You might have decided to move to a rather old house just for the sake of the irresistible classic wainscoting and fascinated trims. But then you discover that a piece of the living room chair rail is missing. How can you replace such a classic design? And this is not the only time when you might come across such problems. Trims might be damaged or missing in any home. All it takes is some moisture for panels to crack. Water damage can ruin the base. Improper chair rail installation might cause cracks. Old houses might be missing a few pieces of trims.
The good thing with older times is that everyone involved in the building business followed some classical design rules. People put all their craftsmanship to making distinguished homes of unparalleled beauty. But the good news is that today, you can find a plethora of products to match old styles and thus compensate for your loss. And that’s what you should do. AlexMoulding offered so many wainscoting patterns that can be used for any home renovation.
Let us begin by answering the fundamental question…
What is molding?
Molding refers to strips of a material (usually wood but also plaster, MDF etc.) which is used as decorative elements. Moldings include:
- Baseboards to cover the gap between the floor and the wainscoting panels.
- Base shoe trims are often rounded to cover the gap between the baseboard and floor.
- Chair rails which run over the wainscoting.
- Crown molding which seals the gap where walls and ceilings meet.
- Window and door casing acts like a frame to cover the gap between the wall and jamb.
- Cap molding covers the top part of the wainscoting.
- Picture moldings are placed high up the wall and serve to hang pictures, artwork, or clothes.
- Any decorative element – from fireplace surrounds to pediments – can be considered a trim.
- Of course, you can include flat, raised, or beadboard wainscoting panels in the list.
What to do when wainscoting panels are damaged or other trims are missing
Although some moldings, like the base, are installed to protect walls, they can get damaged themselves. Some pieces might be missing, especially in old homes. Regardless of the problem, the missing or damaged parts must be replaced. The question is how!
- The obvious thing to do is check if they still make the same wainscoting design or other trim and simply buy what you need.
- If not, ask carpenters if they can make a similar profile for you.
- Then, it depends on what’s damaged or missing. For example, if part of the dining room wainscoting chair rail is missing, you can simply replace the entire molding in this room.
- If the missing piece is too special but the whole house is decorated with similar trims, you have one more solution. You can remove the molding from the basement, the spare room, or another part of the house that is not visited often and install it in your dining room.
What to beware of when replacing moldings
Although you can find modern wainscoting and other trims similar to the ones damaged, always check their size – including thickness. If you get a thicker baseboard, it will stick out and be an obstruction to both feet and furniture. Thicker or slimmer ceiling moldings will stand out. You get the picture!
Make sure the new molding is colored the same as the existing trims. Or it will stand out.
Pay attention to the corners, especially if you need to remove trims to install new ones. It needs more attention if the house and thus the trims are very old. The design of the existing trims might be unique. But it’s wise to check the reasons for the problem. For example, if there has been a leaking problem, more parts might be damaged but not detected yet. It’s important for moldings to be in good condition. Old ones are most likely made of wood and thus susceptible to water. In such cases, it’s best to replace them all.
If moldings were damaged due to water, make sure the problem is fixed before you install new ones. Or you might have similar trouble in the future.
If the design of the flat wainscoting or door casing is not nice, don’t think twice. Instead of replacing a missing part, replace the whole thing. If you are lucky enough to find the same trim replacement and the design is really unique, get some extra in case you discover more pieces missing.There are solutions to trim problems. And even if you don’t get a perfect match, nobody would ever be able to tell the difference, especially if you paint it the same color.