How to Install Window Trim
Hi everyone, I’m Cristina from Remodelando la Casa, and I’m beyond excited to join the team of Pretty Handy gals and guys! I’m still pinching myself at such a wonderful opportunity.
Today I’m going to show you a fairly easy way to transform your builder grade windows from plain and boring to beautiful with loads of character and with a more finished appearance.
Right now I’m working on updating my bedroom, where I have a couple of these windows.
They look like they are wearing skirts, but forgot to put on the tops! 🙂 Yeap, naked!
Let’s change that by dressing up those windows!
This is only a decorative treatment. All the wooden material (Poplar or Pine), can be found at your local home center.
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- Miter saw (but you can use a Miter box and hand saw)
- Jig saw
- Pneumatic nail gun
- Pry bar
- Utility knife
How much material you need depends on the size of your window, but this is what I used:
The first thing to do is getting rid of the old window stool and apron.
Using the utility knife, score around the window cutting the caulking. This is very important to prevent rips in the drywall.
Using the pry bar begin lifting the apron, use a wood shim as support to prevent damage to the wall.
Once the apron is off, you can begin lifting the stool.
Underneath I found lots of wood shims that were used to level the stool. They were left in place. Scrape the old caulking from the window and wall.
Don’t throw away the old window stool, you can use it to trace the pattern onto your new stool. Measure the width of your window, add the width of both side casings: 7 inches, add 1/2″ for reveals (1/4″ on each side) and add 2 more inches for the “horns” (The horns are those extra parts on the window stool that go beyond the apron. Allow one inch on each side of the stool.)
Mark the center on the old and new stool boards, align those centers and trace the new pattern.
If you are working on more than one window, it is a good idea to mark each board, even though they look pretty much the same, their measurements can vary.
Use your jig saw to cut away those marked ends.
Place it on the window and make sure the new stool is level. Nail it in place.
The apron can be installed by centering it underneath the stool. The dimensions are the same as for the stool, but without the horns (2″). As shown below, the horns protrude an inch on each side beyond the apron.
The side casings can be installed now. To figure the length of the side casings, measure the distance from the stool to the top of the opening of the window, add 1/4″ for reveal line. Secure the side casings with nails.
After the side casings are installed, measure the distance from the outer edges of the side casings. That will give you the head casing length.
Nail the head casing in place.
Cut the decorative molding, crown and half round.
When cutting the decorative molding, miter the ends (cut at a 45 degree angle as shown below.) Remember to cut the molding upside down.
The crown is installed at the very top of the head casing and the half round is attached to the bottom of the head casing.
The returns (side pieces of the decorative molding) are glued in place and held overnight with tape.
Fill the nail holes and gaps with caulking. After the caulk is dry, a good sanding is a necessity. Don’t forget to sand those sharp edges too.
Paint the trim with one coat of primer and two coats of paint. Then you’ll have good looking windows in your room!
Add new paint in a contrasting color on the walls and the room is almost ready!
I had some leftover paint that I mixed to achieve this hue.
These twin windows really add a lot of character to the room.
The trim makes a big difference, wouldn’t you agree?
Thank you so much for having me here at Pretty Handy Girl! I can’t wait to share more with you!
Don’t miss Brittany’s great tutorial for trimming a casement window: How to Install Trim and Casing Moulding on a Casement Window by PrettyHandyGirl
I know this is an old post so I’m not sure if you watch these, but how did you measure the length for the half round and crown?
You can also use a spackle knife or larger scrap wood to distribute the force of the pry bar if you want to be extra safe not to damage your plaster walls.
Would you pleas tell me the height and width of the windows as well as the height of the ceiling . I am debating on resizing my window so I can add some decent trim to it . Thanks in advance.
thanks for the great tutorial ! is it the same process for removing the old trim if you have plaster walls?
Yes, you can also use a spackle knife or larger scrap wood to distribute the force of the pry bar if you want to be extra safe not to damage your plaster walls.
Thanks for this great tutorial! I’m doing this in my kitchen & dining great room which is about 40 x 17 ft. We have a 9’ ceiling. How big should my ceiling crown moulding be? I’ve been advised 5 1/2 but my instinct is telling me 4 1/4-4 1/2. I’ve heard that a ceiling crown can take over if it’s not well propositioned to the room.
Chantal, I can’t give you an honest opinion. I’d recommend getting some scrap moulding and see how it looks before you proceed.
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excellent, excellent instructions. may I add a few tips? lightly sand the edges of your wood before painting – use 150 to 220 grit (at least go over the edges that are facing out) just enough to “soften” them because paint does apply well to hard right angles, then use a tack cloth to clean off the sanded area or your brush or blow it with an attachment to your compressor. do this because your brush will pick up some of the sanding dust and you will be painting that dust onto your smooth surface. and don’t ever paint from the can, pour some paint into a cup and work from that cup. you want to isolate the dust from the fresh paint that is in your can. if you really want to get crazy, lightly sand after you apply the primer. this is recommended because the first coat of paint will make the wood fibers swell and “stand up” so the surface will not be perfectly smooth. you do not have to sand between the two coats of finished paint. some people like wood fill or Ready Patch rather than caulk to plug the nail holes because it is easier to sand flatly for a smooth finish then to flatten caulk. just apply it with your thumb and smooth it with a damp rag. now I have a question: how far beyond the side casing did you extend the half round?