First time trimming door... two issues with jamb


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Old 04-23-16, 12:08 PM
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First time trimming door... two issues with frame & drywall

Hi guys,

I had a new vinyl patio door installed last week and I took this as an opportunity to install craftsman-style, white painted interior door trim, with the hope of eventually redoing all the trim in my house the same way. The 3.25" side casing has a simple roundover and no profile, and the header assembly is a combination of a bead, flat frieze, and decorative cornice that's around 4.25" tall. I've never trimmed a door before, and after dry-fitting my side casing and reviewing my walls & door frame, I have two issues:

1. The right side casing is flush on both sides for all but the inside bottom 24" or so. I've beaten the drywall with a block & hammer and even shaved it with a razor, but I'm still left with a tapered gap against the vinyl door frame that at its biggest is 1/8" at the floor and gradually tapers closed by 24" off the ground. My challenge is that (I assume) I can't nail this gap shut because I can't drive nails through the inside half of the casing due to the vinyl underneath, so I will only be able to nail the outside half. The trim will be painted white and the vinyl itself is white, so I know a lot of advice would say to caulk this joint and be done with it. Is there a better approach? I bought 1/4" thin poplar strips today just as a back-up... is there a benefit in attaching this to the backside of the casing and then tapering it with a block plane or something instead of caulking?

2. I have the reverse situation at the door header. The door frame stands about a 1/16" proud of the drywall where they meet, but by the top of where my header assembly will be the drywall tapers back enough to increase the gap to about 1/8". Are my options here limited to mudding this entire header section of the drywall to bring the drywall surface flush with the door frame, or else adding some of this same think poplar to the back of the assembly? If the second option, where and how do I add this extra wood? I'm visualizing a situation where I've built the header up in back with strips but the side edges of the header now show a gap with the wall, and this looks horrible in my mind.

I'm a bit of a perfectionist with stuff and I want to do this "right"... but I get that this is a blurry line sometimes. Thanks for the help guys.
 

Last edited by impecunious; 04-23-16 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 04-23-16, 12:36 PM
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Ideally you'd mud/finish the wall so it's all flush but I have caulked worse. If it's painted trim it won't be very noticeable once it's caulked and painted.
 
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Old 04-23-16, 12:43 PM
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A picture or two would sure help clear things up.

Where the drywall sticks out beyond the door, do this. Hold your casing where it will go... draw a light pencil line on the wall, tracing the outside edge of the casing. Now take the casing away and feel free to cut vertically along the inside of that line to cut the paper and scrape, chisel or hammer away at it, and remove the paper and any gypsum you see fit to remove. This will allow the casing to tip at an angle and be tight to the wall on the outside edge, and tight to the door on the inside edge.

If the door sticks out a little bit beyond the drywall, that's probably not an issue. You can mud it if you want, but painted casing gets caulked to the wall, so 1/8" will easily get hidden. You can shim behind the casing up to 1/8" with tapered cedar shims, nail it back tight, cut the shim off with a knife, then caulk it.

You don't need any 1/4" strips anywhere.
 
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Old 04-23-16, 01:26 PM
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Thanks guys. I'll see if I can post a picture or two in a little while once the primer dries on some sections I had to Gardz.

I guess the idea that caulking anything 1/8" or less is definitely easy... but it got me wondering: what if I was doing stained trim instead? Caulk isn't really a solution here for the half of the trim that overlaps the frame, is it?

Also, another related question: do carpenters generally not worry as much about gaps between the wall and the very top of a door or window header that people won't usually see? For my second issue below with the header, I can see myself adding a thin span of mud near the header to "kick out" the header assembly slightly (instead of carefully feathering out the entire wall to the ceiling), but this will obviously leave a gap between the top of the cornice and the wall. Not a big deal, or too much of a shortcut?
 
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Old 04-23-16, 01:40 PM
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Your trim will be tight to the door on the inside perimeter, whether its stained or painted. A lot of doors set farther back in the wall and get an extension jamb applied to the rough opening. Sounds like yours is flush with the drywall.

