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Tag Archives: wood trim

  • The Heart of the Home: How to Use Douglas Fir Flooring in the Living Room

    Posted on May 7, 2014 by David

    The living room unites the family. It’s where you curl up with a good book, where you catch up and chat, and where you relax in the evenings. It is the heart of the home, and nothing brings warmth to this space quite like Douglas fir flooringAltrufir offers valuable tips to add comfort, functionality, and timeless beauty to your living room: Continue Reading

    This post was posted in Douglas Fir Flooring and was tagged with Douglas fir flooring, douglas fir floors, wood trim, reclaimed floors, home decor, wood flooring options, interior design

  • Douglas Fir Trim and Joinery

    Posted on November 30, 2011 by Jennifer

    Everyone knows that a project is only as good as the materials that go into it. If you’re making a loaf of bread, you choose the right kind of flour. If you’re planting a garden, you select the right kind of seeds. But when it comes to picking wood for the trim and joinery of your home, how can you be sure you've chosen the right material for the job?

    douglas fir trim

    Vertical grain Douglas fir trim.

    Now, there may not be one right choice--selecting building materials is, as always, a matter of personal preference. But that doesn’t help the homeowner who is trying to narrow down the selection. The good news is, Douglas Fir is a very good choice for many applications, and it’s ideal for trim and joinery.

    Trim and joinery are the wood-working terms for the pieces of wood that surround the architectural features of a home--window casings and sills, baseboards and moulding, mantelpieces and stairway risers--all the detail items that help complete a room.

    Natural Appearance
    Appearance is paramount when selecting trim and joinery materials, because the eye is naturally drawn to these accent pieces. You need a material that looks good. Douglas Fir is an excellent choice because of the natural beauty of the wood. It has a rich, warm, reddish tone that lends itself well to either casual, rustic looks (think California mountain cabin) or clean, modern rooms (think soothing, Zen-inspired spa).

    Douglas fir is also known for its clear vertical grain. These subtle lines run along the length of each board, giving it a clean, natural look. When Douglas Fir is “machined”--that means cut and planed to a specific shape--a very smooth, glossy surface is achieved.

    If you like the natural look for your home, Douglas Fir works well. With only a clear coating or a transparent lacquer, Douglas Fir trim will be ready to showcase your house for years--no involved staining or painting process needed.

    However, if you do want trim that can be stained to a dramatically dark hue, or painted for a splash of color, Douglas Fir works well for that too. It holds all types of stains and finishes and accepts paint, enamel, oil, and wax easily. No matter what creative finish you’ve got up your sleeve, Douglas fir trim is up to the task.

    Durability and Stability
    Douglas Fir is known for its durability. In fact, it’s so tough that it’s used in all kinds of industrial applications ranging from gym floors to fabricating vats to trestles and tunnels. It has a very tough fiber, it’s very strong in relation to its weight, and it’s resistant to cracking and splintering. That’s important for trim and joinery, because things like baseboards, door frames and stair risers take a beating over the course of their life.

    Douglas Fir is also known for its remarkable stability. That clear vertical grain we mentioned before? It’s not just for looking pretty. All wood naturally expands and contracts in response to moisture variation. However, Douglas fir is unique among similar species because it holds its shape so well. When that naturally stable wood is kiln-dried, it becomes even more reliable. Vertical-grain Douglas fir that’s been kiln-dried is extremely resistant to shrinking, warping or cupping. Once you nail a nice, straight piece of Douglas fir baseboard around your floors, you can be sure that it will stay nice and straight--no shrinking or twisting out of place.

    Douglas Fir is also resistant to checking and showing raised grain. The layman may think checking is a kind of bank account, but to a wood-worker, checking is a defect that occurs when wood dries out. Cracks and splits can appear, due to the surface of the wood drying out at a different rate than the core.

    Raised grain is another problem that you won’t see with Douglas fir trim and joinery. Sometimes when wood is exposed to liquid, the cells that make up the grain swell, raising the grain up above the surface of the piece. However, since Douglas Fir is so stable, you can count on your trim staying smooth and sleek.

    An ideal choice
    Is Douglas Fir the only choice for trim and joinery? Maybe not.

    But is it an ideal choice for most homes? If you’re looking for a trim material that’s attractive, easy to finish, and extremely durable, then you can count on Douglas Fir to fit the bill.

    - Jennifer Rouse

    This post was posted in All Entries, Douglas Fir Trim and was tagged with douglas fir trim, wood trim, douglas fir joinery, douglas fir moulding, wood joinery

  • Using Douglas Fir for Your Baseboards: A how-to guide

    Posted on September 2, 2011 by Jennifer

    In the simplest sense, baseboards have a humble function: they’re strips of wood attached to the bottom of the wall, wide enough to cover up the little gap at the edges of your flooring.

