Emerald Hills, Window Casing, Jambs, Sills, Heads, November, 2018

I would say molding is number 5 on the list, in terms of cost-for-value whole-home improvements, behind perhaps 1) landscaping/yard, 2) interior paint, 3) exterior paint, and 4) flooring.

Doors and lighting come next to round out 6 and 7 – in our opinion. Then you get into your common wisdom of kitchens, decks, bathrooms, etc., for adding value. They add considerable value, as a dollar value, but not as much, as a multiplier of what they cost. They might add, in value, 200% to 300% what they cost. And sometimes not even that (with General Contractors charging what they do!).

Molding might cost $5,000 and add $30,000 to a home’s appraisal value. That’s a 600% return. A¬†green yard (vs. a blast zone of either dirt or dead grass) with an irrigation system might cost $6,000 and add $60,000, in terms of real appraisal value based on curb appeal.

That’s a 1,000% return. A kitchen or bathroom can’t do that.

But I digress – back to molding and finish carpentry. Finish work – including build-ins, battens, coffers, wainscots, chair rail, picture rail, crown and floor molding – gets paint to *pop* and suggests attention to detail and conveys that this is the dwelling of a more discriminating or refined inhabitant. It *feels* nice to live in a crafted environment, among details.

This was a hillside home in the SF Peninsula, appraised at $1.5M, but which still lacked touches you’d expect from a home with this pricetag.

We cased or framed (installed molding), and heads, jambs, and sills, around 15 windows.

The work included the demo of the existing sill and apron (single piece of trim under the sill), leveling/shimming/squaring, and installing The Molding Company 3.5″ x 7/16″ solid wood inset, and casing molding for the exterior. This is a common molding style (3.5″ width). We advised against Medium Density Fiberboard, Polystyrene, Vinyl or Polyurethane. We *always* recommend against these for a few reasons.

  1. They don’t miter as cleanly.
  2. They look too perfect, and suggest fakeness.
  3. Foam-core don’t handle brads and don’t stay up well.

We have had occasion to have to glue molding to concrete walls. That’s about the only time we’d go phony with trim. For cost reasons, we’ve had to substitute plywood – perfectly cut – for solid wood coffers, but we didn’t like it. And there was a lot of puttying and sanding afterward. Better to just go with Nature and select natural materials. It is, after all, a home. Not a space ship. Also – appraisers know. A bunch of laminate and fake stuff will reduce the value of your home, even if it’s subliminal. Otherwise, manufactured housing would be all the rage.

It is not.

These were painted with an oil-based true white gloss paint. They looked nice against these textured walls.