No, you don't usually worry about any gaps that you can't normally see... top of casing doesn't usually even get caulked. Similarly, painters rarely caulk the bottom casing under a window for the same reason.

Most casing will tip and bend, so what you think is going to be a gap will often get nailed back tight. But I know what you mean... craftsman casing is not as forgiving.

Worst case scenario is that you put the trim up, mask it off and float the worst of the gaps, as needed. Pretty standard stuff.
 
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Old 04-23-16, 02:20 PM
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Thanks XSleeper. So to make sure I understand one thing you've said, if given a choice between making the interior perimeter of the casing flush or the exterior perimeter, opt for the interior being flush every time? I guess this way, any tweaks (e.g. mud, shims, caulk, whatever) are handled at the outside edge of the trim?

Here are some pictures. To be honest, it looks like I've ended up with a happy accident. The first picture shows the casing I've been using to judge my frame & wall surface...

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...but upon closer inspection, this casing appears to be slightly twisted! (For what it's worth, this is Koetter FJ poplar.) If I put up a different piece, the look is quite a bit better...

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As for the header, I've taken two kinds of pictures. The first below shows how the drywall tapers away from the door frame (i.e. that the gap grows a few inches up the drywall):

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However, if I lay a piece of side casing to "simulate" my header along the frame for illustration purposes, the gap actually doesn't look very noticeable at all. Granted, this isn't a totally apples-to-apples comparison because my side casing is relief cut while my header assembly won't be...

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So what do you think... am I in pretty good shape here as is?
 
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Old 04-23-16, 04:08 PM
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The gaps look acceptable although I'm not sure what I'm looking at with pic #3

but it got me wondering: what if I was doing stained trim instead?
Generally the gaps aren't as noticeable with stained trim but when there is an unsightly gap between the trim board and the wall, we caulk it making sure no excess caulk gets on the trim and then paint the caulk with the wall paint.
 
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Old 04-23-16, 04:31 PM
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Yes, tight on inside, gaps on outside can be handled easily.

First off, from what I see you trying to do in your photos, I would not cover the edge of your patio door as much as you are trying to cover it. You aren't going to be nailing anything into the patio door, so keep that in mind. Generally you want to nail your casing on with pairs of nails... near the outside edges of the casing so that it pulls it as tight as possible on both sides.

In picture one, you are using the patio door frame as the plane at which you compare your wall. Probably a wrong assumption. You want to check the WALL with something flat, like a tri-square and see how that relates to the door. Is the door recessed in relation to the wall... or is the door proud of the wall... that's what you first want to determine. Holding the trim up is great, but as you found out, it assumes the trim is flat. Use a square, and hold it perpendicular to the door. Check the wall in several places all around the door. If the tri-square lays flat on the wall, so will your trim. If the tri-square has a gap between it and the door, you need to beat the drywall down and/or tip the casing in. You also want to check the upper corners diagonally. If you put the square across the wall in your upper corners and hold it diagonally across the corner, the door should be flush with the wall. If the door is a little proud, that's ok. If the door is recessed very much, that's bad. Because as you pointed out, your head piece extends out on either side and if you can't suck it tight to the door, it will look kind of bad. So check your corners (where the miter would normally be) DIAGONALLY with a square or a scrap of trim that is about 8-12" long and see what you come up with.

2nd picture... the higher you raise that trim, the better. I would minimum, raise it up 3/4". That way the thickness of your casing and the "reveal" around the door frame will be equal. Same on the sides... move that casing away from the door until you have at least 3/4" of reveal... maybe more. And as I mentioned earlier, it gives you more framing to nail to, because you DON'T nail to the door. So move the casing away. All it "needs" to do is barely cover the edge of the door, really. The more you cover up the door with the trim, the less adequately the trim will be nailed, which will make it more likely you will have gaps. And vis versa.

