Category Habitat for Humanity International

Install the baseboard trim

Before installing baseboards, use a putty knife first to clean any excess joint compound from the corners. Then clearly mark (or re-mark) the location of the studs on the floor. If the gap between the bottom edge of the drywall and the floor is greater than 1 in., take the time to fill it with strips of ^-in.-thick OSB or plywood. Otherwise, the bottom part of the trim can easily be canted inward during installation. If you 11 be nailing the baseboard by hand, protect your knees with a pair of kneepads.

Right-handed people generally prefer to install baseboard counterclockwise (right to left), starting at a door. This makes it easier for righties to cut a coped joint. Lefties tend to install baseboard clockwise for the same rea­son. Set baseboard right on vinyl or wood flooring, but hold it up about Zi in. if you plan to install carpeting later so that you can slip the carpet under it. When working in rooms that will later be carpeted, use small blocks of OSB as temporary supports under baseboards as you nail them to the wall.

To get my trim skills up to speed, I like to start running baseboard in a closet. Try mak­ing a rough plan of each room on scrap paper and record the measured length of each wall. Drywall is often left a bit rough near the floor line, so its hard to measure accurately at that point. Hold the tape off the floor a couple of inches to get a more accurate measurement. This will save you time walking back and forth to the chopsaw with a new measurement each time you want to make a cut.

The first piece right inside the door is measured to length from the door casing to the wall and cut square on each end. Often, that piece is quite short (2 in. or so). If it fits snugly in place, you may not need to nail it. Instead, spread some glue on the back and just press it into position. The next piece of trim will hold the short one until the glue sets. Use 6d finishing nails for lA-in.-thick trim and 8d nails for %-in.-thick trim. Space the nails about 16 in. apart, and drive them into either the bottom plate or the studs. Driving each nail should pull the trim tightly against the wall.

Подпись: Helping HandПодпись: Take the saw to the work. If you have a chopsaw that's compact and light enough to carry, move it into the room where you're installing trim. This can save you time and energy when making the many required cuts.Install the baseboard trimInstall the baseboard trimПодпись: INSIDE BASEBOARD CORNERS ARE COPED. The coped cut fits the profile of the trim piece that runs into the corner. [Photo * The Taunton Press, Inc.]The second piece of baseboard is coped to fit against the first piece and cut square to butt against the next wall. On the end that will mate with the short piece of baseboard, cut a 45-degree miter that is long on the back (so you can see the cut surface). Now use a coping saw to cut the outline of the profile left in the exposed end grain (see the sidebar on the facing page). The cope-cut end will fit snugly against the first piece of baseboard (see the photo below).

As an alternative to making coped cuts for inside corners, some builders install manufac­tured corner blocks, which are available in several styles. Each block is simply glued to an inside corner; baseboard trim can then be cut square to butt against an edge of the corner block. A similar type of block is available to fit on outside corners that are covered with a rounded drywall bead rather than with a square one.

MARK THE BASEBOARD AT OUTSIDE CORNERS AND ON LONG WALLS. I prefer marking trim for outside corners in place rather than deter­mining the length with a measuring tape. Position a piece of trim along the wall. Make a mark where the top of the trim meets the corner. The cut will be the short point of the 45-degree miter. The two mitered pieces of baseboard meet at a corner and make a 90-degree angle (see the photo above).

If an outside corner is not square, adjust the cut to make the miters fit (see the sidebar on the facing page). A bit of glue on the cor­ner will help hold the joint secure. Drive a 4d nail through the face of one baseboard and into the end of the other to help hold the miter firmly together. Predrill the nail hole so you don’t split the wood.

To cover a long wall, join two pieces of baseboard with a 45-degree scarf joint. It’s best to break the joint over a stud. Cut the first piece of trim, and install it with the long point of the miter at the back of the material. The second piece is cut with the long point of the miter at the front of the material. The second miter laps over the first to make a tight joint.

The last piece of baseboard in a room should have a coped joint on one end. The other end will have a square cut that butts into the door casing.


OUTSIDE CORNERS ARE MITERED. Two pieces of baseboard cut at 45-degree angles should meet to form a neat, tight 90-degree corner.




Подпись: FITTING BASEBOARD AT CORNERS A 45-degree cut on each piece of baseboard and shoe should make for a neat fit at a 90-degree outside corner. Подпись: Remove the Cutting a coped joint outline of the miter with the coping saw. Back-cut slightly. Подпись: 45-degreeПодпись: angle Miter /Techniaues CUTTING A COPED JOINTПодпись:Подпись: sawПодпись: Inside cornerПодпись: A coped joint makes a trim fit on an inside corner.Techniaues CUTTING A COPED JOINT

has a rectangular profile, butt one board into another at an inside corner. For baseboard trim that has a shaped profile, it’s customary to make inside corners using coped joints. Coped joints can also be used on inside corners when installing chair rail, base shoe trim, and crown molding.

