Window Casing availability

fredsoldhouseDecember 27, 2008

Rather than scrape way too many layers of paint off of my window casing I have decided it will be easier to just replace all the trim. The existing round corner casing on the window is 4 ýâ wide but the local lumber yard only stocks 3 ýâ wide round corner casing. Does anyone know if the 4 ýâ is still available or will I be making my own?


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I don't know what a "round corner" casing is but 1x4 and 1x5 are both standard sizes for square-edge exterior window trim although sometimes one or the other is 5/4 thick (1" actual).

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 1:05AM
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Originally I thought the interior trim was regular old 1x5 with the edges rounded over. When I stopped in at the lumber yard I saw the "round corner casing" on the chart posted in the area where the trim is. ItÂs basically a board 4.5 inches wide with the edges rounded over and a wide shallow channel milled up the center of the backside. (DonÂt know the function of this, maybe keeps it straight?)
I can round the edges on my own and use regular 1 x 5 stock popular or something but the ready made stuff in a good grade sugar pine would be easier.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 9:22AM
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Any millwork shop would probably have it in poplar. The shallow recess on the back allows the trim to sit flat while covering the rough joint between the wall and the window frame.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 10:00AM
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I wondered what that recess was for. That makes perfect sense.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 10:44AM
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If you're going thru the trouble of removing all your trim, why not take it to be dip stripped. That way you'll have the original wood (chances are its something valuable like old growth pine or oak - do you know what it is?) which is always an asset, something worth preserving whenever possible. And probably much more affordable. Better and cheaper, can't beat that! Patch nailholes & dings, sand, and stain or shellac to match the original - much easier than futzing around trying to match cuts & shape of the rounding. Depending on how critical your eye is - might not look the same as original.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 11:40AM
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We did use a Dip 'n Strip company with our old painted woodwork as kashka kat mentions above. Worked great for us, then we supplemented with stock from a lumber yard that carries restoration stock as well as custom (Stark in Denver). For us, the old heart pine was worth it... but then we really only had two rooms with painted woodwork to strip and we did it piecemeal over time. It is not inexpensive but it was a good method for us. HTH.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 6:39PM
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Oh-I forgot to metion that our casings are 4.5 inches rounded over so, keep looking, I'll bet you can find it. Also, check out Vintage Woodworks website, they have lots of trim and even if you don't buy it from them, it will help you see what is likely available. We bought some tongue and groove beadboard from them and they are terrific... sell the same product in lots of different wood species too. Cheers!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 6:46PM
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By the way, it sounds like what you are describing is what is known as "sanitary moulding." Typically, one side is a straight cut, 90-degree corner and the other side is rounded. The rounded side faces towards the opening (window or doorway) and usually has a 1/8" reveal.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2008 at 12:54PM
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Thanks for the ideas. To answer a few of the questions:

I am not sure what kind of wood it is. ItÂs whatever was used in the northeast about 105 years ago. It looks like some type of pine but itÂs pretty hard. ItÂs knot free. IÂm sure itÂs not oak.

I looked up sanitary molding. Close, but thatÂs not it. I have seen some of what I need online but need a local source. I want to get the molding installed and done this weekend.

Originally the woodwork in the house was stained and varnished. Somewhere along the line all the woodwork in the house was painted white, doors windows, trim, etc. Now probably about 5-10 layers (and many years, dings and scrapes) later some of the wood is having problems. It looks as though the wood wasnÂt prepped properly before painting. Now I have cracks in many places and bubbles in some spots where paint is peeling back from varnished areas. Some rooms are OK or will be passable with yet another coat of paint. The room I am working on needs more help.

If it were just one room I would consider stripping and going back to a natural color but I donÂt want to do the whole house.

This weekend IÂll pick up some poplar, rip it down and round the edges over. On the bright side I have found a local source of architectural mouldings and I am sure I can find something to recreate the crown moulding that attaches to the top horizontal piece of window casing.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2008 at 6:48PM
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"Originally the woodwork in the house was stained and varnished."

It might be anything from Douglas Fir to Gumwood.

Any 105 year old wood will be very hard and have very tight grain.

If you pull it down and replace, at least save the pieces.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 4:44PM
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Something else to consider is that if you replace, you won't find wood anywhere near the quality of what you have today. Some species of wood are no longer available (e.g. chestnut) and old growth stuff is VERY expensive. I second what brickeye says, if you choose to replace, save the pieces for the next owner that may want to strip and re-install. Please don't toss it into the dumpster.

I'm finding in my house the 100 year old framing lumber is better quality that the "stain grade" stuff that is available today. I pulled a Doug Fir 2x4 out that had beautiful grain and was absolutely clear of knots. That went into my "keep" pile.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 6:12PM
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OK, new plan. Rather than buy wood this weekend I'll pick up some CitriStrip and try my hand at that. The window stool can't be saved, it broke when I removed it, but maybe the rest can be.I took a close look at the trim I removed and it does look like very tight grained stable wood so I'll give it a try.
This is probably opening another can of worms but anyone have recommendations on strippers? Has anyone used Citristrip. I want to avoid harsh chemicals if possible, especially when I can't be opening windows much this time of year.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 9:02PM
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Citrus Strip is horrible. It falls into the category of the harsh chemical strippers. If (and that's a big "if") I use a chemical stripper, I use one of the new environmentally friendly strippers. I prefer SoyGel but it's only available on line. I like it as it works, it cleans up with water (although I use denatured alcohol) and doesn't require a neutralizer. If you get some on your skin, no big deal.

My preferred approach is to use heat (heat gun or infrared) and then resort to chemical if needed once the bulk of the paint is removed.

If you send me an email at "DianeAye at yahoo dot com" (email address obfuscated for the bots) I will send you my paint stripping manifesto that outlines my experiences at paint stripping.

I'm on my third or fourth room in my house taking the pain off and getting back the original woodwork.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 1:27PM
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Thought I would post an update of my failed attempts. : )

I applied Soy Gel stripper to a sample piece and found that I seem to need at least three applications, maybe four, and some sanding after that.

I then tried the heat gun followed by Soy Gel and had much better results. Flat casing went pretty quickly but the detailed woodwork takes much longer. After much cursing and a sticky mess I took a good long look at the wood I am saving. It is nice, probably some type of pine / fir but ultimately not nice enough to save it. When I estimated the length of time I would need to finish even a couple of door and window casings I realized it was just too much. Buying new wood will cost a bit but time is valuable too.

I did learn from the process. If I had truly nice woodwork I wanted to save I would use the heat gun again followed by Soy Gel. I would also entertain using the silent paint stripper. If I were unsure what I had I would first finish one piece and give it a good long look before attempting a whole room.

The replacement crown molding on top of the windows will differ from the rest of the house but not so much I think anyone will notice. I will also have to round over the poplar replacement casing myself but that is still much quicker than stripping.

On the bright side I also learned that many years ago nails must have been free. However it must have been a crime to possess them so carpenters must have felt the need to hide them in the woodwork.. I was able to figure this out because whoever did the finish work in my room must have been in that situation and felt the need to put about 20 nails for each four feet of trim. I donÂt know what they thought was going to happen to those boards but they made sure they were not going to fall off.

Due to all the nails, one area did suffer some plaster damage when I was removing the trim. I see there are already postings on plaster and lathe repair. I will be reading all about that soon!


    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 7:26PM
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