Also I assume the back side of your casing has a backout relief (or plow) cut on the back side? That can also help the casing "tip" slightly when you have to tip the trim in slightly, just like beating the drywall down helps. If there is a relief on the back of the casing, you may want to make a return on the ends. If you don't make a return, you will see that backout relief and will have to caulk the gap to hide it.

Looks like you have an old paint line above the trim that you will want to make disappear with joint compound, unless your wider trim will be covering that.
 
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Old 04-23-16, 05:55 PM
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Thanks again for the feedback. As for the reveal, that's a good point I previously struggled with a bit. The existing reveals for all my doors are 1/4", so I just sort of assumed that cosmetically it would be best to do the same with this new patio door. But you're absolutely right that sticking with this reveal gives me relatively little casing on the outside perimeter to nail. I guess in the scheme of things, nobody's probably going to nit pick that the reveal on my door is bigger than on other doors...?

I'll have to think through your comments on comparing the planes of the door and the wall. I had previously gone around the door frame and used a straightedge held across the frame & wall to see if I had any places where the edge wasn't flush across both. Is this the basic idea you're emphasizing here?

As for the casing, yes indeed it has a relief cut... but remember this is the side casing only. The header is an assembly of a bead, flat frieze, and cornice, none of which has a relief cut.

As for the old paint line above the trim in the last few pictures, I think that's just a pencil line I made to give me a visual of the total height of my assembled header.
 
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Old 04-23-16, 07:36 PM
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It's a completely different kind of door, so no... no one would expect it to have the same reveal. If your wall was thicker, there would be a wood extension jamb that would cover up some of that frame, and you could make it look more like other doors that way, but with it being flush that's not an option.

Yes. Identify especially any areas where the wall is proud of the door when the straightedge is placed flat on the wall. In all those areas you should... (post #3). And especially check the diagonals at the top corners. If the door is recessed too much near the corners, you may need some heroics to get the bead / frieze / cornice to lay tight to the door. Got any pics of those profiles?
 
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Old 04-24-16, 05:53 AM
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Sure... below are a couple photos of the header assembly that I haven't put together yet:

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I'll have to check the corners later this morning, but if I recall well the door is definitely not recessed of the drywall there. If anything, the door is slightly proud.

While we're on the subject, I'm planning to basically follow the same instructional steps I saw in a photo tutorial of Gary Katz putting together a similar header. I intend to put together the header as one assembly... nailing the bead to the frieze along with glue, screwing the cornice to the frieze along with glue, and probably using 2P-10 for all the return miters for all three pieces. I only have a 16ga gun for now, so I won't be nailing the return miters but 2P-10 seems like pretty stout stuff. Will this approach work?
 

Last edited by impecunious; 04-24-16 at 06:17 AM.
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Old 04-24-16, 07:23 AM
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Gary Katz does nice nice stuff. The 2P-10 sets up really quickly... and is quite pricy... you won't have much time at all to assemble your returns. Wood glue and a clamp would be just as good if you have the time to leave the clamp on the return while the glue sets... then come back later to assemble it all.

How much of a reveal do you intend to make on the ends of your bead/fillet and cornice? As you look up at the cornice, the reveal should be the same as those returns go around the frieze. Same when looking down on the fillet. The length of your piece in front is critical to making that reveal the same as it rounds the corner.
 
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Old 04-24-16, 09:18 AM
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Thanks again XSleeper. That's good to know about the 2P-10 glue not being absolutely necessary here. I'm not under a time crunch like the pros are, so if wood glue & clamps are just as good for the return miters, albeit for more time, I'll save a few bucks.

As for the length of my header parts, I haven't settled on anything and I'm totally open to suggestions. I had in mind the idea of making the bead about 1/2" longer than the exterior edge of each side casing, making the frieze about 1/4" longer than that same casing edge (i.e. 1/4" short of the edge of the bead), and I-don't-know-what-yet for the cornice. Any suggested rules of thumb here? This is sort of a "classical craftsman" trim style we're going for. But I don't quite follow you on the reveals here... can you elaborate a bit more? Thanks!
 