Start by setting a piece of trim upright in the chopsaw and make a 45-degree cut so you can see the face grain of the wood. The long point of the miter cut is toward the back of the material. Then, using a coping saw (or a small jigsaw) fitted with a fine-tooth blade, carefully cut along the outline of the exposed end grain. Tip the saw back a few degrees to give the wood a slight back-cut. This will allow the leading edge of the coped cut to fit tightly against the previously installed baseboard, creating a tight-fitting joint. Use scraps of trim to practice cutting coped joints until you can do them perfectly.

makes it harder for dust to collect on the top. Baseboards still cover the joint between the drywall and the floor and keep the wall from getting banged by a vacuum cleaner. Order long stock from the supplier so you can elimi­nate joints on most walls.

STEPS Install the Countertops

Many types of countertops are available these days, but the most common type of affordable countertop is plastic laminate applied over particleboard or MDE Laminate countertops come in many colors and styles. Remember that if you choose this type of countertop, scratches show up more on dark surfaces than on lighter ones. Also, be aware that very hot pans can leave burn marks on laminate countertops. Sometimes, a countertop is also needed in a bathroom, but often the bath vanity comes with a countertop and a sink already attached. A plumber usually installs that type of cabinet.

A countertop ends where it meets a wall or stove and extends 1 in. or so beyond the end of the last cabinet. When I’m ready to install a countertop, I go to a supplier, pick a color, and give the clerk the exact measurements of the base cabinets. I prefer the style of laminate countertop that comes with a backsplash. If you provide the size and location of the sink, the supplier can cut the hole for it, often at no additional cost (see the photo on the facing page). Otherwise, a hole can be cut on the job site with a jigsaw or a reciprocating saw
(sabersaw) equipped with a fine-tooth blade. Just follow the directions that come with the sink. Put some duct tape on the base of the saw to keep it from scratching the laminate surface.

In many Habitat houses, the kitchen layout provides for straight countertop surfaces rather than L-shaped countertops, which are more difficult to install. If you need an L-shaped countertop, the supplier will make the necessary miter cuts and provide special hardware for joining countertop sections from underneath. Before joining mitered sections, put waterproof silicone caulk on the two mat­ing edges.

Test-fit each countertop section, placing it on top of the base cabinets and seeing whether the unit fits properly. If the back – splash doesn’t fit tightly against the wall, fill small gaps with silicone caulk after attaching the countertop. If necessary, especially on a crooked or wavy wall, scribe a line on the backsplash and then use a belt sander to remove material from the backsplash to make it fit against the wall.


Usually, base cabinets are built so the top can be screwed directly to them. For some cabinet and countertop combinations, though, a sup­plier may advise you to put strips of lx mate­rial on top of the base cabinets so the counter – top nosing won’t prevent cabinet doors and drawers from opening.

Подпись: CHECK THE MANUFACTURER'S PLANS FOR THE SINK CUTOUT. The dimensions and cutting details for this hole should come with the sink you plan to install. If your countertop supplier can't make the cutout, do it yourself with a jigsaw equipped with a fine cutting blade. [Photo ® Larry Haun.] STEPS Install the CountertopsPrefinished countertops must be attached with screws from below. Attach the countertop by driving l%-in.-long screws up through the lx mounting blocks installed by the cabinet manufacturer (see the illustration at right). Predrill a screw hole through the mounting blocks, but be very careful not to drill or drive the screws so deeply that you break through the finish surface. It’s easy to strip a screw

driven in a countertops particleboard or MDF substrate, so don’t try to drive installation screws extra tight. Complete the job by run­ning a neat bead of silicone caulk between the backsplash and the wall.

STEP 6 Install the Baseboard and Chair Rail

The old house I grew up in had full 1×12 base­boards. In our part of the country, they were called mopboards. In those days, people used big mops to clean their floors with soap and water. The baseboard not only covered the
joint between the plaster and the floor but also protected the walls from being banged by the mop.

Today, baseboard trim is made from real or manufactured wood, and there are many styles available. In the last Habitat house we built here on the coast, we used 1×4 base­boards made of preprimed MDF. Once it was installed and painted, it looked great, but it was so solid that you could hardly drive a nail through it by hand.

In other houses, we have used З-in.-wide trim that’s about % in. thick at the bottom and slopes up to a slender top edge. The thin edge

Install the base cabinets in kitchens and baths

Cabinet installation details are the same, whether you’re working in the kitchen, the bathroom, or any room. Some people prefer to install wall cabinets first so they won’t have to reach over the base cabinets. Perhaps
because 1 am tall, I generally install base cabi­nets first. Either way, it’s best to begin in a corner. Corner cabinets tend to be large and are trickier to install because they have to fit against two wall surfaces. But once you get a corner cabinet installed plumb and level, you’ll have an easier time with the rest of the job.

PLANNING AND PREPARATION ARE IMPOR­TANT. Before you screw any cabinets to the wall, it’s a good idea to line them up and see whether they will fit into the allotted space.

