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Old 07-21-2008, 12:05 PM   #1
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Replacing all doors and trim...lots of questions...


After painting our entire house (interior) and refinishing the hardwood floors, we're very pleased with the results, but now our old lauan plywood doors and outdated trim (both also have many layers of paint on them) stand out more than ever. Not counting the two exterior doors plus the door to the garage (which must be a steel door AFAIK) I have eight doors to replace. I was at Lowe's yesterday pricing the Relia-Bilt pre-hung units and saw that in addition to the standard six panel hollow core doors they now have a two panel model which has brushed nickel hardware instead of gold. We've been trying to coordinate the house with brushed nickel metals (ceiling fans, lighting, switchplates, etc...) so these would be perfect. At roughly $65-70 per door they're certainly reasonable but should I look beyond the big box stores for a better deal? Also, regardless of where I get them I have a question about painting. I've read that these doors will swell and stick in humid weather if they're not completely painted. Does this mean actually taking the door off of the hinges and even painting the area covered by the hinge plate?

Now for trim. First off-are the big box stores always best on price? I'm not looking for any kind of one off moulding or a fancy design, just something with nice lines and isn't dull, boring, and caked with old paint like my current clamshell trim. I want to go with paint grade pine trim and I'll be painting it semi-gloss white, the question is do I paint before or after it's installed? I was thinking of dry fitting it all, painting, installing, and then caulking since the trim will be white anyway. Any reason not to? Also, I may or not decide to do crown moulding as well. In order to stretch my budget a bit I was going to go with MDF instead of pine since it's unlikely that it will ever be bumped or become chipped once its in place. Am I being too cheap?

Finally, the baseboard trim. All I see at the big box stores is 3/8" thick base. I have hardwood floors and don't particularly like the look of 1/4 round in addition to baseboard. Of course I also realize that a thicker baseboard would most likely be more expensive as well as harder to work with since it's not as flexible. I was thinking of buying pieces of 1x4x10 MDF to mount behind the trim as a spacer. I would rip it to the exact height of the trim and then caulk the seam. Would this work? Any better ideas?

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Old 07-21-2008, 12:39 PM   #2
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Replacing all doors and trim...lots of questions...


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Originally Posted by Badfish740 View Post
....At roughly $65-70 per door they're certainly reasonable but should I look beyond the big box stores for a better deal?
Be aware that you get what you pay for with those massed produced doors. We do install them on alot of budget type jobs, tho, I would not install them in my own home. It is extemely doubtful that you would get a better price elsewhere, unless there was a specific sale on the doors at a Big Home Improvement Store. It wouldn't hurt to try pricing doors at a lumber supply Yard.

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Originally Posted by Badfish740 View Post
....
Also, regardless of where I get them I have a question about painting. I've read that these doors will swell and stick in humid weather if they're not completely painted. Does this mean actually taking the door off of the hinges and even painting the area covered by the hinge plate?
Yes, they will swell. You should paint/seal all edges. Dependant on the environment, you may, or may not have to do the hinge areas. Example: Basement or high humidity region = paint every exposed surface.

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....
Now for trim. First off-are the big box stores always best on price? I'm not looking for any kind of one off moulding or a fancy design, just something with nice lines and isn't dull, boring, and caked with old paint like my current clamshell trim.
You will get a better price at a Lumber Yard. Trim is priced by the LF and is 99.9% of the time, less than the Big Home Improvement Store.

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Originally Posted by Badfish740 View Post
....
I want to go with paint grade pine trim and I'll be painting it semi-gloss white, the question is do I paint before or after it's installed?
You can paint before to reduce the labor involved with painting after installation. This doesn't mean that you will not have to "touch up" the molding, or fill and paint the nail holes after. It just means that you will not have to bend over, reach out, get every miniscule area, that you would have to, were you to paint after. Pre-painting = less "overall" labor.

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Originally Posted by Badfish740 View Post
....
In order to stretch my budget a bit I was going to go with MDF instead of pine since it's unlikely that it will ever be bumped or become chipped once its in place. Am I being too cheap?
Nothing wrong with using modern MDF molding. Once painted, it looks just like wood. Tho, I would suggest using wood in bathrooms and kitchens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Badfish740 View Post
....
Finally, the baseboard trim. All I see at the big box stores is 3/8" thick base. I have hardwood floors and don't particularly like the look of 1/4 round in addition to baseboard. Of course I also realize that a thicker baseboard would most likely be more expensive as well as harder to work with since it's not as flexible. I was thinking of buying pieces of 1x4x10 MDF to mount behind the trim as a spacer. I would rip it to the exact height of the trim and then caulk the seam. Would this work? Any better ideas?
I would not suggest this as you will then have baseboard that will sit "proud" of all your door casings (thicker than the door casings).
An option to consider is using 1x 6 clear pine stock and a separate basecap trim to create the baseboard itself (2 piece base).