Last edited by impecunious; 04-24-16 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 04-24-16, 12:56 PM
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Yeah, the rule of thumb is that the length is usually determined by the width of the trim and the thickness of the material it's wrapping around.

So let's say your frieze is 3/4 thick and your fillet is 1 1/8" wide. The difference is 3/8". So as you look down on your completed fillet, it would stick out beyond the front and side 3/8". So that helps you figure the length of the fillet. It will be 3/4 longer than the frieze (3/8 per side, or 3/8 * 2) when measured from the long point of the miters. (In this example anyway) The cornice is figured the same way. If it's 2" thick... 2 minus 3/4 is 1 1/4... multiplied by 2. The cornice would be 2 1/2" longer than the frieze is.

When you do it that way, it will keep the reveal symmetrical as it gets mitered and returned to the wall.
 
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Old 04-24-16, 01:21 PM
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That's really great advice... and totally logical once I think about it. Just one last question on this particular topic hopefully: any advice on how wide this assembly should stick out past my side casing? Is extending the frieze by 1/4" past my side casing on each end like I previously mentioned a good rule (and then cutting the fillet & cornice to length per your advice), or is this particular detail more of a preference thing? I've seen some headers where the friezes are aligned perfectly with the outside edge of casing, and others where they extend past it a hair...
 
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Old 04-24-16, 01:27 PM
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Personally... I would line the ends of the frieze itself up with the outside edge of my casing. So if you put the side casing on first, hook your tape on the outside edge of the left casing and measure to the outside edge of the right casing. That's how long you cut your frieze. Everything else wraps around it., and gives it that larger capital/entablature look.
 
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Old 04-24-16, 02:44 PM
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Awesome... thanks so much for all your help getting me this far. I'll be traveling most of this week and may not finish things up until this next weekend, but I'll follow up to share progress for sure.
 
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Old 04-25-16, 09:08 AM
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I did think of another question while planning ahead... once I assemble my header and mount it to the wall over the casing, should I join this to the top of the casing in any way? Like toe nailing through the side of the casing into the bottom of the header, and/or adding some glue, or something else?
 
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Old 04-25-16, 10:31 AM
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I wouldn't preassemble the entablature. I would put the side casing on first, making darn sure that the top ends of the casing are level with each other. I would then cut all the head pieces... assemble the mitered returns on the beaded fillet. Then put the beaded fillet on first... center it on top of the side casing and shoot a couple nails down into the top of the side casing on each side. Then I would set the frieze on top of that and shoot it to the wall tight. Then push the beaded fillet back tight to the door and nail it to the bottom of the frieze... it will be so flexible that you will have no problem pushing it tight to the door... thus no gaps. Then I would put the cornice and returns on top... assuming you have room for the trim gun to fit between the top of the trim and the ceiling. If not, I would put the cornice on the frieze first, then set that whole thing on top of the beaded fillet.
 
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Old 04-25-16, 10:45 AM
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OK, thanks. It doesn't sound like you think any glue is necessary with any of this either (apart from the mitered returns). I had assumed this preassembled approach from the Gary Katz instructions I mentioned before, but actually with this door as wide as it is, attaching the entablature piece by piece might be easier.
 
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Old 04-25-16, 10:48 AM
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When you preassemble it, you are at the mercy of the flatness of the wall. When you do the pieces individually, you can more easily push things tight to the wall, which means less gaps, less caulking, and hopefully no floating. Gary Katz is big on "production methods". In otherwords, speed is essential when you are trimming a giant house full of windows...

On one door, the time aspect will be the same whether you preassemble or install it individually.

You can use a little glue if you want. Not like you will be taking it apart again. But don't use so much that it gushes out.

If the drywall is proud of the door when you check the wall diagonally at the corner, you will need to scribe the ends of the beaded fillet slightly, notching it over the drywall so that it fits tight to the door.
 
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Old 04-25-16, 11:03 AM
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Once again, great explanation XSleeper... thanks. I can see why putting the entablature up piece by piece is less production efficient but probably "safer" in terms of fitting the wall well.

