Baseboards, trim, crown...MDF of primed pine?

caroline94535March 12, 2008

We're preparing to trim the three bedrooms with fluted casings and rosettes around the windows and doors, baseboards, and crown molding in each room.

This is not a high end house (by a long shot, LOL) but I want it to look nice. All the trim will be painted a cream color.

Would it be better to go with pre-primed pine stock, or pre-primed MDF stock?

Thanks for any help you can offer!

P.S. Do I put the fluted trim and rosettes on the windows only, or do they go around the interior doors also?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I vote for the MDF. I think it takes the paint better as there is no grain, like with the pine. It is also more dimensionally stable (doesn't shrink and expand as much as due to temperature and humidity changes). Pine would be a better choice for moist/wet areas like bathrooms since MDF and water don't mix well. In general, MDF is available in larger sizes, if that is a factor for you. I would put the fluted trim and rosettes around the doors also to give it a more unified look. BTW, I've seen MDF used in some fairly high end homes, If the moldings are painted, it's next to impossible to distinguish them from wood. As an aside, there are some poor quality MDF moldings out there. Make sure the profiles look clean and crisp.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 8:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Depends on the look. If you want that clean, perfect, plastic look, go mdf. If you want the look of old world and the natural graining of wood, go pine. Pine dents but mdf chips, making for harder repairs. In that respect, pine is a little better at abuse.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 10:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We used a combination of pine/MDF. We used MDF were we could, as it is quite a bit cheaper than pine. In my experience, the MDF is easier to paint and cut, and won't crack if you nail close to the edges. We wanted to recreate a more "old farmhouse" look without too much work. Our house would never have had any "fancy" woodwork to begin with.

For the pine, we used high quality, well sanded, and you can't see the grain through the paint anyway. I used a brush as I wanted the old, hand painted look.

We created "corners" also. These are sort of like the two we found in a back closet.

I think you would want to match the windows with the doors.

And in case you are wondering, the flat peices are clear pine, and the moulded peices are MDF. We used a combination of MDF and pine to build the caps. The trim was cut and painted before getting put up (after the walls were painted).

We uses 1x6 pine for the base with an MDF top. The top peice is flexible enought to conform to the variations in the wall, so helps to minimize those rather large gaps that can happen when using thicker base boards. Or you can use a lot of caulk and repaint (done that too).

BTW- the actual window will get primed and painted once the weather is warm enough to have the windows open all day.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 2:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

MDF is cheap and looks nice painted. It is also considered a 'green' product since it is waste material from other processes.

Poplar is a better choice than pine for about the same money. Very little grain shows thru poplar.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 12:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One issue with MDF crown molding is that it's less rigid then pine and needs more support to hold it up and secure. Small intermediate,"T" bars can hold it in place until it's nailed.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 3:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We used MDF and PVC to make the trim shown below, and we have been very happy with it (over 2 years now...)

Here is a link that might be useful: Greengate Ranch Remodel

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 10:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just curious, when I have priced poplar versus pine poplar is about twice the price. Where do you get it?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 11:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Decker, In our area, the evil orange is the only game in our small town as they drove everyone away. Poplar is actually less than a closed grain clear pine. Poplar accepts and finishes nicer when painting than even clear pine,imo. Clear pine looks nicer stained. Poplar doesn't accept stains well,imo. The quality of the species is questionable at h.d here as well, but any wood type is hard to keep decent here in the desert.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 10:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Check the local hardwood shops - poplar is priced to move. Poplar is easy to work with - stays very straight - and doesn't split when nailed. It should be used for painted surfaces - not stained. The color goes from green to white so it looks a little odd stained light colors and tends to look a little fuzzy. Paints up nice. I believe it is a fast growth tree which is why you get a nice piece of wood at a reasonable price.

Clear pine can get pricey - priced similar to oak.

The preprimed stuff they sell as pine is usually some sort of fir tree that looks like pine. I doubt anyone ever notices.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 11:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For crown you might consider poly urethane molding for about 1/4 wood unless you touch it one ant tell the difference. Its glued up instead of nailed. You can also get Decorative Ornate Molding that would cost a fortune in wood for 1-2 per foot. Here is one of many sites and even home depot sells it. You can get it primed or not.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 8:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Very nice trim job. I've never seen inside corners like those. Was there an effort to match them on outside corners?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 10:25AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Learning to read plans and drawings
We are embarking on the design phase for a remodel...
Susan Taylor Brown
Getting ready to remodel the second floor, where to start?
We are beginning to interview contractors. Would like...
prairiemoon2 z6 MA
Acting As My Own GC, Missing One Peice of the Puzzle
I am doing a kitchen renovation. I won't be moving...
"Green" Remodeling - where to start?
We would like to remodel using materials and processes...
prairiemoon2 z6 MA
Do I match exterior door/window hardware to interior?
We will have white interior doors with oil rubbed bronze...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™