Example: http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c2...T/DSC07113.jpg


Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 07-21-2008 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 07-21-2008, 12:55 PM   #3
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Replacing all doors and trim...lots of questions...


We are about 70% done with this very project. We did get all from Lowes. There doors are OK, but nothing great, still 200% better than the crappy luan doors they replaced. If you go this route, spend a little more and get the solid core doors. Much nicer and sometimes there are sales when you can get it for no extra $$. Look at the doors closely when you install them. Two of the five doors so far installed had warped jambs. One was easily "bent" into place, the 2nd had to really be torqued into place. Take your time and make sure the door works easily before installing the trim. One trick I have learned is to install the door hardware, then place the door on sawhorses and use a square to make certain the frame is square, then take some stock and tack to the door jambs, to keep from racking when you install. I have found that this greatly shortens the install time.

Regarding the swelling of the doors, yet they do and make curetain that you have the hardware adjusted so you play a little when adjusting.

We are using the MDF molding for all the house and so far it is not too bad to use and the price was pretty good. We did not check the lumber yards since we were not using wood. if we were to go wood, I would have checked elsewhere. We painted all the trim before installing wherever possible. MDF is nice in that the joints come together real well.

About the base molding, we use the mdf here as well, with the shoe in most places. The bathroom was recently renovated and the shoe is not needed, so that is the only room that did not get it.
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Old 07-25-2008, 09:58 AM   #4
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Replacing all doors and trim...lots of questions...


This is interesting. Would you consider posting photos of your project?
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Old 07-26-2008, 07:39 PM   #5
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Replacing all doors and trim...lots of questions...


Both wood and mdf doors will react to moisture if not painted on all sides; the top and bottom are the usual skipped edges,as most painters figure they are not seen, but doing so will void the warranty, besides exaggerating the reactions to moisture swings. I have never seen any problems attributed to the area behind the hinges not being painted.

Do not install a a base moulding that is thicker than the door trim that it will butt into, as it will not look right. You can either add a backband to the thinner door trim, or upgrade to a factory profile that has this heavy edge already. Take a look at what is commonly known as the "deluxe colonial" trim profiles. Another option is to install plinth blocks to receive the base.

My personal preferrence is to prime and sand, then install, spackle and caulk, and do both finish coats in place. I hear lots of people suggest one finish coat before installaton and the second in place, but I find that one coat leaves the nail spackling too visible. Caulking after finish paint as you suggest is not good, as the caulking will discolor more than the paint.

Mdf will do fine for crown.

Be carefull with big box trims, as many of the profiles tend to be thinner than their counterparts from a millwork supplier.

Are the Lowes door units split jambs or fixed width. I think the split jambs are not worth the extra effort it takes to shim then sufficiently to make them look good and last long term. If you are thinking of using anything but the pre installed trim, it is not feasible to remove and install new trim to this type of jamb. I would definately talk to a couple of local lumber yards about what you want before purchasing them from Lowes. A few dollars more up front will be well worth the saved aggravation.

Last edited by troubleseeker; 07-26-2008 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:16 PM   #6
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Replacing all doors and trim...lots of questions...


I like MDF trim and have used it extensively in my house. However, I refuse to use MDF crown. I've found it very difficult to cope inside corners correctly with this material. For crown, I always buy pine and paint it. It copes much better. I often fine tune and/or back-bevel my casing miters with a block plane, and that's tough with MDF as well. If price were not an issue, I'd probably never use it. Price always seems to be an issue though!

Also, don't buy your doors based on the finish of the hinges. New hinges can be purchased in brushed nickel hinges for less than $10 per door. You should have no trouble finding hinges that fit perfectly.

Personally, I wouldn't install base without installing base shoe (not quarter round). Consider using a taller base, which won't make the base shoe look so overpowering. Atlantic's idea about using 1x with base cap can really look nice. I just got done doing this in my bathroom, and it looks beautiful. Including the base cap, it is about 5-1/2" tall, so the base shoe really fits the whole thing nicely, and it looked goofy without it.


Last edited by Termite; 07-27-2008 at 01:19 PM.
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