For scribing the fillet or any other part to hug the door and wall, is this where back beveling the ends of the parts (something I've only read about) slightly helps? Or is the solution maybe more with a hand plane for as much of a gap exists per the scribe line?
 
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Old 04-25-16, 01:58 PM
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If the drywall protrudes 1/8" farther than the door at the upper corners, I would probably just notch the back side on a table saw... taking off maybe 1/8" x 4". (or jigsaw if you prefer) You are just scribing it so it fits the wall tight AND the door tight. That's all I mean... and no this isn't really back bevelling.

If the drywall on your corners is flush with the door when you check it diagonally... then you have nothing to worry about.
 
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Old 05-02-16, 05:21 AM
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OK, so now that I've been able to get back to work here, I've cut my entablature pieces and given them one finish coat. While I wait for this to dry, I thought of a question around caulking... in the (hopefully) few places where I need to caulk small gaps with the entablature or side casing, would it look better to caulk just the gap itself or to caulk the entire joint or perimeter completely?
 
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Old 05-02-16, 05:23 AM
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IMO it looks best to caulk every joint including the perimeter. No need to caulk the top to the wall unless you can view it coming down a staircase.
 
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Old 05-02-16, 06:28 AM
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Thanks marksr. I was kind of leaning the same way.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 05:28 AM
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OK gents... last night I installed the entablature! I've included some photos below (apologies for the bad lighting), and thereafter added a few more thoughts:

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For the most part, I'm happy with the way things went up and the joints against the wall. I think I did learn some things through a couple minor mistakes, though. First, you can see in the last couple pictures that the left size of the frieze and cornice are not quite perfectly flush with the bead. I think this is because I started nailing my frieze & cornice assembly (they were previously screwed together) from the right side, and just continued on toward the left. I'm wondering if it would have been better to just shoot one nail on the right side, and then come over to the left side to check it, adjust it tight, and then nail that side so that I could be assured that both ends of the entablature (what probably draw the eye the most) are nice & tight.

I also noticed that part of the wall in one specific spot near the middle of the assembly (which you can only see by staring down over the cornice from a ladder) has pushed out my frieze & cornice assembly on the left, giving me an 1/8" gap at the wall. I should have done a better job of checking this when I was adjusting the wall around the door frame at the beginning of the project, but maybe this is par for the course...? I know that some people say that 1/8" gaps are fine, but given how tight everything else went up, this sticks out to me like a tiny sore thumb.

Second, although these pictures don't reflect it, I've since caulked the perimeter as well as the interior on the patio door itself. I'm happy with this job, again for the most part, but I really like the crisp lines that most of my joints made with the wall and caulking them has "softened" these details a bit. I agreed with marksr earlier that caulking the entire joint as opposed to just the gaps would look better, but I'm a little bummed at how caulk has hidden my amateur handiwork here nevertheless. Perhaps when the wall paint goes on, I'll appreciate the benefits of caulk.

Also, caulking the 1/8" gap around the cornice on the left side has also proven a bit tricky... I've pulled out my caulk here from last night and I'm going to try it again tonight. Any words of wisdom here for a delicate detail like this, apart from using a wet finger & rag? I've caulked before, but just never something as "serious" as this.

So what's the verdict, guys? And any other suggestions or advice for next time? Thanks!
 
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Old 05-04-16, 05:41 AM
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Looks good! After you have nailed the trim up, you can often take a block of wood... lay it on the trim... and smack it with a hammer in the event that the trim isn't as tight to the wall as you would like it to be. (If it moves a lot, set the nails with a nail set) And when you are putting a piece onto another... like your fillet/bead... if there is a round over on the frieze, I would cut the round over off before applying the fillet/bead so that the joint where they meet will be square and tight. Won't matter since it's all going to be caulked, but if it was stained, that would have been an improvement.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 08:05 AM
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Thanks XSleeper. I really appreciate your help and marksr's as well in getting me this far!
 
