Editor’s Note: Oh my goodness, where have Kayla and Justin, from HomeComing, been all my life? I seriously needed this post 6 months ago when I was adding casing around all of my basement windows, which cost way more than I wanted it to. Below you are going to see the incredible window trim they created with just standard pieces of pine. You don’t have to pay for the fancy window casings to get a high-end look!
When we purchased our Minneapolis home seven years ago, it was pretty plain. The home was full of standard features and didn’t have any personality. Throughout the last few years, we’ve been slowly updating the home to bring out our personality and bring in higher-end custom projects to increase our home’s value. This process has taught us that even the seemingly small projects make a big impact in your home.
As part of our master suite remodel, we’re updating all of our window trim from the boring, standard style to a beautiful Craftsman Style trim that is really high-impact.
How to Install Craftsman Style Window Trim
There are many different styles of upgraded window trim that you can apply to your windows. Justin & I are going to show you how we installed a simplified Craftsman Style trim that brings a modern look to our home. We’ll be sharing each step with you, so while this might look daunting – we know you can do it!
- Nail Gun, Trim Gun, or Brad Nailer
- Ruler or Sliding T-Square
- Wood Glue
- Miter Saw
Now let’s get started!
Start by removing the existing window trim using a pry bar. Try your best to not puncture or break the sheetrock surrounding the windows while you’re removing.
When our existing trim was removed, we noticed that the extension jam of the window (aka. the wooden framework that surrounds your window) wasn’t wide enough because it wasn’t wide enough to meet our Sheetrock.
Carpenter’s Tip #1:
The extension jam around your window needs to be flush with your wall before the trim can be applied. Since our jam was too small, we built a new jam with 1″x4″ pine, which was measured and cut to fit.
Carpenter’s Tip #2:
To prevent the material from splitting, you need to pre-drill holes using a 1/8″ drill bit (this can be used on a regular drill). Then after the holes have been pre-drilled, screw the extension jam into the window frame using a 3″ trim head screw and your impact drill.
Carpenter’s Tip #3:
Before installing your trim, measure 1/4″ from the edge of your window extension jam to be exposed for the layered look we’re going for. We used a sliding t-square to measure this in multiple points on our jam, which we then used as a guide when installing the trim.
Also, cutting a scrap of our 1″ x 4″side pieces (aka casing), we held it in place and marked the outside edge to help us determine the measure for the Head Piece.
Starting with the 5/4″ x 6″ head piece of pine, we measured and cut the board to be 3/4″ longer than the window casing (that we just marked) on each side. Secure in place using 2-1/2″ trim nails and your finish nailer.
Then, for the layered look, we added the pine 2″x 2″ on top, cut to be 3/4″ longer than the head piece. Secure into place using wood glue & trim nails.
Carpenter’s Tip #4:
Wood glue is your friend! Be sure to apply wood glue to every wood-to-wood contact. This will give a more secure and long-term hold.
Then we moved on to the sill & apron (aka the bottom) of the window. The 1″ x 4″apron should be the same length as your Head piece, which was 3/4″ longer than the window casing on each side.
Carpenter’s Tip #5:
Install your apron before your sill to make it easier to nail and secure everything in place. We used a scrap piece of wood at the same thickness as our sill (5/4″) to determine the correct height of the apron before securing.
Note: If your sill piece is flush with the Sheetrock, you don’t need to put on a miter return (the angled corner piece that returns to the wall) on if you’re planning to paint your sill. You can instead use a square cut piece of pine and skip the next step below. If you’re planning to stain your sill, then follow the instructions below ensure that there’s no end grain showing.
Cut a 45 degree angle using your miter saw on each end of your 5/4″ x 2″ sill and attach to the apron. Attach by applying wood glue, then nailing in place. Measure the distance from the long point of your angle to the wall – you’ll need this measurement in a second.
Then cut your return piece (aka. the smaller piece of wood that completes the edge) at a 45 degree angle on one side of the piece, and a square cut on the other side using your long point measurement. Attach by applying wood glue, then nailing in place.
Lastly, measure between your head piece and your sill piece and cut your 1″ x 4″ casing to that length for the side pieces. Glue the ends where they meet the sill and header, and attach the casing to the extension jam (using 1-1/4″ brad nails) and wall ( using 2″ trim nails).
And, the hard part is done! (Totally sounds harder than it is.) The rest is finishing touches.
Fill all of the nail holes using wood filler, allow to dry, then sand smooth.
Carpenter’s Tip #6:
“Break the edges” by rounding slightly with sandpaper. This trick not only soften the edges but will also help the paint stick on the edges.
Then paint or stain & poly your window trim based on your design choices. We chose to paint our window trim white to match our color palette.
Carpenter’s Tip #7:
The last tip is to always apply a bead of caulk on every seam of the trim – inside edges and out – when you’re painting your trim. This will give it a more finished look and hide any imperfections and/or gaps between each piece. Unfortunately, if you’re staining your trim, this tip doesn’t apply because the caulk would show.
That’s it! Here’s a final image of our Craftsman Style window trim before being primed, painted and caulked.
And here it is after being primed, painted and caulked.
Big impact, right?
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