If it were up to Bradley, there would be no moulding in our house. We’re already doing trimless windows and doors, but he’d go one step further and have drywall go straight to the floor with no trim lining the bottom. Unfortunately for him, we live in reality. It’s way too hard to get drywall just perfect when you have a 130-year-old house with wonky floors. Sometimes molding is necessary.
We kicked off our Labor Day weekend by visiting Lowe’s to check out the trim selection. Unfortunately we weren’t off to a great start — we couldn’t find anything we liked. We wanted something that looked clean and modern but everything they had in stock was
fugly curved. It was also ridiculously expensive. Each 8′ piece of trim was $14. Instead of spending major moolah on trim we weren’t in love with, we moseyed on over to the lumber department. We walked out with 2 sheets of 3/4″ MDF for $60. That’s the cost of 4 pieces of trim from Lowe’s, which is barely enough to cover our hallway. Boo-yah!
3 inches is the standard height for floor molding — it gives you just enough to cover the gap between wall and floor, and a little extra in case there were any plaster issues that need covering up. So we set up our table saw to cut 3″ pieces and let ‘er rip.
We got 29 pieces out of the 2 sheets of MDF. We also made enough dust to fake a moon landing in our garage. MDF is basically just sawdust held together by glue, so it shreds like crazy. Check out our dust pile:
We’ve been dying to try out our paint spray gun for a while, and this was the perfect excuse. Bradley grabbed our giant pail of primer:
Annnnd he spilled a bunch of dust in it when he tipped the lid by accident:
He had to skim it out with paper towels — it worked like a charm. After that, he went to set up the paint area while I mixed the paint with the world’s largest stir stick:
I caught up with him as he was reading up on how to get the paint sprayer running:
We purchased this bad boy about 2 weeks BEFORE we had the keys to the house. Seriously. We wanted to start painting so badly that we just went ahead and got it, along with a giant bucket of primer and 2 gallons of paint for the guest bedroom.
They’ve been sitting in storage for 4 months. Guess we jumped the spray gun. Wokka wokka!
Basically it involves putting one hose into the paint and another into a waste bucket. Then you turn the machine on and it starts pumping paint.
Once paint dribbles into the waste bucket, you transfer over both tubes to the paint bucket and you’re good to go.
Neither of us had ever used a paint sprayer before but it was pretty intuitive: pull the trigger and move the nozzle from one end of the wood to the other in a smooth motion.
Here’s something else that’s also intuitive: if you spray paint on your lawn without a tarp, you’ll get paint on your grass.
Whoopsie doodles. At least the paint turned out smooth and perfect, even if our grass did end up looking totally grungy. We finished off one batch of 5 in 46 seconds — yes, I timed it — and then we took a break to set up some tarps before moving on to a new batch.
You’ll notice our half-painted fence in the background. We’re pretty sure that’s the bane of our neighbors’ collective existence. Too bad for them, we don’t plan on renovating the outside of our house until Spring 2012 because we have a whole lotta indoor renovating to keep us busy till then. We like to think of it as increasing property values from the inside out.
Meanwhile, back in our impromptu spray booth… If we had rolled these puppies, it would have taken 2 or 3 minutes per piece of trim. With the sprayer, we were averaging 45 seconds for 5 of them. At this rate, we could get a room painted — floors and ceilings — in 10 minutes!
Another major bonus of spraying instead of rolling or brushing: the paint went on perfectly even and it had no texture whatsoever. We don’t mind the light texture that paint rollers leave behind, but we loooooove the silky smooth textureless look of spraying. The paint also dried super fast. Maybe it’s the thin, even coverage, but every piece was dry-to-the-touch in less than 5 minutes. We gave it about 20 more minutes of dry time and then carried it upstairs to test how it’ll look:
We still have to prime the top, but we wanted to sand the edges a little more before we do that. We’ll probably do it when we’re spraying primer on the walls. The paint sprayer is super easy to set up and use, but it’s a pain in the butt to clean. Waiting till we paint the walls will make life easier.
Speaking of making life easier, someone got a new toy that’s going to speed things up in the angle-cutting department:
We have a lot of frames for artwork and for mirrors that we need to cut, plus a buncha trim for the house. We’re also going to be doing reclaimed plank walls for the laundry room / bathroom downstairs, so we’ll need to cut a lot of angles to get perfectly joined corners. Knowing all of this, we went ahead and splurged on a miter saw.
Bradley wasted no time testing that sucker out:
We’ll be able to join 2 pieces of trim together with no problem. We even cut this teeny tiny piece for a tight corner:
So that’s it. We made our own trim — enough to cover 232 feet, and it only cost us $60 plus a few bucks worth of primer. The entire project took about an hour of actual work, and about 30 minutes of dry time, so it was a quickie.
Our DIY trim is definitely not a traditional floor moulding with rounded edges and base caps and base shoes and junk, but we’re not really the traditional types. We’re going for a more modern, minimalist look upstairs and these fit right in with our cement window sills and our bold doorways. Once we paint the floors and trim black, they’ll be more of an extension of the floor rather than a moulding along the wall.
What we learned from this project:
- Standard moulding kinda sucks and it’s way overpriced.
- If you’re into that traditional curvy look, all you need is a router and a base board router bit. It’s just one added step in between the cutting and the priming.
- We’re not really sure how much money we actually saved by going the DIY route, but we’re pretty sure it’s enough to fill a small room with coins and swim around in it like Scrooge McDuck. For 60 beans and 1.5 hour of our three-day weekend, we made enough molding to cover all of the rooms and hallways upstairs. We might even have a little extra leftover.
- Spray guns: best $200 we’ve ever spent, hands down.
Legal junk: none of the brands mentioned or shown have paid or perked us for writing about this post. They’re all things we paid for and we use ‘em because we love ‘em.