It’s not unheard of for one or more cabinets to be manufactured in the wrong size, so this test-fitting exercise is important. At this stage, and during the installation process, it’s impor­tant to allow adequate clearances between cabinets for the major appliances. For exam­ple, you should leave between 30% in. and 30% in. of space between base cabinets to fit a standard 30-in.-wide range or stove. Your final prep step is to label all cabinet doors and drawers, then remove them until you’ve fin – ished the installation process.

START WITH A LEVEL LINE. Begin the installa­tion process by marking a level line on the wall, where the top edges of your base cabinets will fit. If you suspect that the floor surface isn’t exactly level where the cabinets will be

Install the base cabinets in kitchens and bathsinstalled, use a level to find the highest spot on the floor, then measure up the wall near that spot. The standard height of base cabinets without a countertop is usually 34/ in. or 35/ in., depending on the manufacturer (see the illustration above).


Base cabinets are screwed into wall studs or the 2×4 backing described in chapter 4. If stud locations were not marked on the floor, you can locate them by tapping lightly on the dry- wall with a hammer and listening for a solid sound. To make sure you’ve found a stud, drive a nail through the drywall in a place where the cabinet will cover the holes. Once you locate one stud, other studs should be 16 in. or 24 in. o. c. Use З-in. flat-head screws to install cabinets. Don’t use drywall screws, because they tend to be brittle and aren’t designed to support heavy loads.

GET CABINETS LEVEL. Make sure the top back edge of the cabinet sets directly to the wall line so it’s level. Predrill holes for the installation screws through the mounting rail and into the studs. Then screw the cabinet to the wall. Now place a 2-ft. level across the top of the cabinet from the back edge to the front edge. As nec­essary, wedge shims under the cabinet to get the top of the cabinet level in all directions. You can glue the shims in place to make sure they don’t shift around. If any part of a shim projects beyond the front or side of a cabinet, cut or chisel it flush. Use this leveling tech­nique when installing all base cabinets.

JOIN CABINETS TOGETHER. Separate cabinets, both base and wall types, are joined together where their stiles meet. A stile is a vertical member in the rectangular face frame that forms the front of most cabinets. Horizontal frame members are called rails (see the illus­tration at left). If the cabinets are European- style frameless ones, join them together by screwing the sides to each other. With face – frame cabinets, the stiles of adjacent cabinets are clamped together, drilled, and screwed.

As you join and clamp one cabinet to another, make sure each cabinet is level and at the proper height. A pair of clamps should be sufficient to hold two stiles together until you screw them to each other. Drill countersunk pilot holes for two screws, one near the top hinge and one near the bottom hinge. A third screw can be driven near the center of the stile, if necessary. With a countersunk pilot hole, the head of the screw should be just slightly below the wood surface.

CUT HOLES IN SINK CABINETS. A base cabi­net that will hold a sink needs to have holes drilled or cut at the back for water supply and waste lines. A kitchen sink base will also have an electrical line coming in, if a garbage

Install the base cabinets in kitchens and baths
Install the base cabinets in kitchens and bathsMAKE ROOM FOR UTILITIES BENEATH THE SINK. Holes must be drilled in the back of sink cabinets to make room for pipes and elec­trical wires.

disposal unit and/or a dishwasher will be installed (see the photo above). Measure from the floor and the adjoining cabinet to locate the centers of the access holes. You can use a jigsaw or a drill with a hole saw to cut the holes. Drill slowly and leave a neat-looking job. Seal any holes around pipes with expand­ing foam or caulk.

FILL GAPS WITH STRIPS. At times, you may need a vertical filler strip to close a gap between the edge of a cabinet and an adjoin­ing wall. A filler strip is like a stile. It is cut to the width of the gap and then screwed to the cabinet stile, as shown in the illustration on the facing page. If the space allotted between walls is too small for the cabinets to fit in, the overhanging part of a stile can often be trimmed to make more room.

Install the wall cabinets

Wall cabinets are usually installed with their bottom edges 54 in. from the floor, or 18 in. above a countertop (see the illustration above). Mark a level line for the wall cabi­

nets with a soft pencil, so that it can be erased or easily covered with paint. If there is a kitchen soffit (discussed in chapter 5), make sure the cabinets are secured to the walls, with their tops fitting snugly against the soffit.

