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post #1 of 11 Old 07-13-2010, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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New Home Trim

We are in the process of picking out trim and baseboard. We are doing a very simply trim and baseboard (Craftsman style). Originally, I had planned to go with Pine o Poplar. It will be painted. However, MDF seems to be the buzz and is a lot cheaper. I'm looking for advice and opinions on what to do. I must say, I love the idea of having real wood even if it's painted. We plan to be in the house for a long time and we are attempting to replicate a old home. I welcome all advice.
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-13-2010, 12:23 PM
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IMO if you like the idea of having real wood underneath the paint and cost isn't a big issue, than go with wood. I've trimmed many homes the last number of years with MDF, sometimes it's the builders choice so that he can make a hefty profit off the home buyer, or if working for a homeowner, they swallow their pride when they see the cost difference and go with the MDF. These days they make almost every profile out of MDF and I personally think the stuff is fine in most applications. Keep in mind a few things, I don't recommend it on outside corners at floor level especially in high traffic areas. When it gets damaged it fuzzes up and can be repaired, but is IMO not as durable and wear resistant as wood.

Some MDF is water resistant. Occasionally I will make low cost paint grade cabinets for pantries, laundry rooms etc. out of Ultralite MDF. I buy this in 4x8 sheets and it is generally much lighter to handle than the stuff you can buy at the homecenters. (It's heavy.) The reason I mention the sheets is because you said you are considering craftsman style trim. We've ripped square stock out of full sheets many times for that style window/door casings and 1x6x16' MDF is also available for baseboard.

Do I prefer it over wood? Not a chance. I have however learned to accept it's place in the construction industry, and realize that in these economic times it is possible to use this material in some applications so as to keep the workflow coming. One of the biggest cons I've found is priming the newly milled edges. The stuff is like a sponge, and takes a heavy duty layer of primer before you get a good painting surface. I have had luck spraying the edges with sanding sealer first to firm up the fibers.

Welcome and Good luck

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post #3 of 11 Old 07-13-2010, 01:38 PM
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I just recently did this same thing (and in Craftsman style no less!).
We ended up doing a mix of MDF and hardwood.

We used hardwoods in areas where water, or moisture & wear would be an issue. For example, the baseboards in the bathrooms, and the laundry room, are all hardwood, as are the window sills. We also used hardwood in areas that take a beating, like the risers & skirt boards on the stairs.

MDF isn't the best where it can get wet, but all hardwoods can get expensive fast. So this mix worked out well for us. We painted all the millwork, so the hardwoods were of affordable variety (poplar).

In areas where moisture isn't an issue, MDF works just fine. Once it's on, and painted, no one knows what it is anyway.
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-13-2010, 03:14 PM
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Doing a mix as suggested and for the reasons suggested is a way to go. A consideration for your choice is what's available. If you need a moulding because of it's length, that may make the decision for you. If you have to scarf joint moulding, do it in the least conspicuous place, as to the visual aspect. That joint should be on a run of continuous straight with substantial backing to get both sections secured properly.






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post #5 of 11 Old 07-15-2010, 08:43 PM
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If cost was not a factor then ID choose poplar out of the 3 you mentioned. It paints well and is the most durable.
The pine is a close second.
The MDF is ok to use, but as mentioned will swell if exposed to moisture. And will probably get damaged if used for baseboards. And it doesn't hold as well as solid wood.
Getting preprimed will save you a step.

"My greatest creation wasn't made with my hands,
but my heart goes into everything I do." Craftsman Jay
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-26-2010, 06:05 AM
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I wonder why this site is so popular with SPAMERS. I virtually never see spam on the other forums that I regularity attend.

G
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-26-2010, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
I wonder why this site is so popular with SPAMERS. I virtually never see spam on the other forums that I regularity attend.

G

What about this thread brought that on?






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post #8 of 11 Old 08-26-2010, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
I wonder why this site is so popular with SPAMERS. I virtually never see spam on the other forums that I regularity attend.

G

Huh???
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-26-2010, 11:15 AM
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One frequently used option is to do your public rooms in quality moldings and use the inexpensive stuff in the bedrooms and closets.
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-26-2010, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post
What about this thread brought that on?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stick View Post
Huh???
The site has been doing some maintenance lately and a few posts have been getting crossed up in the universe worm-hole space time continuim.
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post #11 of 11 Old 08-26-2010, 11:56 AM
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If what craftsman style I would go with real wood. MDF was introduced in The 1960's and the craftsman style began in the late 1890's to early 1910's. Gustav Stickley is note to be the father of American Craftsman design.
("There are elements of intrinsic beauty in the simplification of a house built on the log cabin idea. First, there is the bare beauty of the logs themselves with their long lines and firm curves. Then there is the open charm felt of the structural features which are not hidden under plaster and ornament, but are clearly revealed, a charm felt in Japanese architecture....The quiet rhythmic monotone of the wall of logs fills one with the rustic peace of a secluded nook in the woods." -- Gustav Stickley)

Edwin Patrick
Woodworker--Not Lost Woodworking
"Finding Beauty One Piece at a Time."
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