my first stab at window trim...


Old 06-16-09, 03:47 PM
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Red face my first stab at window trim...

Despite investing in decent tools and taking my time, my first stab at window trim didn't turn out terribly well.

At this point, I'd appreciate advice on how to cover up my ugly gaps. I'm not sure if I should use caulk, spackling paste, putty, etc.

Here are some pics....


upper-left corner:
The area encircled in red is the place I'm most worried about:

upper-right corner:

lower-right jamb:

I have a little experience caulking my bathtub, and despite my best efforts, that turned out to be a nightmare, too. So, I'd appreciate any/all tips.

Thanks for your time!
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Old 06-16-09, 04:48 PM
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Since constructive criticism is usually helpful, I'll try to keep the comments more constructive than critical:

First, careful measuring would have resulted in a little tighter fit where the extension jamb meets the window frame, so that you could avoid the large gap there. Usually you want the jamb to be tight against the window and flush with the surface of the wall, or slightly below the surface of the wall. Your window frame seems to have a little "bump out" on the top, and so your side extension jambs could have been neatly notched around that to achieve a tighter fit.

Second, the corners of your extension jamb don't seem to be tight... this usually happens when you install the pieces separately. You will get better results if you put the jamb together (nail the corners together to form a frame) and then install it, shim it in place so that the corners are tight, (Especially shim the corners) keep all sides straight that way, etc. Keeping the nails symmetrical... spaced evenly... is something the painters like to see when they go to putty nails.

Third, from the pictures, it doesn't appear that you nailed the inside edge of the casing to the jamb. Usually you pin the casing to the jamb along that inside edge with a brad nailer (18 ga. with 1 1/4" nail). Usually nailing the inside perimeter every 12" or so is sufficient. This helps to secure the jamb, preventing it from bowing. And then you nail the outside edge of the casing to the stud with a longer, larger nail. (usually either a 15 or 16 ga finish nailer, at least 2" long.) Again, your nails appear to be all over- especially on top... with lots more nails than is needed which makes me wonder about the size of the gun that was used or the length of the nails you were using. Usually the outside edge of the casing is nailed every 16 to 24", depending on how well it lays against the wall.

As far as the miters are concerned, it's hard to say what the problem was there... the most common thing is that if the jamb is either recessed into the wall, or extends out past the wall, it tips your miter, causing the miter to become a compound angle. Unless you compensate for that, you won't have a tight fit. So that goes back to when the jamb was installed, being careful to get the jamb lined up nicely with the surface of the wall.

Not sure if you toenailed the corners of the casing together, but that sometimes helps. Unless you have a 23 gauge pin nailer, MDF trim will split at the corners if you try to toenail it, so if that's MDF trim, I'd just use a LOT of glue and try for a nice fit. Getting miters to be perfect is sometimes a lot of trial and error, adjusting your angles, backcutting as needed, until you have the perfect fit.

When you go to putty, I'd say the best thing you can do is get yourself some Dap 55 painters putty, fill those holes and lightly sand them once the stuff is dry. I've also used Dap Dry Dex spackling. Both these products look better when you prime over the holes before topcoating with paint.
Old 06-17-09, 05:25 AM
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While using spackling makes it easier to get it all to look right, I wouldn't recomend using spackling - it can crack and/or fall out

It's best use caulking and painter's putty. The DAP 55 will work well although i prefer to use SWP's 66 glazing - it isn't as oily and keeps my fingers cleaner
Old 06-17-09, 01:27 PM
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In a nutshell from what the others have said. There is room for improvement. Sure there are cracks. That's why they make caulk and Dap 55 (or the 66). I do finish work for a living, and the painters make me look really good, so from watching them, a small cut in the end of the caulking tube and a small bucket of water and a sponge, you can make your own head swell up.
Old 06-18-09, 07:16 PM
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Cutting Trim

If you have a gap on the face of the trim that is equal across the miter, you need to bevel or angle cut in addition to cutting on a 45 degree angle. You can do this by sliding a small shim or cut piece of trim under the piece you are cutting (about 1/4" thick) near the blade. This will give a slight angle and allow the face edge of the trim to hit first instead of the back.

Also try hammering in the edges of drywall slighty around the rough opening. Sometimes this will help the trim to fit flatter on the wall.

You should also glue your miter cuts together.
Old 06-22-09, 07:11 AM
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Thanks all for your replies. I'm a little unclear on what I should use for the area encircled in red:

Specifically, which material should use for covering up that miter joint?
a) caulk,
b) DAP 55, or
c) SWP 66

(BTW, I'm not familiar with DAP 55 or SWP 66, and I couldn't find them anywhere. Are these considered "glazing compounds"? If so, the only thing I did find was a "Sherwin Williams Glazing Compound #66. Is this the same thing?)

Lastly, I get the impression that there may be differing opinions regarding which material I should use for covering up that miter joint. Regardless, I'd appreciate all of 'em (b/c I'm clueless)!
Old 06-22-09, 01:52 PM
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I always caulk that joint. Sometimes a better looking job can be done with putty but caulk is less likely to crack if there is any shrinkage or movement of the wood.

DAP 55 is a painter's putty which is normally used to fill nail holes.

SWP's 66 glazing compound can be used for both putting nail holes and glazing windows. I like it because it's not as oily and since it can also be used for reglazing windows - only need 1 can on the truck

Where ever 2 pieces of wood meet and where the casing meets the wall - should be caulked.
All the nail holes should be puttied. Take a small amount of putty in your hand and roll it into a ball. Push and twist the putty into the hole and smooth off with your thumb.... or you can use a putty knife to press in and clean off the excess.
Old 06-23-09, 06:04 PM
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I second what Marksr said about caulking it. Have a small bucket of water available to rinse your sponge in, apply caulk to the area, then wipe it lightly with your damp sponge. You will remove most of the caulk and leave just what is in the crack. I would do all the cracks like that as a matter of fact. Use the putty for the holes.

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