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Everything You Need to Know About Finish Carpentry

Finish carpentry, otherwise known as “trim carpentry”, might seem like a small detail—how important is your baseboard or crown molding really? Actually, those little touches make a big difference when it comes to making a space look truly polished and professional. Finish carpentry is a big part of almost every one of our projects, whether it’s a full renovation or some simple updates—and it really does make a difference!

What Is Finish Carpentry Anyway?

cutting baseboard

Finish carpentry is a blanket term for quite a few of the more detailed and aesthetic aspects of carpentry. It includes some of the most commonly known trims, like baseboard and crown molding, as well as the molding around windows and doors. It also encompasses extras such as built-ins, fireplace surrounds, stair rails, and more.

Here are a few final touches we’ve add to our past projects.



Probably the most common form of finish carpentry, baseboard is the trim that sits along the lowest part of the wall where it joins the floor. It serves to cover the joint between these two areas. Baseboard can be pretty varied; you’ll see simple rounded trim of a few inches, more ornate cuts ranging from several inches to as much as a foot, and even flat baseboards. Baseboard also comes in a variety of materials, including wood, MDF (medium density fiberboard), and vinyl.

In the above project, you can see the baseboard provides a nice clean separation between the wall and the carpeting.

Crown molding


Essentially the up-high version of baseboard, crown molding sits at the top of the wall where it meets the ceiling. Baseboard is more common, while crown molding is often seen in higher-end or more decorative homes. Like baseboard, crown molding can be found in a huge variety of styles, sizes, and materials, and ranges from simple to incredibly ornate.

In the kitchen above, a fairly large crown molding joins the cabinets to the ceiling.

Window and door casing


You might not pay too much attention to the trim around your windows and doors, but you should! Even those simple, and common, trims can make a difference to the overall look and feel of a space. Colors, cuts, sizes, and styles all play a big part when it comes to choosing trim for windows and doors.

Above, a simple trim around the kitchen window, coupled with matching crown molding and baseboard, adds a high-end look.

Chair rails & wainscoting


Chair rails are probably less common than crown molding and baseboard, and are often used between subtle paint color transitions. They’re also used with wainscoting, a form of paneling that sits on top of the baseboard and reaches to the chair rail.

Here, you can see a simple baseboard, followed by wainscoting and a chair rail. There’s also some nice window trim and crown molding.

Fireplace surrounds


Fireplaces have been common home features for centuries, but their styles certainly have changed over the years. Old and outdated fireplace surrounds—that is, the thick, trimlike area around the fireplace—can really bring down a room. A little finish work on that fireplace will absolutely transform a space.

Stair rails & trim

a stair rail with a nice newel post

Stairs are easy to overlook, but they have the potential to make a huge difference to a home or room. Updating from carpeting to hardwood is an obvious first step, but finish carpentry is definitely what takes those stairs to a truly luxurious level. Stairs are actually pretty complex, which means there’s a lot of room for updates and finishes. Newel posts, handrails, and balusters might be among the more noticeable updates, but the treads, the risers, and the trim are all important, too.

Above, a new newel post brings a high-end finish to an elegant upstairs bonus space.

True Finish Carpentry Takes a Professional

Finish carpentry makes a big difference! And it’s something we at Raleigh Woodworks do a lot—so we’re pretty good at it. If you’re looking for next-level style in your home, office, or other space, we’d love to talk! Contact Raleigh Woodworks today to learn more about what we can do for your home improvement project.

#design #homerenovation #carpentry #woodworking #homedesign #interiordesign #contractors #Homeimprovement

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