006 days


#10 posted 09-10-2019 08:56 PM



Is the new trim hollowed out on the back side as wide and deeply as the original trim? It should only have two points of contact, one with the casing, one with the wall. The cutout on the back bridges over any drywall goofs at the edge.

- splintergroup

Ah – that’s interesting. The old trim definitely had a more hollow profile whereas I’m using straight 3/4” poplar. Would it be the case that using a flat-back trim/casing is always going to present this problem?

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile

wildwoodbybrianjohns

184 posts in 28 days


#11 posted 09-11-2019 05:41 AM

The old trim definitely had a more hollow profile whereas I m using straight 3/4” poplar.

- wilschroter

It would have been good if you had mentioned this earlier.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: It is wiser to find out, than to suppose (S. Clemens)

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wilschroter

95 posts in 1006 days


#12 posted 09-11-2019 01:20 PM

OK my apologies on this – I’m a rookie so I’m learning this all from scratch. I’m assuming the casing profile is there for a reason (obviously). Is it the case that the recessed profile simple solves this issue altogether?

View Robert's profile

Robert

3516 posts in 1961 days


#13 posted 09-11-2019 01:31 PM

The thing that brought my trim work to another level is assembling them BEFORE mounting. I use CA glue and a cross nail through miters. Of you try to fit everything one piece at a time, you’re going to fight all the little inaccuracies in the wall and casing.

Common problem you’re seeing is the drywall not flush with the casing.

If it is proud of the casing, you can remove it or, simply pound on it with a hammer. I’ve seen some top notch trim carpenters get pretty radical.

If the casing is proud of the drywall, it can either be shimmed and caulked, or the casing cut back to flush.

If you’re interested, these 2 guys have excellent YT channels:
FinishCarpentry TV
Inside Carpentry

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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Snipes

427 posts in 2725 days


#14 posted 09-11-2019 01:37 PM

Back bevels, shims, cutting back rock, planing.. lots of tricks, good luck

-- if it is to be it is up to me

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wilschroter

95 posts in 1006 days


#15 posted 09-11-2019 01:38 PM

@Robert – I’m definitely of the mindset of doing the creation of each one ahead of time so I’m working with a miter shear (which was recommended here) and biscuits.

I had read somewhere about the DeWalt biscuit joiner (that I have) sometimes not cutting level biscuits but that seemed odd to me in that there is a little bit of play in the biscuit so if it were clamped flush I would imagine it would glue to form. But I could be wrong about that part.

I found that when using my miter shear, my pieces were moving ever so slightly. I was getting a beautiful cut, but was trending to 1 degree off, give or take. So I need to improve my work there.

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