    But beautiful Douglas fir baseboards can go beyond their utilitarian function to be a key design element, providing a visual marker that offsets both the walls and floors. They can set the tone for a room—a more formal home might have baseboards with an elaborately curved profile, while a modern home might have simple, straight baseboards.

    Choosing your style
    The size of your room: Although a standard height for baseboards is in the range of 3 ½ to 4 inches, a room with high ceilings can handle a wider baseboard, extending up to 10 inches up from the floor. AltruFir sells clear vertical grain Douglas fir trim in a variety of sizes, from 2- or 3-inch wide baseboards to dramatic 10-inch baseboards that make an eye-catching addition to a room.

    1x10 CVG Douglas Fir Trim

    The stain or finish you want: Douglas fir baseboards accept paint or stain equally well, so consider whether you want wood tones or a more vibrant color. If you want to highlight the natural grain of the wood, consider a clear vertical grain baseboard. If you plan to paint over it in the end anyway, a lower grade board might be fine for the job.

    Ordering baseboards
    Once you’ve selected your moulding, it’s time to figure out how much you need. At AltruFir, we sell trim by the lineal foot, which is simply the measurement of how long each board is. To figure out how many lineal feet you need, measure the length of each wall and add up the total. Order that amount plus a little bit extra—5-10 percent greater than the total. That’s just in case of mistakes, which can happen to even the handiest of home renovators.

    When you’re ordering, you can buy your trim in an assorted package called “random lengths.” With random lengths, you get a mixed batch of boards of different lengths that all add up to a pre-agreed-upon amount of lineal feet. One of our random lengths packages will give you 25 lineal feet of board, made up of boards that are between 6 and 12 feet long. Or, you can order by the piece, specifying how many boards you want and of which length.

    Getting started
    Once you have your baseboards, sand, stain or paint them first, before installing. It’s much easier to sand and stain each piece pre-install. That way you don’t have to stoop down to floor level to do the work, and you don’t have to worry about slopping paint or stain onto the walls and floors. You can go back and touch up your work afterward if necessary.

    Before you start nailing the boards to the wall, find out where the studs are. A stud is a supportive vertical board behind the sheetrock—when you start installing the baseboards, you’ll want to anchor them into those hidden studs. A simple tool called a stud finder, available at hardware stores for $10-20, will help with the process. In most standard construction, studs are located about every 16 inches along the wall.

    Start with the longest wall, and measure to find out exactly how long a piece of trim you need. Measure your board to the appropriate length and cut it to fit. When you make your cut, use a miter saw to make a diagonal 45-degree cut on either end of the piece, then nail it in place at the stud locations all along the length of the wall.

    When doing your nailing, you want to sink the nails down into the surface of the trim. This ensures that the nails get all the way through the baseboard, sheetrock, and into the stud behind them. It also allows you to fill in the nail holes with wood putty and sand over them for a smoother final finish. You can buy or rent a nail gun for the job, which will shoot them down into your trim, or you can do it the old-fashioned way using a hammer and a nail set. A nail set is a small piece of metal that looks something like an ice pick—you put the pointed end of the nail set onto the head of the nail, then hit the blunt end with a hammer, driving the nail all the way down into the wood.

    Joint work
    When you’re ready to fit the next piece of trim, take a small scrap piece of wood, cut a 45-degree angle in it, and test it to see whether or not it fits snugly against the first piece. A lot of corners aren’t exactly 90 degrees, so you may have to adjust the angle on your saw up and down a bit, testing until you find the angle that gives you a snug mating piece. Then keep your saw at that angle while you cut the next piece of trim. Nail the next board in place, and continue the process all the way around the room.

    If you have an extremely long wall, longer than any of the pieces you ordered, you may need to use two pieces of wood, making what’s called a scarf joint. Cut a 45-degree angle at the end of your trim piece, angling away from the face of the board, toward the back. Then repeat the angle-testing process that you used on the corners to get a tight fit for the scarf joint. Use a fine layer of wood glue on one of the surfaces when attaching the two ends, then fasten in place with nails.

    If you come to a door casing, a built-in cabinet, or another flat surface on the edge of the wall, you can use what’s called a butt joint—simply make a flat 90-degree cut on the end of your trim piece and run it straight up against the other piece of wood.

    The final touch
    Once every piece is in place, cover nail holes with wood putty, let it dry, and sand for a smooth finish. Using a small brush, touch up the nail holes and any other problem areas.

    When you’re all done, your Douglas fir baseboards will be a beautiful accent to the rest of your room—the finishing touch that ties your walls and flooring together. Just because baseboards have the humble job of covering a gap doesn’t mean they can’t look good while they’re doing it.

    - Jennifer Rouse

    This post was posted in All Entries, Douglas Fir Trim, Care & Maintenance and was tagged with douglas fir trim, wood trim, baseboards

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