7 Tips for DIY Door Trim Installation

For a dramatic change to your home’s appearance, you may want to consider upgrading your door trim.

Replacing old and worn door trim or upgrading to a more elegant or contemporary style is not only a doable DIY project but this small change in your home’s interior can have a significant impact in each room’s appearance.

Door trim installation is relatively easy, and there are several how-to videos and tutorials on the internet. Another great option is to talk to your local hardware store expert; quite often they can help you select the right materials and tools for the job. But before you get started, consider these seven tips to help make your DIY door trim installation project a successful weekend job.

Tip #1: Save time with prep work

Before starting any job, it’s a good idea to take stock. What materials will you require? What tools do you have and what tools do you need?

This small bit of prep work will save you time and frustration in the long run, as it prevents last-minute material shortages and unexpected trips to the store.

Tip #2: Save time by practicing your tool skills

The best and most efficient way to use a tool can be elusive without a bit of practice, and for many do-it-yourselfers, using your tools doesn’t happen every day. To help cut down material waste, consider spending some time getting reacquainted with your tools.

Tip #3: Save time by measuring first and cutting second

Consider cutting the same trim length pieces if you are installing trim on more than one door. However, to take advantage of this time-saving tip, you will first need to measure each entryway. There can be subtle differences in lengths and widths that occur as a result of age and the settling of the house foundation, which means you’ll want to verify your measurements before you pick up your saw.

Tip #4: Save money by acclimatizing your trim material

Wood and wood products need time to adjust to the moisture levels and temperature of your home. To do this, buy your material and place it in your home at least a day or two before you plan to start your DIY door trim installation job. If you skip this process, eventually you may notice gaps or buckling in your door trim, where the material expands and contracts due to your home’s interior environmental conditions.

Tip #5: Save time by keeping your tools close

While this sounds like an obvious tip, this simple trick can be often overlooked by DIYers. Wherever possible, set up your miter saw in the same room where you are installing your trim. If possible, try to set up or stage your tools in an area that is easy to access and a short distance away from the door frame you are working on. This can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes you to complete the job.

Tip #6: Save money and borrow or rent, where possible

Remember that list of tools? Before starting the job, you’ll need to figure out what tools you have and what tools you will need. To save money, consider borrowing or renting tools that you don’t currently own. Most local hardware stores will either rent or know where you can rent tools by the hour, day or week.

Tip #7: Save money by picking the right material

Did you know there are more than a dozen door trim materials on the market? From bare wood to primed wood to MDF (medium-density fibreboard) and even a dense foam known as polystyrene, to name a few. 

To save money (and time), make sure you pick the right material for your job. For instance, if you plan to paint or stain your trim, there is no point in buying trim made from PVC. If you want to save on costs, then opt for something other than bare wood, which is typically priced at a premium.
Talk to your local hardware store specialist to get the pros and cons of each material before making a selection.

Final thoughts

Follow these tips and your DIY door trim installation will not only be a success but will transform the look and feel of your home for years to come.