Before hanging wall cabinets, remove the doors and shelves to make the cabinets lighter. Just as with base cabinets, start in a corner and install every unit level and plumb. Use a T-support or something similar to hold a

Install the base cabinets in kitchens and baths

Install the base cabinets in kitchens and bathsПодпись: USE TEMPORARY cabinet in place until it is attached to the wall SUPPORTS. Simple (see the photo above). Drive screws at both T-supports are help- the t0p anc| the bottom of wall cabinets and ful for installing into the studs or backing blocks placed in the wall cabinets. n r wall frame. If there is no backing in the walls, make sure that screws for the wall cabinets go directly into studs. Kitchen cabinets filled with dishes can be heavy. A friend called me recently and asked me to come by to see whether I could tell her why one of the kitchen cabinets in her new house was sagging. It turns out the installer missed the studs when screwing the cabinet to the wall. To make sure that doesn’t happen, find the location of studs, then transfer those locations to the inside of each cabinet. An electronic stud finder will locate studs quickly and accurately. But if you don’t have one, there are other methods you can use. Look on the floor for keel marks that were used to locate the studs before drywall installation. Electrical-outlet boxes are nailed into

studs. Tap gently on the wall and listen for a duller sound when you tap over a stud. Or drive nails behind the cabinet to locate a stud. When one stud is found, other studs should be 16 in. or 24 in. from it. Once the studs are found, mark their locations inside the cabinets on the mounting rail. Predrill screw holes in the cabinet mounting rail, set the cabinet in place, and drive a screw into each stud. If the screw misses the stud, check again for its loca­tion until you get it right. And feel free to use a few extra screws in wall cabinets. Just make sure they go into studs.

Colorful Character for a Colorful Home

Подпись: [Photo © Anna Carter.]Colorful Character for a Colorful Home


for a couple with seven children. The father, Eddie, had never had his own bed as a child. As we worked together fixing up the house that would become his family’s new home, it was clear that he was overwhelmed with pride.

Eddie had a colorful personality, and he loved color in every aspect of his life. Each room in his soon-to-be completed house was to be painted a happy color—hot pink for his girls, electric blue for his boys. And on the outside? Bright-yellow vinyl siding.

After the house was finished, Eddie and his family came to our church to thank the congregation for sponsor­ing the rehab of their new home.

Striding down the aisle with his wife, Shandra, and all their kids,

Eddie—whos at least 6 ft. 3 in. and rail-thin— was all smiles. What a happy man he was that day.

But he wasn’t the only one smiling. As Eddie and his family made their way to the front of the church, past the 900 people sitting in their pews, T couldn’t help noticing his shoes, and I smiled myself. They were fire-engine red. Color, obviously, is important to Eddie.

-Anna G. Carter

Measure and cut the casing

Often referred to as door and window trim, casing hides the joint between the drywall and the door or window jamb. Spend some time at your local lumberyard and you’ll see all the styles and grades of casing, including the type that’s installed at the factory on many prehung doors. Solid wood casing can be used if you want to leave the wood natural.

Paint-grade trim—made from MDF or from shorter pieces of wood that have been finger-jointed together—is also available and costs less. Some people prefer a plain, narrow, simple style, while others prefer wider, more complex profiles. Purchase 14-ft. lengths to
minimize waste. Another option is to buy 7-ft.-long pieces that have a 45-degree miter precut on one end.

PLAN FOR A REVEAL. When running casing, carpenters commonly leave what’s called a reveal, which simply means that one piece of wood is held back a bit so you can see the edge of the piece beneath it. The idea is to cre­ate a shadow line, which produces a sense of depth and adds visual interest. ‘Phis is done even on simple trim in an affordable house.

To mark the setback for the casing on the jamb, use an adjustable combination square. Set it at about %6 in. to % in. in from the inside

Подпись: I Helping Hand Back-cut trim for tight- fitting joints. By shaving a slight bevel on the back or hidden part of a joint, you can force the visible front edges more tightly together. To accomplish this finish carpentry trick, make the back-cut with a sharp chisel, a utility knife, or a belt sander equipped with a fine-grit sanding belt. Подпись: MARKING A REVEAL ON DOOR AND WINDOW JAMBS Colorful Character for a Colorful Homeedge of the jamb—whether it is on a door, a window, or an attic access—and mark a pencil line in several places (see the illustration below). With a little experience, you’ll be able to mark a setback by eye, without a square. The casing is cut and nailed to that line.

MARK AND CUT THE CASING. Now its time to cut the side and head casings to length. Cut and nail the casing with its thinner edge facing in, toward the door opening. The baseboard trim butts into the wide edge of the casing at the floor line. To find the length of a piece of side-jamb casing, measure from the floor to the horizontal reveal line at the top of the door or window. That measurement is the dis­tance to the short point of the miter cut.

Another way to obtain this measurement is to hold a piece of casing alongside the door or across the head jamb and mark the short end of the miter cut at the!4-in. reveal line (see the photo at left on the facing page). Make a diag­onal mark on the casing to show which way to make the cut. Just make sure the mark will be cut off, so it won’t be visible once the casing is installed. Take the casing stock to the chopsaw and make the cut. Side casings are cut in pairs, one for the jamb on the right and one for the jamb on the left. Take your time. Work slowly. Make sure you are cutting in pairs.

The same technique can be used for win­dows with sills and jambs. Measure from the sill to the horizontal reveal on the head jamb (for side casings) and from one vertical reveal line to the other on the side jambs (for head casings). All these marks are made from heel to heel, or short point to short point, of the miter cut.

