Tips for Saving Money by DIYing Trim

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Save hundreds by making your own DIY trim. Here's how to do it.

Save or Splurge?

With lumber prices still high and taking awhile to come down, you may have to cut some corners on your remodeling project. Here at the Getaway, we chose to save money by DIYing our trim.

We needed about 200 linear feet of 5-1/4-in. baseboard and 200 linear feet of 3-1/2-in. door casing. The retail cost would have been between $600 and $700. With a little bit of time and sweat equity, we made almost 500 linear feet of trim for $150.

Retail Cost

The cost of a standard 1/2-in. x 4-1/4-in. x 8-ft. piece of square baseboard trim primed from The Home Depot is $16.09 per stick, or $2.01 per linear foot. If you are trimming out a 10-ft. x 14-ft. room, you’ll need about 48 linear feet of baseboard trim, costing you about $100.

But what about the trim for the windows and door? You can find square 5/8-in. x 3-in. primed medium-density fiberboard (MDF) window and door casing from The Home Depot for $9.91 per 8-ft. board, or $1.24 a linear foot. The casing for one large double window and one door will take about 43 linear feet, costing $60 for six 8-ft. boards. The total cost to trim out one room is more than $160.

Here at the Getaway, we kept it simple and made all our trim 1/2-in. thick. With some basic DIY skills, you can make your own trim for your 10-ft. x 14-ft. room for $28 from just one 4×8 sheet of 1/2-in. MDF.

DIY Trim

Making DIY trim is easy. All you need is a circular saw, router, sawhorses, three 2x4s, and enough 4×8-ft sheets of 1/2-in. MDF to make the trim you need.

Setup

Set up two sawhorses about six feet apart and attach two 8-ft 2x4s with a one-inch gap between them as cross supports. Your circular saw will ride through that gap with each cut. Lay the third 2×4 on top of the sawhorses as a movable cross support.

Prime First

Priming the 4×8 sheet of MDF before you cut it will save you time down the road. You will simply touch up the edges of the trim after you cut the pieces.

Decorative Edge

You can easily make several trim profiles or create custom trim using a router with a bearing bit. Round-over, chamfer, and ogee are a few router bits profiles that work well for making ranch, Colonial, and Shaker style moldings.

Circular Saw Setup

Install an Adjustable Rip Fence to your circular saw and set it for the desired width of your trim.

Start Ripping

Rip your first piece of trim, then measure it to make sure it’s the correct width. Lay the cut piece on top of the sheet as a template for your next cut. Pull the sheet toward you and align your next cut mark with the one-inch gap in your supports. Remember to route the decorative edge before each cut.

Primer and Paint

Once you have all your trim cut, lay it out on cardboard or a tarp face up with the routed edges facing the same direction. Use a paint roller or paint sprayer to apply the primer and a top coat of paint.