Maximum Value Budget Project: Molding

Use these tips to increase your home's value with a molding project on a budget.

Molding can add charm and elegance to just about any home style. From modern and sleek to classical and elaborate, there are many different types of molding to suit your home's specific architecture and add a certain "wow" factor when potential buyers enter the door. Crown molding is the most popular, with baseboard, window, door and chair rail moldings also found throughout the home. Increase the aesthetic value of your home by properly choosing and installing a molding that enhances and doesn't overwhelm the chosen space.

CURRENT TRENDS

  • Growing in size. The home trend toward high ceilings and grand doorways has created a demand for extra-wide crown molding, baseboards and door and window casings. Now even more eye-catching, typical four-inch molding is growing an extra two to four inches in home remodels and new constructions.
  • Modern molding. Homeowners are also looking toward nice, clean lines that accentuate beautiful doors and large windows but are not over-the-top with too many beads or too many architectural details.

BIGGEST MISTAKE

Homeowners can find themselves in a bind if they try to take on a DIY project without full knowledge of the task itself. According to appraisal expert Leslie Sellers, president of the Appraisal Institute, "molding can be extremely hard to install without knowledge of the project. It is better to leave well enough alone and consult a professional to keep damage from happening."

Sellers says that this is especially true in older homes where foundations have moved and walls might not be square anymore, making a molding installation even more tricky. Either way, you are risking nicks, nail holes, cracks and bad corners in the final outcome. Installing molding requires a keen understanding of measurements, tools to cut angles perfectly and light hands to not harm the materials. It's best to consult a professional if you have little to no experience installing molding.

EXPERT TIPS

  • On a Budget: Luckily, the most common molding is also the most cost-effective. Medium density fiberboard (MDF) is an engineered wood product made by combining wood fibers together with pressure treatment. Sellers says MDF molding is relatively "inexpensive and easy to paint," perfect for all types of homes because it comes in an array of designs. While MDF works well with different styles, it's important to note that it doesn't have a natural wood grain and doesn't stain well.
  • Mid-Range: If you like the look of a natural wood, then consider pine. The least expensive of the natural woods, you can enjoy the look and feel of wood molding without the hefty price tag. Keep in mind that the structure of pine can give it an inconsistent consistency, where certain parts of the molding may be harder than others. This could lead to a splotchy staining, so pine works best when you want the look of a natural wood under a light coat of paint.
  • High-End: One of the best natural woods that can be both stained, varnished and painted, oak is more expensive than other natural woods, but also offers a richness that is hard to find in other molding choices. If used in a home with hardwood floors, oak molding can be stained to match the floors, offering an elegant and timeless look that many homeowners appreciate.
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