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  • Writer's pictureKiersten

Basement Trim and Doors Installed - A Partially Hired, Partially DIYd Job

After we got the ceiling and walls painted, the next step in our basement reno was to install the doors and trim. While we've been blessed by being able to take advantage of the handy carpentry work from my uncle for a lot of our reno, this was a pretty huge job so we decided to hire out the installation of the trim and doors. To save money, we did a lot of the prep and finish work ourselves, just hiring the installation.

Material Prep

In the flood clean out, we saved the original doors, even though all of the floor and door trim was pulled out. Ultimately we ended up deciding to replace those with pre-hung primed doors that made installation a little smoother. With that, we modernized the door style going from a 6 panel traditional door to a 2 panel door. We also purchased primed white trim for floors and door casings to make painting easier. For the door trim, we chose a molding style that matched

stack of doors and trim in garage

Painting the Trim Before Installation

Since we already painted the walls, we decided to pre-paint the trim before they installed it. This would allow us to paint faster, and simply do any touch-ups needed after. The trim was dropped off on a Thursday and they were coming to start installing that Monday, so we had to HAUL! We decided to paint them in the garage so we could spread everything out, paint as much as possible and let them dry overnight. Started by placing a few 2x4s to get the trim off the ground, then decided we better add drop cloths to catch drips.

kiersten painting trim in garage

Zach and I each got our own paint can (we're using what we have upstairs - Sherwin Williams White Flour Interior Enamel in Semigloss), brush and foam roller and we cranked out the first coat of everything Thursday night.

zach painting trim in garage

Using a brush to paint on the paint, and then rolling over that with the foam roller right away helps to pick up the brush marks and gives a nice smooth finish. Trying to achieve as close to a sprayed on look as possible, but without the mess of the spray.

trim pieces painted in the garage

Shockingly we were able to fit ALL the trim in the garage and get the first coat done in night one, and hit it with a second coat night two. That allowed us to let them sit over the whole weekend to properly dry and cure before installation.

kiersten zach and painted trim in the garage

Installing the Trim and Doors

After obtaining 5 quotes from different builders and carpenters, we hired Reese Builders to do the install work. Their carpenter was great - worked fast and clean. Brought his own "shop" to set up in the driveway for cutting things down to size.

carpenter cutting trim

He started by installing all doors - which he got done on day one. We had one door arrive in the wrong size, but it was luckily a closet door for the storeroom so we could keep the main project running on schedule. This was critical because I had lined up flooring to happen immediately following the trim installation.

installing doors

After the doors themselves, he moved on to installing trim around the doors.

installing doors and trim

Then floor boards. He wrapped up the job by installing the hardware for us on the doors - which we could reuse from the original! We'll take any savings we can!!

living room with trim installed

Clean-up and Caulking

With the trim and doors installed, things were starting to look ALMOST finished. To finish the job before flooring goes in, we had to fill in and patch nail holes and caulk around all the edges to give the painted trim a truly finished look against the walls.

hallway with trim installed

To patch and cancel the nail holes in the trim, Zach used this all purpose wood filler in white.

wood filler to fill nail holes

Very easy to use! Just rub it in and you're good to go.

filling nail holes

While he worked on the nail holes, I worked on caulking all of the edges along the wall. This was quick and easy on the white walls where the caulk blended in great to the walls. On our black painted room, this was a little trickier and I had to follow the caulk line with a damp cloth to clean up any of the excess.

caulking the trim

All Trimmed and Ready for Flooring!

After all the caulking, we wrapped up the trim work by touching up any areas that needed some obvious additional paint - which wasn't much at all.

living room stair case with trim installed

It really started looking good at this point!

play  room with trim installed

The white trim against the black walls is a fun pop in the workout room. We will be painting these doors eventually, but working on getting the space useable first.

black wall workout room with trim installed

Bathroom was trimmed too... but we realized we actually shouldn't have trimmed this out until we placed the vanity. So, we've got a little more to do here once the floor goes in.

bathroom with trim installed

Next up? Flooring! Let's go!


Need a trim fix? Here's what we used:

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we're kiersten and zach

Follow along with us each week as we work to make the very 2000s home we bought during the middle of a pandemic more “us.” We’ll share everything from quick fixes to more permanent changes, along with projects you can do in your own home. Zach will also share all his lawn and garden advice as he starts over on the yard.


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