French Door Makeover | Part Two – DIY Door Casing

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I finished updating my french doors that lead from my living room to our home office. This post is how to remove and update builder grade door casing to farmhouse/craftsman style DIY Door Casing. If you are looking for the tutorial on how to spray paint interior doors, go to this post.  After updating all of the window trim in my house, I’ve decided that it’s time to move on to the door casings. If you haven’t been to my blog before, I’ve been working on updating my builder grade home one project at a time.

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REMOVE THE OLD TRIM

The first step in this process is to score all along the edge of the old trim with a utility knife. You can find my favorite one here. I have used this knife to remove window sills, linoleum, and door trim. The comfortable grip, durability, and blade storage make it a great tool.

Next, I always insert a thin putty knife all around the scored line to make sure the caulking is fully cut and begin loosening the old trim. If you don’t do this step, the paint on the wall may tear and you will have to repair it.

Finally, I use a small pry bar to fully remove the trim. I usually place the pry bar on the putty knife to protect the dry wall from damage. Then I go back and remove any leftover nails with a hammer. If you have a stubborn nail you can hammer it in. For safety, wear gloves and eye protection. I also always remove nails from the old trim before I discard it. If you plan to reuse the old trim, pull the nails through the back of the board with pliers, so you don’t damage the surface of the molding.

LIST OF SUPPLIES

I ordered all of my materials from Home Depot except for the plinth blocks at the base of the side casings. I ordered the plinth blocks from Lowe’s because they had one that was a little wider than the door casings. For your convenience, I’ve provided a list of the materials with links. I did not include the quantities because this will change based on your project (the size of your doors and the number of doors you will be doing). I decided to use MDF this time, because it is very uniform, smooth (doesn’t require sanding or priming), and it is durable.

MEASURE, CUT, AND INSTALL

Begin by measuring from the floor to 1/4″ above the top of the door. You need to leave a 1/4″ reveal along the perimeter of the inside of the door casing. Subtract 6″ for your plinth block. This leaves you with the length of your side casings. Line up the plinth block flush with the inside of the door jamb. Using a brad nailer, install the plinth block. I use this brad nailer with these 2″ nails. You may need to cut your baseboard back a little with an oscillating tool if the plinth block is larger than your old door casing. Install your side casings on the top center of the plinth blocks. This will leave 1/4″ reveal on the inside edge of the side casings.

Measure from the the outer edge of the top of one side casing to the outer top edge of the other side casing. This is the measurement for your header board (1 X 6). Cut and install your header board. Next, cut your top cap board (1 X 2), two inches longer than your header board. This leaves a 1″ overhang for each side. Run a bead of wood glue along the top edge of the 1X6 and install your 1X2 on top with 2″ brad nails.

Cut your half round on a 45 degree angle. Cut your cove molding like you would cut crown molding. Just pick one side to be the top. This Old House has a good video for cutting crown molding. You can also refer to this post if you need help cutting 45 degree angles with returns. Scroll down to the crown molding and half round molding section of the post.

FILL NAIL HOLES & CAULK

  1. Use wood filler to fill all nail holes.
  2. Wipe all the boards down.
  3. Caulk all gaps.

PAINT

  1. Using a Paint and Primer in one, apply two coats of paint.  I used Behr, Snowy Pine. 
  2. If you do not have a steady hand, you may want to use masking tape where the casings meet the wall.  Tip: I always paint over the caulk to prevent it from yellowing and gathering dust.
  3. A good paint brush makes the job easier.  I use Purdy brushes.

Here is the before and after picture of my DIY Door Casing.

SAVE IT FOR LATER

Do you like learning budget friendly ways to spruce up your home? Follow me on Pinterest, so you don’t miss a thing! Also, did you know that you can hover over any photo image, click on the red Pinterest circle, and save it to your DIY Projects board on Pinterest? Give it a try below.

I hope this DIY door casing helps you with your own project!

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