Editor’s Note: Oh my goodness, where have Kayla and Justin, from HomeComing, been all my life? I seriously needed this post 6 months ago when I was adding casing around all of my basement windows, which cost way more than I wanted it to. Below you are going to see the incredible window trim they created with just standard pieces of pine. You don’t have to pay for the fancy window casings to get a high-end look!
When we purchased our Minneapolis home seven years ago, it was pretty plain. The home was full of standard features and didn’t have any personality. Throughout the last few years, we’ve been slowly updating the home to bring out our personality and bring in higher-end custom projects to increase our home’s value. This process has taught us that even the seemingly small projects make a big impact in your home.
As part of our master suite remodel, we’re updating all of our window trim from the boring, standard style to a beautiful Craftsman Style trim that is really high-impact.
How to Install Craftsman Style Window Trim
There are many different styles of upgraded window trim that you can apply to your windows. Justin & I are going to show you how we installed a simplified Craftsman Style trim that brings a modern look to our home. We’ll be sharing each step with you, so while this might look daunting – we know you can do it!
- Nail Gun, Trim Gun, or Brad Nailer
- Ruler or Sliding T-Square
- Wood Glue
- Miter Saw
Now let’s get started!
Start by removing the existing window trim using a pry bar. Try your best to not puncture or break the sheetrock surrounding the windows while you’re removing.
When our existing trim was removed, we noticed that the extension jam of the window (aka. the wooden framework that surrounds your window) wasn’t wide enough because it wasn’t wide enough to meet our Sheetrock.
Carpenter’s Tip #1:
The extension jam around your window needs to be flush with your wall before the trim can be applied. Since our jam was too small, we built a new jam with 1″x4″ pine, which was measured and cut to fit.
Carpenter’s Tip #2:
To prevent the material from splitting, you need to pre-drill holes using a 1/8″ drill bit (this can be used on a regular drill). Then after the holes have been pre-drilled, screw the extension jam into the window frame using a 3″ trim head screw and your impact drill.
Carpenter’s Tip #3:
Before installing your trim, measure 1/4″ from the edge of your window extension jam to be exposed for the layered look we’re going for. We used a sliding t-square to measure this in multiple points on our jam, which we then used as a guide when installing the trim.
Also, cutting a scrap of our 1″ x 4″side pieces (aka casing), we held it in place and marked the outside edge to help us determine the measure for the Head Piece.
Starting with the 5/4″ x 6″ head piece of pine, we measured and cut the board to be 3/4″ longer than the window casing (that we just marked) on each side. Secure in place using 2-1/2″ trim nails and your finish nailer.
Then, for the layered look, we added the pine 2″x 2″ on top, cut to be 3/4″ longer than the head piece. Secure into place using wood glue & trim nails.
Carpenter’s Tip #4:
Wood glue is your friend! Be sure to apply wood glue to every wood-to-wood contact. This will give a more secure and long-term hold.
Then we moved on to the sill & apron (aka the bottom) of the window. The 1″ x 4″apron should be the same length as your Head piece, which was 3/4″ longer than the window casing on each side.
Carpenter’s Tip #5:
Install your apron before your sill to make it easier to nail and secure everything in place. We used a scrap piece of wood at the same thickness as our sill (5/4″) to determine the correct height of the apron before securing.
Note: If your sill piece is flush with the Sheetrock, you don’t need to put on a miter return (the angled corner piece that returns to the wall) on if you’re planning to paint your sill. You can instead use a square cut piece of pine and skip the next step below. If you’re planning to stain your sill, then follow the instructions below ensure that there’s no end grain showing.
Cut a 45 degree angle using your miter saw on each end of your 5/4″ x 2″ sill and attach to the apron. Attach by applying wood glue, then nailing in place. Measure the distance from the long point of your angle to the wall – you’ll need this measurement in a second.
Then cut your return piece (aka. the smaller piece of wood that completes the edge) at a 45 degree angle on one side of the piece, and a square cut on the other side using your long point measurement. Attach by applying wood glue, then nailing in place.
Lastly, measure between your head piece and your sill piece and cut your 1″ x 4″ casing to that length for the side pieces. Glue the ends where they meet the sill and header, and attach the casing to the extension jam (using 1-1/4″ brad nails) and wall ( using 2″ trim nails).
And, the hard part is done! (Totally sounds harder than it is.) The rest is finishing touches.
Fill all of the nail holes using wood filler, allow to dry, then sand smooth.
Carpenter’s Tip #6:
“Break the edges” by rounding slightly with sandpaper. This trick not only soften the edges but will also help the paint stick on the edges.
Then paint or stain & poly your window trim based on your design choices. We chose to paint our window trim white to match our color palette.
Carpenter’s Tip #7:
The last tip is to always apply a bead of caulk on every seam of the trim – inside edges and out – when you’re painting your trim. This will give it a more finished look and hide any imperfections and/or gaps between each piece. Unfortunately, if you’re staining your trim, this tip doesn’t apply because the caulk would show.
That’s it! Here’s a final image of our Craftsman Style window trim before being primed, painted and caulked.
