Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use Poplar or MDF for my painted trim and moulding?

If you are painting your trim it is recommended to use Poplar, or MDF.  Both MDF and Poplar paint very evenly.    Some contractors prefer only to work with one or the other.  Below is a list of characteristics to help make your decision:

Primed MDF Characteristics:

  • Very consistent quality in milling, finish, and no natural defects (like knots)
  • Primed white and ready for paint
  • Very stable – does not warp or twist like wood
  • More flexible than wood for wobbly walls
  • Very cost effective (less expensive than solid poplar)

POPLAR Characteristics:

  • Ability to order smaller quantities in custom shapes with quick lead times
  • Harder, lighter, and more durable over time
  • Available primed white in several stock profiles
  • Deeper cut profiles offer more defined lines
  • Nails hold the wood tighter to the wall than MDF
  • Nail holes are easier to fill and finish more evenly
  • Manufactured in Canada at Alexandria’s Royal Woodworking plant in Bradford Ontario
Should I consider my ceiling height when choosing my crown mould and baseboard?
Older homes usually have a larger baseboard, casing and crown than most new homes.  This is because of cost cutting measures and increased costs of lumber.  Many new builder homes come standard with 2-1/4” – 2-3/4” casing and 3” to 4” baseboard. But when it comes to mouldings, bigger is better!  Larger mouldings add much more warmth and elegance to a room.  With 8’ ceiling heights 5” to 8” base is recommended.  If you are restoring a century home you might even need larger baseboards up to 14”. With wider baseboards you should keep the scale with your door and window casing, and crown molding.  The crown moulding width should not exceed the width of your baseboard. With higher ceilings you should try keep your base to a minimum of 7-1/4” and a maximum of 14”. Once you get into baseboards over 9” in width they often come as a 2 piece build up.
I installed new hardwood and baseboard and noticed the baseboard is thicker than my door casing.
If you installed new hardwood floors and baseboard you might want to consider upgrading the casing to match.  If you cannot remove the old door casing then add a back-band to the casing before you install the baseboard.  A back-band will add width and depth to the casing for a richer look.
I need a shoe moulding for my new baseboard but I don’t want the standard quarter round moulding.
There are other options for shoe mouldings than the standard quarter round.  A doorstop or a shingle moulding is commonly used instead of quarter round.  There is also a vintage quarter round that can be used.  Go to our stock moulding section and look up STO-100, STO-102, SHI-002,  & QUA-003.
How high up the wall should my wainscoting be?
Wainscoting can be anywhere from 24” to full ceiling height depending on what look you want to achieve.
Should I use a windowsill and apron on my windows?
Windowsill or window stool is the ledge at the bottom of the window that projects beyond the casing.  The apron or skirt moulding sits underneath the sill to finish it off.  A windowsill and apron give the window a classic and more dressed look but are not necessary on every window.  Sometimes you may want to pick specific rooms where you want them. If your trim style is using an architrave then you should use the sill and apron as it balances the top with the bottom of the window.
My doors are too close to the adjacent wall and don’t allow for the larger casing I want. What should I do?
This is a common problem people face when trying to upgrade their casing.  One option is to re-frame a new and smaller door in that opening to give you more room.  For example if your door is 30”, install a new door that is 28” to give you an extra 2”.  Another option is to slice or “rip” down the casing on the one side so it fits.  Usually there are only a few doors where this is an issue so it is not recommended to downsize the casing everywhere else in the house just because of a couple awkwardly placed doors.
I want to add a crown and valence moulding to my kitchen
We stock a variety of mouldings in a variety of species suited for valence and cabinet crowns.  You can browse our moulding database online, or ask a staff member for assistance.
I have a transition from hardwood to carpet or tile and I need a moulding to bridge the gap.
There are many different scenarios with transitions from one surface to another.  Often a universal transition strip is required.  If your circumstances do not work with what we keep in stock, you may need to use your handy work with a table saw and make your own.  Sometimes you can even grout the transition if one surface is tile and it often gives a nicer finished look.  If you do not own a table saw, we may be able to help you depending on what it is you need.
Should I match my baseboard to my casing?
Yes, you should try keep similar lines together. However, you can have different styles together as long as they are not conflicting in design too much.  For example, it is not recommended to have a colonial casing and a contemporary baseboard.  But you can have a colonial casing with an antique or provincial baseboard.
I want to add chair rail and/or panels to my walls but the chair rail is thicker and sticks out past the thickness of the casing.
This is very common when adding chair rail or panels to a wall after the door casing is already installed.  If the chair rail or wainscoting is going to project past the door trim it is not “architecturally correct”.  The best way to solve this is to add a back band to the casing to make the casing thicker than the chair railing.
I have 9-foot ceilings and I want 8’ doors. Does this leave me with enough room for crown moulding?

There is only 12” of space from the top of the door to the ceiling left over for your crown and casing.  This can look a little cramped depending on the size of the crown and door casing.  With 9-foot ceilings a better door height would be either standard 80” or an 84” door.

My walls are not a standard thickness and I want to replace my doors. What should I do?
We can order doors with your specified jamb width in mind.  Or you can try to fit new doors in the existing doorjambs if you are confident the frames are square and they measure to standard sizes.
I am looking for options to dress up my fireplace with a new mantel and surround but I am not sure where to start.
Fireplace mantels and the decorative paneling that surrounds the opening is built up from multiple pieces of moulding and dimensional lumber that is layered together to get the look you want.  The options are endless.  Pick a design you like from a magazine or other source and bring a picture into the shop.  Our staff can help you decipher what the parts are that make up the fireplace so you can get the same or a very similar look.  As for the construction, if you are not tackling the project yourself, we can recommend a contractor that can help you.  Also, there are some standard kits available you can purchase for gas fireplaces that are already pre-built.