In theory, once you know the length of one piece of casing, you should be able to set up at the saw and cut every piece for doors and windows of the same size. This can elimi­nate repetitive measuring and lots of time spent walking back and forth to your saw. In practice, side casings may vary slightly in length. But small gaps at the floor line will be hidden by carpeting or cut to uniform dis­tance to accommodate wood or other finish flooring. Find out what carpenters are doing in your area.

Nail the casing to the jambs

Nailing trim around doors and windows can be difficult when the wall extends past the jamb. If drywall edges protrude just a little, they can usually be knocked back enough by hitting them gently with a hammer. Just make sure the casing will completely cover the flat­tened, compressed drywall.

MARK THE CASING; DON’T MEASURE. Mark the short end of the casing’s miter cut by holding the casing in place on the jamb.

Sometimes, I start by installing door casing inside a closet, where people won’t readily notice mistakes. Think of it as a warm-up exercise. Begin by nailing a piece of side casing first, holding it to the reveal marks. (Other people start with the head casing first.) If you re nailing the casing by hand, drive a pair of nails at the top and then about every 16 in. down the casing. Drive 4d nails through the trim and into the jamb, and drive 6d nails through the thicker part of the trim and into the wall frame. A pneumatic finish nailer makes this job much easier, and you won’t have to use different size nails.

Next comes the head casing. Check the joint between the head and the side casing.

If it looks good, add a bit of glue to the ends

LEAVE A REVEAL. Install the casing so its inside edge sits back a uniform distance (У* in. or so) from the corner of the jamb. This creates a pleasing reveal.

of the two pieces, then nail the head casing to the wall along the horizontal reveal line (see the photo above right). If the joint is open a little, cut the miter again and fine-tune the angle of the chopsaw, if necessary, to get a better fit. If the joint is open more than a little, cut another headpiece; start a little long and make sure you have the angle right before cut­ting it to length. If all else fails, fill the joint with putty before painting. Repeat this process for the second piece of side casing.

Casing installed around an attic staircase or access hole can be cut and nailed in the same way. The only difference is that you’ll have miter joints at all four corners.

Подпись: INSTALLING A WINDOW APRON Подпись: flush with the outside edges of the casing on both sides. The apron can either be cut Подпись: square or have a б-in. back-cut.Подпись: INSTALL AN APRON. This piece of trim is nailed below a windowsill; it covers a gap in the drywall and gives the sill some visual weight. Install the window aprons

Just as you’d imagine, the piece of trim called an apron is installed beneath the windowsill. It covers the joint between the drywall and the sill and is usually cut from casing stock. Nail it in place with its wide edge up against the sill to support it.

The apron does not run the full length of the sill. If the window sides are covered with drywall, cut the apron 2 in. longer than the window opening. For windows with wood jambs and casing, the apron should line up with the outside edges of the casing on both sides of the window. You can cut the apron square or give it a slight back-cut of about 6 degrees (see the illustration at left). Then nail the apron directly below the windowsill (see the photo at left).

STEP 4 Install the Cabinets 1 started doing finish work as a helper to a cabinetmaker. In the ’50s, there were few factory-made cabinets available. Every cabinet that we installed in every house was built piece by piece on the job.

Today, there is no need to build cabinets on site. Home centers and cabinet shops carry many cabinet styles that are built to order. The price depends on a number of factors, includ­ing the amount of solid wood used in the construction; the style of doors and drawer fronts; and the quality of the hinges, handles, drawer slides, and other hardware. Most base cabinets are sized to provide a countertop height of 36 in. But other sizes and styles are available to accommodate wheelchair access and folks with special needs. A local wood­worker in his small shop builds the cabinets we use in Habitat houses here on the Oregon coast. They are made from pine or birch and particleboard. Although simple in style,

Подпись: Helping HandПодпись: Use only the best bit. You'll need to drill pilot holes for screws when fastening cabinets to the wall and to each other. A combination countersink/ counterbore bit (available at hardware stores and home centers) is the best bit to use when fastening together stiles. This type of bit is available in sizes that match common screw sizes. It is designed to bore the pilot hole for the screw, as well as the recess that will countersink or counterbore the screw head.Colorful Character for a Colorful Home

Colorful Character for a Colorful Home

they’re also beautiful and, thankfully, rather inexpensive.

Kitchen and bath cabinets can be installed any time after painting. Base cabinets should be installed after the underlayment and the vinyl floor are in place. That makes it much easier for the vinyl-floor installer. Just be careful not to mar the floor while installing the cabinets. Baseboard trim is installed after the cabinets because it butts into the base cabinets.

Today’s kitchens are filled with many appli­ances, such as a refrigerator, stove, microwave oven, garbage compactor, and dishwasher.