And here it is after being primed, painted and caulked.
Big impact, right?
If you want to know more about us, follow along on our home remodel or see the DIY projects we’re working on, swing by Home Coming for a visit!
Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG says
Great tutorial!! I am bookmarking this one – I have wanted to change out our window trim for so long! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much, Cheryl. And you should definitely change out your trim now. You’ll do great!
Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG says
I shared this on my page!!
Pam Zirbel says
FABULOUS!!!!! Just Fabulous!! Welive in an old 1842 one room school house! Very small, but we want to move to TN so doing this quick [seemingly!! If I do it then it would be easy…the hubby alone…not so much! LOL] This is definately the look to our house. We only have 5 windows to the house!! [Told you TINY!! LOL] have to email this to my hubby and save it! Thank you and it looks great!!!
Thanks so much, Pam. And good luck with your five windows. You guys will knock that out in no time! :)
It looks great! This is the exact window trim of our 1928 craftsman bungalow, but a couple of windows are in bad shape and need to be replaced. Now I know how to do it myself- yay! Thank you!
No problem. Good luck with replacing them!!
This looks great, one of my favorite craftsman style window trims I’ve come across. I was curious as to how you painted the wood trim white… did you paint with a brush and roller or spray with an HVLP sprayer? Trim looks beautiful and appears to be spray finished. Also, is the 5/4 trim 1″ thick or 1-1/4″ thick. The 5/4 pine at my local lumber store is actually 1-1/4″ thick which seems to quite thick. Last, did you find that your extension jambs needed to be scribed or was the thickness the same all the way around the window. When measuring my windows I have found that the extension jambs will need to be scribed as the depth varies (walls are not straight because of plaster. Thanks for posting, great tutorial.
Hi Tim! We painted the white on with a sprayer! It worked out really nice and gave a nice, consistent coat across all the layers. We did have to scribe the extension jam on two of our windows, but the third one was a perfect fit!
Mike Mc says
I would love to do this, but have no wood trim around the windows at all. Should I remove some drywall to expose the framing first, or just build over the drywall?
Kayla Janachovsky says
Yes, you’ll probably need to remove some drywall to make room for the extension jamb. There’s likely not enough room for the extension jamb with the drywall on?
Lonelle Minesinger says
Looks beautiful and I just tore off the old window trim in my bathroom! I am wondering how this would look in the windows in my bedrooms, they are about 3ft wide and 6ft long! With the top pieces being so thick I wonder if it will make them look ‘smooshed’? Hmmm…
Kayla @ Home Coming says
Thanks Lonelle! We think it would still look nice. Justin does this same treatment on large windows at work, and thinks they look good!
Thank you so much for your reply Kayla. This is on my summer ‘to do’ list! lol
Thank you for posting this!! I just built over the drywall and it looks great :) obviously it’s painted trim rather than stain, but it was the exact look I was going for! Thanks for making what I thought was an impossible job so easy!
Kayla @ Home Coming says
No problem, Kathleen. Glad we were able to help!!
Natasha Shepard says
I am finishing windows in need of casing and window (sill) stool. However, the wood molding around the window is not flush with the sheetrock. The wood frame/molding protrudes by 1/2 to 1/4 inch all around the frame. How do I solve this issue?
Kayla @ Home Coming says
Hi Natasha – we’d recommend taking the extension jam out and rebuilding it so it’s flush (Tip #1). Unfortunately, there’s really not much of a work-around to make it easier. Good luck!
It looks beautiful and I would love to update our new house. How long did it take you and how much did it cost?
Thanks, for sharing all your design and hard work. Your window trim out looks professional. Your instructions are great and look easy to follow. Great Job. Tom
These look beautiful! I love how “finished” the windows look now. But my question is where would you add curtains? If this was in a bedroom and you wanted to ensure privacy and block sunlight during the early AM hours, where would you add the curtains? Would you instead choose to only use these in “public” rooms that don’t need curtains at all? Where would you add a cafe rod or tension rod only? These are so beautiful, I’m not sure I would want to cover them up!
Lori F. says
Thank you for posting the instructions for this project. You did a wonderful job explaining and illustrating the steps. I just scaled down your measurements for a smaller window in my entryway and it came out great.
I’m confused on the extension jamb. Did you remove the old one to fit the new one on?
What did you do for the trim around the doors? Did you match it to the window trim? Would love to see pictures.
I stumbled on this when looking for a solution — I actually already have all this craftsman molding on all my windows. I guess I’m lucky there, but I want to do drapes — possible without marring the top molding? Ideas? I guess I could stick with roman blinds, but I found a fabric I like!
Try hanging your curtain rods “high and wide”, either above the molding or extending past the molding on the sides. This also allows you to open the drapes fully and let all the light in.
My windows were installed flush with the wall, no jambs at all, and some “contractor’s grade” casing up against the drywall. So I wouldn’t be extending the jams — I’d be creating them. Can I somehow do this excellent renovation?
Love this. What color did you use on the walls & trim?
Mark A. says
I’m all-in. Looks fantastic and easy to install. Thanks