Recreating Historic Mouldings

As we make changes in our house, we often have to repair or replace the existing wood trim. Even though it costs us more to have to replace things, I secretly love it because it gives us the opportunity to add more charm to our house. When we took a gross, leaky AC unit out of our upstairs bedroom window, we could see the trim was in bad shape. Water from the unit had leaked on it causing stains and rot. It was a major eyesore and I was embarrassed when people would see the plain, cheap-looking, brown-streaked casing. It was a dead giveaway that nothing on our second floor is original to the house. Our house was built in the 1930’s and the baseboards and moulding in that room looked like something out of an early 2000’s dorm room.

To keep things simple, we decided to leave in place everything that was affecting the function of the window. I used a hammer and a pry bar to remove the parts on the interior face of the wall and the window sill. I didn’t even remove the blinds for most of this process.

In order to keep the cost down, we planned our project around using stock lumber wherever possible. Originally, we had planned to use all new wood to recreate the old casings, but I happened to stumble upon an old piece of the moulding from a window we had removed a year ago! I found the fillet, top casing, and crown from an old window completely intact which was awesome since these are the most complex parts of the window casing. I’m not a fan of removing original architectural elements from a home, but this window couldn’t stay. It was once on an exterior wall, but a previous addition caused this window to look from the kitchen into a bedroom—awkward. If you take quality materials out of your home, hang on to them for future projects. We fortunately have a big garage that we can store things like this in and we hope to put our old window to use some day. For now, finding that trim piece in perfect condition was a major time and money saver. All we had to do was trim it down to fit the window.

If I hadn’t found that part of the window already made, we would have had to make it ourselves out of some scrap wood or unfinished crown moulding from Lowe’s or Home Depot. For the side casings, sill, and apron I got some stock lumber that was already the right width. Daniel trimmed everything to the right length and used a jigsaw to cut the sill so it would slide in under the side casings. He used a nail gun to tack everything to the wall and then covered all the nail holes with wood filler. I sanded everything and made sure to rough up the finish on the old trim we salvaged. Then I wiped everything off with a damp paper towel and caulked all the gaps. I used primer on everything and put two coats on the part with the dark finish. After a couple coats of white paint it looked so fresh and so clean!

This project cost us less than 40 bucks and a few hours of labor and shopping! Even if we had to recreate the crown ourselves it would have only added a couple of miter cuts. If you have some windows that are less than impressive, this is a great weekend project that makes a world of difference.

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