When you're 95% complete with your basement finishing project, trim may seem like an afterthought, but you will need to install base trim and door trim at a minimum.
I highly recommend trimming out your windows as well (yes, the short little stubby ones too). It doesn't take long and just looks a million times better.
In this post, find out how to buy and transport trim from Home Depot to your house.
Keep in mind that prior to my basement finishing project I had never once touched, cut or installed trim. So when I walked into Home Depot to buy some trim it took me about 10 minutes to find the right aisle and another 30 minutes of just looking around like an idiot to figure out what I needed to buy.
Don't worry, if you think you look like an idiot then you're stretching your comfort zone and that's a good thing.
#1 Buy the 16 foot lengths of trim.
Chances are you'll have at least one wall that 16 feet or longer. And if you're like me then chances are you haven't pre-planned every last detail of your trimming installation operation.
You just want to get a bunch of it, get it home and then figure the scientific stuff out over a couple of Miller Lights.
#2 Base Trim - buy the Fiberboard trim.
I was installing crown molding in my daughter's room last year and was on the last piece of trim after working all day. I had to bend it to get it into the room... snap!
Busted in the middle, had to drive back to the store for another piece so I could finish. (I like pine for the crown, just not worth the effort for the base).
TIP: This picture shows the 5 1/4" height, which is only about 10 cents more per foot and looks much better than what I bought, the 3 1/4". Go for the slight upgrade, it's worth it!
#3 For finishing basement windows and doors I sort of liked the "Pine Wood" trim.
It cuts a bit smoother than fiberboard and was easier to sand and paint the joints and corners.
In other areas of the country they might make it out of some other wood. Here in Virginia you can throw a pine seed into the ground and when you turn around to water it it's already 8 feet tall.
#4 Use the "free wood-cutter box"
My son Christian loves that you can cut wood right there in the store. Only pay for what you need. If you only need an 8 foot piece of trim, just pull down one of those 16 footers and cut it in half. Leave yourself an extra 1/2 a foot to a foot, just in case your "stellar" high school math skills have betrayed you.
Oh, bring your kid along with you, let them do the cutting, it's just a rough cut anyway. I recommend just bringing one though. Otherwise there's fighting over the saw, which is a fool-proof recipe for blood on the floor.
#5 Buy a bit more trim than you think you need
One of the best ways to finish your basement on time and save on cost is to cut down on trips to the hardware store. I once made 4 trips to Home Depot in one day!
I'm not exaggerating, 4 freakin' trips.
If you end up with extra trim, just bring it back and return it. That last thing you want is to have your whole setup going and then run out of material.
#6 Buy pre-primed trim.
If you refuse to listen to this advice I reserve the right to punch you in the stomach. You might as well get punched in the stomach. That's what it will feel like if you spend a whole day priming un-primed trim.
#7 Take extra time securing the trim to your vehicle.
Do you want to know what happens to the hood of Honda Pilot if you don't properly securely 16 feet of trim? Stop by sometime and I'll show you. The fiberboard "wood" is bouncy, it will bend. Either be prepared to go really slow (like 35 or lower) or tie the middle and both ends of the trim to the car to ensure it's snug and won't bounce around.
#8 Bring a tape measure with you
Every time I've been to a store to buy trim they always have a tape measure there beside the saw. But it's usually still in its packaging. I like to have my own.
Plus, you might want to measure what length of trim will fit inside of your car or SUV. If you can just throw it in the back then you don't have to wrestle with tying it to the top of the vehicle.
fyi: A 2003 Honda Pilot can hold an 11 foot piece of trim, entirely inside, with the tailgate shut, if you go corner to corner.
TIP: If you have a baby in a car seat, it is not (I repeat) NOT okay to rest trim next to or on your babies car seat. Even if they are laughing and smiling when you do it.
Cheers - Jason
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