Most appliance suppliers are more than happy to look at your house plans and help you design a kitchen in which every cabinet and appliance fits into its allotted space. Once you settle on a cabinet style, you can choose differ­ent sections—one for dishes, one for pans, one for utensils, and so on. After cabinets are delivered to the job site, they are installed one section at a time.

STEP3 Install the Window and Door Casings

If you’ve installed prehung doors with the cas­ing (trim) attached, then some of your trim – work has already been done. If not, then the time to trim the windows and doors is now. Remember: Accuracy is critical for good finish work. All joints between pieces of wood should be tight, with no space showing.

Doing a good job depends on having the right tools, measuring carefully, and using a few finish carpentry tricks. Make sure you have a good chopsaw that is fitted with a finish-cutting blade. A nailer is a tremendous time-saver when installing trim, and it ensures that installed pieces won’t be marred by ham­mer blows (see the photo above). However, you can still do the job the old-fashioned way if you have to—with a hammer, finish nails, and a nail set. If you cut a joint that doesn’t fit well, cut it again, and make it right. Don’t rely on putty or caulk to fill any but the smallest of gaps. Caulk shrinks as it dries, so relying on it to hide shoddy work isn’t a good solution.

Install windowsills

When trimming around a window, it’s fine to cover the trimmers and header with drywall,
as described in chapter 9. But don’t use dry – wall for the sill; it won’t hold up. Besides, a wood sill adds a bit of warmth and style to a house. It looks even nicer when you surround the window with a wood jamb and casing.

Подпись: Helping HandПодпись: Practice using a chopsaw. For better results when cutting trim on a chopsaw, make some practice cuts in scrap material. Practice making the same miter, square, or beveled cuts you'll be making when installing trim. Test the results with a combination square to make sure your square and 45-degree cuts are accurate.WOOD AND MDF SILLS HAVE DIFFERENT ADVANTAGES. Standard, %-in.-thick stock works fine as a sill, but I think thicker stock— 1 in. or even I’/ in.—looks better. If you want to see natural wood and your budget allows it, trim with oak, pine, or spruce, and seal it with clear finish. If you prefer a painted finish or your budget is very tight, choose medium- density fiberboard (MDF). Like wood, MDF can be shaped into many styles of trim. It cuts much like wood does and, once painted, looks like solid wood but without an evident grain pattern. Just remember: MDF must be kept away from moisture, which can cause it to swell and come apart.

CUT THE SILL TO SIZE. When a window is trimmed on the sides with drywall, each end of the sill should extend about V/ in. beyond the drywall corner on the side of the window opening. When a window is trimmed with wood casing, take into account the width of the window opening, plus the width of the wood casing on both sides, plus 2 in., then cut the sill to that length. That way, the side cas­ings rest on the sill and the sill extends 1 in. beyond the casing on each side. A sill should be wide enough to cover the rough sill and extend at least VA in. from the wall. You can vary the projection distance to suit your

needs. The sill I have by my writing desk extends УА in. beyond the wall; its wide enough to hold a book or a vase.


NOTCH THE SILL. Once the sill is cut to length, cut a notch in from each corner to leave what’s known as a horn for the casing to rest on (see the illustration at left). For the depth of the notch, measure in from the edge of the drywall to the window frame and mark your cut lines on the sill. Or you can hold the sill at the window opening and mark the cut lines with a combination square. That will give you an accurate cut line, even if the jamb sides are not square.

Whether you make the cut with a handsaw or a jigsaw, clamp the workpiece securely to a sawhorse or workbench so that it will be easier to make exact cuts. Remember that this is fin­ish work. Take your time and do it accurately. The sill should fit snugly against the window frame. If there are small gaps between the sill and the drywall on the sides, fill them with paintable caulk.

Don’t leave the front edges and corners of the sill sharp. Instead, use a block plane to make a bevel or chamfer on the edges, or round them over a bit with sandpaper. This will improve the look and feel of the sill. It also makes the trim less hazardous to small children. Secure the finish sill to the rough sill with construction adhesive and drive two 6d or 8d nails at each end.

Once the sill is in place, cover the trimmers and header with M-in.-thick stock, as shown in the illustration above. The side (and head) jambs are cut flush with the plane of the wall, set on the wood sill, and nailed in place. The head jamb fits snugly between the two side jambs. Make sure all your cuts are square and fit tightly together. Nail them in place with 6d finish nails.

Install attic stairs

Some people like to install a folding staircase to give them access to attic space. A factory – made folding staircase doesn’t meet the code requirements for a regular stairway, so it’s not designed for everyday use. But if it is installed properly and used carefully, a folding staircase works quite well.

Most folding staircases consist of three lad­der sections that are hinged together and attached to a ceiling-mounted trapdoor. The door is hinged and held flush to the ceiling with springs. You pull on a cord to open the door and pull down the stairs. As the door swings down, you can unfold the two bottom sections of the staircase (see the top photo at left). The entire unit fits into a rough-framed attic-access hole between ceiling joists. The opening is typically 22/ in. wide by 54 in. long. Simply follow the installation instruc­tions provided by the manufacturer.

