The casing is the decorative trim, or molding, that gets installed around your interior doors and windows.
The baseboard is the molding that follows the base of the wall along the floor line.
If necessary, a shoe-molding, or quarter-round molding, is the small piece of trim that gets installed along the bottom of the baseboard, again, following the floor line.
Next, there are two general rules or essential practices to properly choosing these moldings.
One— the casing must always be thicker than the baseboard.
And two— the baseboard must always be wider than the casing.
Keep these two points in mind and you’ll never get yourself into a décor doo-doo.
Now, before going any further, how important, or how integral a decision, is the choice of a casing and baseboard to the overall functioning, well-being, and operational effectiveness of the home?
However, the thing about casings and baseboard moldings is that they’re the type of home appendage that could be diminutive in size, and as a result go totally unnoticed in a home’s décor scheme, or, be a little more substantial, and have a very positive effect on the overall look of the home.
Value-wise, casings and baseboards deliver a better return on investment with every penny spent.
Comparatively, if we look at hardwood flooring, a homeowner might question whether spending $3-$4 more per square foot on an imported Brazilian mahogany flooring, rather than choosing a domestic hickory or oak floor of equal thickness and width, is really worth it. Because the extra costs of the imported wood are somewhat related to the fact it came from a protected forest, requiring the pay-off of local warlords, transport by elephant through mountainous terrain, followed by a coal-fueled barge chugging along the Atlantic Ocean. One might question the value of such an investment, and, whether paying almost twice the price for such a product provides you with that much better of a floor.
On the other hand, MDF (medium-density fibreboard), the product of choice in the molding biz, is basically purchased by the pound.
So, a casing molding that’s five-eighths-inch x 2.75 inches in thickness and width, costs about 59 cents a linear foot, whereby a three-quarter x 3.5-inch casing, being about 50 per cent heavier, retails for about 99 cents per linear foot. What this means is that you’re getting exactly what you pay for, which is the best value a homeowner can expect.
Step one— choose a molding profile, or molding series. Generally speaking, there are four styles, including Victorian, colonial, modern, and contemporary, which tend to follow the four most-common types of home décor.
Essentially, the Victorian moldings have the most going on regarding the amount of curves, bumps, and lines, with those features diminishing in the colonial series, and even less in the modern, basically ending up with what amounts to a smooth, square-edged trim in the contemporary lines.
Whatever the style, casings and baseboards generally come in sets, whereby a chosen casing should have one or two possible base choices.
Choose the casing first. Because the casing is what you see the most of, you have to like it best. Plus, the available spacing around each door frame will certainly guide you in your choice of casing. That’s why it’s really important for new home builders to verify the wall spacing while the home is being framed.
In most cases, interior doors that get framed too close to an adjoining wall, can simply be shifted a few inches towards the centre of the wall with the removal of a few 2×4’s.
Creating the necessary room for a very much in style 3.5-inch to four-inch casing is best done in these early stages, as opposed to you drawing the ire of your contractor once the area has been wired and drywalled.
Regardless, it’s never too late to make room for a larger casing— all it costs is money.