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Old 05-04-16, 09:47 AM
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I like to keep a damp [maybe a little wetter than damp] sponge handy along with a bucket of water when I do much caulking. That helps you dress up the bead of caulk and keep your fingers clean Whenever there is detail involved I try to use the smallest bead that will do the job.

The trim work looks good
 
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Old 05-04-16, 09:47 AM
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I love the way it's turned out...the classic look & the proportions. I've emailed a link to myself and may copy this on my own front door. I've never been satisfied with the bland standard casing and puny cornice on my door + sidelight--something "bolder" is needed. Your bead below the frieze also gives me a proper "dead end" to my flat trim covering the joint in the 2-piece door & light.
I'm also going to look into this Gary Katz guy.
Thanks for the inspiration!
 
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Old 05-04-16, 04:22 PM
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Hey guys... so I'm going around in circles a bit with this cornice edge on the left side and how I'm dealing with this 1/8" gap. I've since caulked and now I just can't help wondering whether this is good enough.

I've included a couple photos below, but what are your thoughts here? Is it best for the wall paint to cover the caulk in this case? Or should I run a second bead of caulk here and do my best to tool this bead to make it flush with the cornice miter edge and then paint that my trim color? The photos may not make it 100% clear, but the caulk is a bit recessed in the gap between the cornice and the wall.

Since this is my first time putting up trim, I'm not sure if I'm fretting too much over this or not. But I just wish I had noticed this before nailing everything up...

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  #33  
Old 05-04-16, 04:29 PM
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If the caulk gas shrunk back, caulk it again. Post #19, where I mentioned that i wouldn't preassemble the entablature... might have avoided those gaps if you had put it up piece by piece.
 
  #34  
Old 05-04-16, 04:36 PM
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Believe me, I read all your posts pretty thoroughly, XSleeper. My issue was that due to the ceiling, I wouldn't have been able to easily install the cornice on the frieze... so I had to attach the frieze to the cornice first and then put this combined assembly up.

Am I right to be worried that this 1/8" gap is too much?
 
  #35  
Old 05-04-16, 07:26 PM
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No, you are worried overmuch. It is what it is. Just fill it up with caulk and try not to smear it out on the wall. If caulk gets in your texture, wipe it off with that wet rag. Sculpting it with a wet putty knife may help. You don't want a big wide concave bead... you pretty much want the caulk to go straight back following the profile of the trim. It will disappear once you paint it and then touch up the wall paint last.
 
  #36  
Old 05-05-16, 02:21 AM
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I agree, add some more caulk. I've had to do some creative caulking over the years to make not so professional looking carpenters look good. Keeping a wet rag/sponge handy and judicial use of a putty knife can make the gap almost disappear. Be sure to wipe off any excess caulk from the wood.
 
  #37  
Old 05-08-16, 06:11 AM
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So a follow-up question for my future trim projects, guys... in your opinion, would it look best to repeat this same entablature (bead, frieze, cornice) over all my doors and windows in the house, or to alternate between this style and something simpler depending on the installation?

I've seen it suggested, for example, that for main doors and entries, a "fancier" entablature is good and that for less-important doors and entries a "simpler" treatment is better. In my case, I have some door frames and entries that are squished together pretty tightly so I wouldn't be able to install the exact same entablature as-is that I just did for the patio door. I'm wondering if doing an entablature of bead/frieze/bead is one way to avoid overdoing this fancier buildup everywhere and to also handle tight frame situations.

Thoughts?
 
  #38  
Old 05-08-16, 06:21 AM
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Unless it's just the entry door, I prefer all the doors/windows in a particular room to be trimmed out the same.
 
  #39  
Old 05-08-16, 06:26 AM
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You can do it however you like, but I would not do bead, frieze, bead. When a wall is tight, you just scribe it to the wall, like on the right side of this photo. It looks best when the style in a room is all the same.

 
  #40  
Old 05-08-16, 08:19 AM
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Fair enough... thanks guys!
 
 

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