The stair unit comes out of the box com­pletely assembled. When attaching it to the joist chords and header, use the screws that come in the package—not drywall screws. Drywall screws are relatively brittle, do not possess much shear strength, and can break under a heavy load. To support the unit dur­ing installation, screw temporary ledgers (sup­ports) to the ceiling joists that surround the opening. The ledgers should project about 1 in. into the rough opening. The ledgers hold the stairs while you secure it in place.

The unit is installed much like a prehung door. You need to shim between the sides of the stair jambs and the supporting joists before driving the screws through predrilled holes. Once a few screws are in place, open and shut the door now and then to ensure that it opens easily and that the reveal, or space, between the door and the jambs is even all the way around.

Install attic stairsПодпись: NO HAMMER NECESSARY. A pneumatic nailer drives and sets a nail with one lick and seldom splits the wood. [Photo by Charles Miller, courtesy Fine Homebuilding magazine, * The Taunton Press, Inc.JThe bottom section of the stairway must be cut to length, with the ends of the legs (or stringers) cut at the correct angle so they rest solidly on the floor. To find the angle, swing the staircase down and unfold all but the last section. Extend a 1×4 board alongside an upper-section stair stringer so that the 1×4 reaches the floor. Place another board on the floor and against the 1×4, then mark the cutoff angle on the 1×4. Once you cut that angle on the 1×4, transfer it to measured cutoff lines on both bottom-section stringers.


Подпись: Nails Maintain a Ve-in. margin through between the jamb and Подпись: Take your time setting a prehung door. Make sure it opens and doses with ease. Shim and nail the jamb to the trimmers to hold it securely in place.SETTING A PREHUNG DOORПодпись: MAKE A BLOCK FOR THE BRACKET. Set the bracket that supports the bottom pivot of a bifold door on a small block. This block will later be covered with carpet. [Photo by Charles Miller, courtesy Fine Homebuilding magazine, ф The Taunton Press, Inc.]

the hinge and jamb and into the trimmer.

This step helps anchor the hinges and hinge – side jamb to the wall framing.

Throughout the process, continually check the door to see that it opens and closes with ease and that the jamb sides cross-sight, as described in the sidebar on p. 245. If a prob­lem develops, its best to find out along the way, rather than after the last nail has been driven home. If you’re driving nails by hand, use a nail set to set them below the surface of the wood so they can be hidden with putty.

Install bifold and bypass doors

Bifold doors work well in small areas, such as closets and laundries. They are supported by top and bottom pivots or guided by an over­head track. I find bifold and bypass doors easy to install, but the less expensive versions are not very durable. Many of the cheaper models have fittings that just can’t take serious use. Good hardware costs more up front but may save you from having to replace the entire unit prematurely.

Step-by-step installation instructions come in every bifold and bypass door package. Once the trimmers and header have been wrapped in drywall, the opening for a bifold should be the size of the doors. A 3/0 bifold door is installed in a 36-in.-wide opening. The open­ing for bypass doors should be 1 in. less than the size of the doors. For example, a 5/0 bypass door needs a 59-in.-wide opening.

If the floor will be carpeted, nail a plywood block (usually about / in. or % in. thick) under the brackets that support the bottom pivot of bifold doors (see the photo at right). If you are working on a slab, drill holes in the con­crete and set sleeves in the holes. Then glue the block in place and screw it into the holes. The carpet will cover the block. A similar block needs to be placed in the center of bypass doors to hold the bottom door guide.

SETTING A PREHUNG DOORПодпись: A DROP-DOWN STAIRCASE PROVIDES EASY ACCESS. Installing a factory-made folding staircase lets you gain convenient access to attic space. [Photo by Jefferson Kolle, courtesy Fine Homebuilding magazine, s The Taunton Press, Inc.]SETTING A PREHUNG DOORПодпись:




Подпись: LEAVE ENOUGH OPER-ATING CLEARANCE. Leave a Ye-in. margin between the door and the jamb so the door can open and Close freely. [Photo by Andy Engel, courtesy Fine Homebuilding magazine, ® The Taunton Press, Inc.] Подпись: KEEP THE JAMBS STRAIGHT. A heavy door can bow a jamb inward at the top hinge. Straighten the jamb by lifting up the door on the lock side and then nailing the jamb securely in place. [Photo by Andy Engel, courtesy Fine Homebuilding magazine, ® The Taunton Press, Inc.]


thickness of a nickel, all the way across the top (see the top photo above). If the margin at the top is too tight (less than % in.) or too wide (more than % in.), it can be corrected by rais­ing a jamb side. The hinge side can be raised, even with a nail at the top, with a flat bar

under the jamb. Once the margin is correct, nail again near the bottom hinge. Remember to shim under every jamb that doesn’t rest directly on the subfloor.

