By Gene and Katie Hamilton
One of the most attractive features of a room is the woodwork and trim that outline the doors and windows creating a defining line at the ceiling and floor and on the walls. With its rich traditional appeal, oak is a popular choice because it can be finished natural or in a variety of handsome shades of stain.
A carpenter will charge $1,063 to trim out a 14-by-20-foot bedroom using white oak. This includes an entry door, a 4-foot-wide sliding closet door, two windows with 3-1/2-inch casings, 2-1/2-inch baseboard and 3-inch ceiling molding. A homeowner with carpentry or woodworking experience can do the job for $540, the cost of the material, saving more than 49 percent. The high cost of material and experience level of a homeowner is the decision point of this project because a few miscuts will cost, not save an amateur money, an example of what we call the DIY Damage Factor.
Whenever you’re working with expensive material like oak woodwork trim, follow the advice of age-old craftsman: measure twice, cut once. For a fine finish that’s not blotchy, use a wood conditioner on bare wood before finishing it with a stain. Just wipe on the conditioner to prevent the stain from soaking in the ends of the wood which makes them darker then the flat surface. And don’t forget that it’s a lot easier to apply the conditioner and stain to trim before installing it so you don’t have to worry about getting stain on the walls.
You'll need a well-stocked carpentry workbench and supplies. A power miter saw will definitely make the job go faster and help guarantee more accurate cuts and miter joints. (If you need a rationale to invest in a miter saw, this is it.)
Wannabe woodworkers might want to first tackle this project using pine, a less expensive and more forgiving material before investing in the more expensive oak.
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Read Tom Builds Stuff blog about Easy Way to Trim a Door.
That sums it up. Knowing the average cost to install oak trim lets you compare doing it yourself with what you can expect to pay a contractor. To customize the cost to where you live add your ZIP Code in the cost box.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020