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How to Estimate Trim Carpentry

J. Cavan Barry

Trim carpentry work is small but can often make a large difference to the feel and appearance of a room. This trim applies to the baseboard applied to the floor, the crown molding applied to the ceiling and the trim that wraps around the doors and windows like decorative framework.

The amount of trim work will vary from house to house and therefore will also vary in cost. Properly estimating trim cost and amount is a fairly simple task (compared to other estimation types) and can be completed by just about anyone with a tape measure.

  1. Measure the total length (in linear feet) of the joints between the floor and wall throughout the house in areas to receive baseboard. It may be easier to break this up by doing one room at a time and adding up the total length later.

  2. Multiply the total length of floor joint (found in Step 1) by 2 to find the length of crown molding for the wall to ceiling joint (disregard this step if crown molding is not being installed).

  3. Measure the perimeter of all wall openings (doors and windows) to calculate any trim that is to wrap these openings. Add these measurements together to find the total amount of door and window trim (in linear feet).

  4. Call your local lumber supplier to quote the unit cost of baseboard, trim and crown molding you are going to use (these will be at a per foot unit cost).

  5. Multiply the amount of materials needed calculated in Steps 1 through 3 by their quoted unit costs found in Step 4, then add to find the total cost of materials.

  6. Tip

    Adding 10 percent to the amount of materials before calculating the price will account for any wasted material during the construction process. If you do not already own the proper tools for this installation, you may need to add any equipment rental or purchase costs.