Applying Trim In Confined Spaces

By Robert Robillard on Finish Carpentry


Applying Window or Door Trim In Confined Spaces


Applying trim in confined spaces frustrates many people.   In a perfect finish carpentry world all doors and windows would be installed with enough space to apply full width trim like in the picture below.

The reality is that we sometimes we have to rip trim down to narrower pieces in order to apply it to a door or window and a wall.

The window below is a good example of this situation. The trim is 3 1/2″ wide but there is only 2″ to 2 -1/2″ of room to apply trim.

Applying Trim In Confined Spaces

Most people, including myself in many situations, would just rip down the trim and apply it. The problem with approach is that the trim often gets ripped through the decorative, detailed profiles and looks funny.

Sometimes the window or door is not centered perfectly and the left and right trim profiles are different widths.

To avoid this happening here we custom milled our own trim to match just one side [left] of the window trim — the inside bead detail.

Applying Trim In Confined Spaces

The new trim is the same thickness but only has the inner bead detail and a much wider flat section.

Applying Trim In Confined Spaces

The trim I made below has only the left inside bead detail and the rest of the board is flat. The right side of this board will be ripped down to the proper size and scribed tight to the wall.

Applying Trim In Confined Spaces

This is the window I was dealing with. If you click on the picture you can see in better detail.

Applying Trim In Confined Spaces

The top window casing has to slide up and under an existing crown molding detail.

Applying Trim In Confined Spaces

Because the trim is not all the same width as the miters have to be carefully cut and matched.

Always measure the miter cut from the inside [bead side] by making reference or reveal marks all around the window jamb. Click on picture to see reference marks below.

Applying Trim In Confined Spaces

My reveal pencil mark can be see on the white window jamb. I made these marks on both sides and top and refer to them when measuring the trim to be cut.

Below this trim has been scribed to fit against the cabinet wall and bump out.

Applying Trim In Confined Spaces

Trim applied and awaiting the painter.

Applying Trim In Confined Spaces

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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