When setting heavy doors, the weight on the top hinge can bow the jamb outward. If that happens, place a bar under the door and raise the strike (lock) side of the closed door until the hinge jamb is straight or even bowed back slightly. Then drive a nail through the jamb on the hinge side, both above and below the top hinge.

You don’t need to plumb the strike side of a prehung door. Just bring the jamb near the door so that the margin between the jamb and the door is consistent—and at least % in.—all the way around the door. Once the margin is correct, the strike-side jamb can be shimmed and nailed like the hinge side (see the illustra­tion on the facing page). Keep all nails well above and below the lock area.

When jambs come with the casing trim installed, drive 6d finish nails through the cas­ing and into the trimmer all the way around the door. Try not to drive nails into any grooves in the casing. This makes it hard to fill and sand nail holes.

Any space between the jamb and the trim­mer can be filled with a shim before vou nail


the jamb to the rough framing. I am not a fan of tapered shims because, unless you use a pair of them, a jamb may not be installed flat and straight. 1 prefer using small pieces of ply­wood (% in., Уїв in, Z in., or thicker) for shims.

I slide a З-in.-square shim between the jamb and the trimmer to provide solid backing before nailing the jamb sides in place. If there is a wide gap between the jamb and the trim­mer, don’t fill the space with a stack of tapered shims. Instead, use a single thick shim.

To strengthen the door assembly, remove a short screw from each hinge and drive an identical-looking but longer screw through

STEP2 Install the Interior Doors

Once the underlayment is down, start installing the prehung doors. I have lived in older houses that required work on sticky doors, misaligned locks, and squeaky hinges. Quality doors open and close with ease even after years of use—if you take the time to install them with care. Remember that doors and jambs should last for the life of the house. That won’t happen if you buy junk. Doors and trim are finish work and are seen and used on a daily basis, so try to buy units that are both attractive and durable (see the side – bar on p. 244).

The first step in setting prehung doors is lo check the plans and see which way they open into a room. It’s helpful to set each door near its opening before nailing any of them in place. This should eliminate installing the wrong door in an opening. Whichever style

of prehung door you have, the installation process is basically the same. If the floors will be carpeted, put а Уь-іп.-thick block of OSB or plywood (V in. wide by 1 in. long) under each jamb side. The block will be hidden once the floor is carpeted. Otherwise, unless you have ordered shortened doors, you may have to trim the bottom of the door so it won’t drag on the carpet. The block, especially important when setting a heavy door, keeps the door assembly from settling, causing the door to stick.

Professional trim carpenters often order shortened doors from the supplier. That allows them to set the jambs right on the sub­floor without having to raise them for carpet­ing. There is no need to buy shortened doors for thin vinyl floors. Check to see what other builders are doing in your area.

If a door is to work properly, its jamb needs to be set plumb, square, straight, and cross-sighted (both side jambs parallel to, or

STEP2 Install the Interior DoorsПодпись: PREHUNG DOORS ARE EASY TO INSTALL. Drive the first nail through the jamb and into the trim-mer, near the top on the hinge side.STEP2 Install the Interior DoorsSTEP2 Install the Interior Doors

THE STANDARD INTERIOR DOOR used in most affordable homes is 32 in. wide and has a flat, smooth plywood "skin" that covers a hollow core. But instead of settling for standard hollow-core doors, I recommend shopping around for some frame-and-panel doors made from solid wood. Doors can be a source of beauty in your house, and it may

be worth the extra cost to have some well-crafted doors in your favorite door­ways. Check with one or more local suppliers, and look at the array of doors that are available. Some­times, styles are discontin­ued or doors are special – ordered but never claimed. When that happens, you can find a great door at a bargain price.

Most doors open into rooms rather than into a hallway. They seldom open into closets. They can swing either to the right or to the left. The swing,

or hand, of a door can be confusing (see p. 157).

Make sure when you order doors that you and your supplier are both on the same page. Most house plans show which way the doors swing, so it’s not a bad idea to take the plans with you when you order doors.

Different styles of pre­hung doors are used in dif­ferent parts of the country.

I like split-jamb, prehung doors, because they come with the trim (casing) installed, and they adjust for uneven wall thicknesses (see the photo at left). Another type of prehung door has a knockdown jamb. It comes in three pieces and also has the cas­ing installed. A third style of prehung door has just the jambs but no casing (see the photo above).

After the jambs have been nailed in place, the cas­ing must be cut and nailed around them.

in plane with, each other), so pay attention to the steps in the sidebar on the facing page. Remove any nails or plugs installed at the fac­tory to hold the jamb and door together. Set the prehung assembly in the opening, and drive a 6d or an 8d finish nail through the jamb, about 3 in. or so from the top on the hinge side (see the photo at left).

With any luck, the trimmer on the hinge side will be plumb and you can nail the jamb directly to it without the use of shims. Use a 4-ft. level to check the hinge-side jamb for plumb and straight. Make sure the margin between the underside of the head jamb and the top of the door is at least % in., about the