An Easy How To Install Craftsman Trim Tutorial

January 28, 2021

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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If you’ve been here a while, you know I’ve been busy on the master bedroom makeover. This renovation has been a process of changing everything from the floor to the ceiling. Literally! So, of course, that means changing out the trim too. My go-to trim? Craftsman Trim. I love the chunkiness of craftsman trim and the fact that it’s timeless-is perfect.

Our home was built in 2005 and I have slowly (but it’s happening) been changing out all of our builder’s-grade trim to craftsman trim. As I’ve updated/remodeled each room, I’ve also changed out the trim. Here’s a sampling of the rooms I’ve already completed: hallway leading to kitchen, master bedroom alcove, guest bathroom, daughter’s bedroom, sons’ bedroom, kitchen, mudroom, master bathroom…just to name a few. Only 8 more spaces to go….

vertical shiplap with a black chalkboard and step stool

An Easy How To Install Craftsman Trim Tutorial

The first step, as I’m sure you probably guessed, is to remove your old trim. I have found the best way to do this is with these tools: hammer, exact-o knife, flathead screwdriver, crowbar…

flathead, exacto knife, crowbar, hammer

First, I use my exact-o knife to cut a thin line where the trim and wall meet. For door and window trim, I also cut where the trim meets the frame. Here’s a quick video to show you what I mean. 

I then use my hammer to pound my flathead screwdriver behind the trim piece. This opens up space between the wall and the trim piece, allowing my crowbar to get in there. With my crowbar, I pull back and start shimmying the trim away from the wall. I repeat this method all the way down the length of my trim piece…pulling it away from the wall until it is completely separated….crowbar and flathead removing trim

(Sorry about the lack of focus in this photo–really bad 🙁  )

Next, I remove any leftover nails and with my exact-o knife I trim off any bulky paint or caulk leftover. This allows a smooth surface for placing my new boards.

Now I’m ready to start attaching my craftsman trim…

I like to use the following size boards:

Baseboards: 1×6 boards

1X6 pinewood for craftsman trim

Window/Door Frames: 1×5 boards

window with craftsman trim

White Trim around door frame

But really it’s personal preference.

I always start with my door frames first, then I add my baseboards.

Installing Craftsman Trim Door Frames

Using a nail gun, attach side boards first. Cut both boards to fit from floor to top of door or entryway.  (Amazon Affiliate Included)

door with craftsman trim

Next you’re ready to build your craftsman trim topper


1×5 board

1×2 board

Stop strip (located in the moulding section at Home Depot)

wood on a workbench

I have found that it is best to build your topper first and then attach it to your door/window frame.

3 door toppers

First, measure the length from the far side of your side board to the far side of the other side board. Then cut your 1×5 to fit this space.

Craftsman trim around door frame

Next add one inch to your measurement for the 1×5 you just cut and cut your stop strip and 1×2 board. (For example, if your 1×5 is 33″ long, you’ll cut your stop strip and 1×2 board 34″ long).

Now you’re ready to assemble your topper.

Attach the 1×2 to the 1×5–allowing for a half-inch overhang of the 1×2 on both ends. Also note, the back of the 1×2 should be flush with the back of the 1×5. (See picture below) Attach using wood glue and nail gun.

door topper

door topper on work bench

Then attach stop strip to the other long end of 1×5–allowing for a half-inch overhang of the stop strip on both ends. And again, also note, the back of the stop strip should be flush with the back of the 1×5. (See picture below) Attach using wood glue and nail gun.

door topper

door topper

Now you’re ready to place the topper on top of both side boards. Attach to the wall, using a nail gun (1″ nails)…

Line up topper so that stop strip is sitting on top of sideboards and hanging over about 1/2 inch on both ends. Attach to wall with nail gun. (Note: the topper below butts up to a corner wall, therefore, there is only overhang on the right side and not in the corner).

entry way to laundry room

(Sidenote: This same technique is used for windows too. The only difference is: add a bottom 1×5 board that measures the span of both sideboards).

window with trim

Now we’re ready for the baseboards

Master bedroom with craftsman trim and mid century modern style decor

farmhouse decor in a foyer

Cut your 1×6 boards to fit, trimming out the entire room. Attach each board as you go using a nail gun.

I kinda cheat and take the easy route at all of my corners. Instead of mitering my boards, I just run them straight into one another. This is covered up and not noticeable at all with caulk….my best friend in my building projects. 🙂

Speaking of caulk, that’s our next step and we are almost finished!! Run caulk along all of the seams. If you’re unsure of how to do this, check out my Caulking Tutorial here.

Next, fill in all of your nail holes with wood filler. I like to use this one. :). (Amazon Affiliate Included)

Dap Plastic Wood bottle

Last, and definitely the best part, is PAINT!!! I use this paint for all of my trim: Behr Marquee Ultra Pure White, Semi-Gloss….

can of white paint

But, if you’re willing to spend a little more, this paint from Sherwin Williams can be tinted to whatever color you want and is hands down the best I’ve found for trim. When dry, it provides a hard surface that stands up against the wear and tear baseboards (especially) can endure over time….

Sherwin Williams All Surface Enamel can of black paint for trimWhat a difference upgrading your trim to craftsman trim can make!! This simple change will update an entire room…

master bedroom with cozy corner with chair, blanket and fireplace next to it and craftsman trim throughout

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Be sure to check back next Thursday when I share how to build a fireplace surround for an electric fireplace. Wait! We’re going from craftsman trim to building a fireplace?? Yep! We’ve got this! It’s really not as hard as it may sound. 🙂

Until next time,

Happy Building, Friend!!

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