8 Types of Trim Boards Explained

Trim boards are a decorative element which is added to the home to add a break between floor, ceiling, walls, doors and windows. Trim boards range in size, style and material as well as where they would be placed. Trim boards can be along the floor or around windows and can be flat or ornate. Trim boards and mouldings are relatively the same thing with the distinction only coming depending on where the trim boards are placed. The following information will help to explain trim boards, their placement and what it means.

1. Baseboard

Trim boards used for baseboard application can either be plain or ornate. It hides the intersection where the wall and floor meet. It essentially serves as a means to protect this area from cleaner, water and vacuums. Most trim boards used as a baseboard are wider at the bottom and more narrow towards the top.

2. Base Shoe

This trim is quarter-round with both sides being flat which form a 90-degree angle when put together. A base shoe fits against the baseboard and floor. The third side is rounded and when you look at it from the side it appears to look like a quarter circle. The base shoe covers any gap between the floor and baseboard.

3. Crown, Ceiling and Cornice Moulding

These are all names given to the same type of trim boards. The purpose, like the baseboard does for the floor, covers the area where the ceiling and wall meet. Crown moulding is a more elaborate type which consists of three parts and crosses the area at an angle.

4. Casings

The purpose of casings is to make a border around a door or window which covers the gap between the wall and the jamb. The edge facing the outside is usually flat to allow horizontal trim to easily be installed.

5. Paneling

Not many people consider wood paneling to be trim but it actually is and is used to cover a portion or all of a wall. It's versatile enough that it can be made from panels, bead board, frames, battens, plywood and tongue-and-groove. Wainscoting is a term used to describe paneling that doesn't cover the entire wall.

6. Chair Rail

Walls cost a lot of money to build and sometimes more to repair and this is where trim boards used as a chair rail come in handy. This trim is installed about 36 inches off the floor and its purpose is to protect the walls from chairs hitting them. The other purpose is to act as a color breaker or stop point for wallpaper or to visually break up the wall slightly.

7. Cap Molding (aka Back Band)

This type of wood trim has edges that are rabbeted. The purpose of it is to fit it over paneling or flat casing.

8. Picture Moulding

Trim boards that act as picture moulding have rounded top edges which are used for hooks. This moulding is installed near the top of the wall and is used to hang artwork from. It takes the place of putting nails into the wall.