Q: Thank you for your article on exterior trim. Where in San Francisco can I buy the decorative plantons you describe?
A: Plantons? Sounds like some kind of tropical fruit. There is no such thing as plantons, but we have referred to “plant-ons” when describing built-up interior and exterior wood trim molding.
We’re sure you’re aware that there are many milled trim styles available in lumberyards and in the wood section of big-box home stores. But often the selection doesn’t have exactly the right profile for a finicky homeowner. Sometimes even the widest casement molding is too narrow for the use a homeowner has in mind. Such is the case for Kevin, who is adding some details to his Idaho home.
We’ve described Kevin’s house before — large rooms with 9-foot ceilings throughout give the home a more spacious feel than the 2,500 square feet it actually is. Big rooms need oversize casement and baseboard trim.
Originally Kevin went for the no-case, no-base look, choosing instead to wrap the corners of the windows and doors with Sheetrock and rounded corners. After 10 years he’s tired of the look.
To enhance the detail of his Colonial-style house, Kevin is installing wainscoting in the dining room and family room, and casing on the windows and doors in the public area of the house.
Being ever frugal, he’s cut the 5 1/2-inch flat stock for the vertical and horizontal pieces of the wainscoting and casing from sheets of 3/4-inch medium-density fiber board (MDF). It sands smooth, paints great and costs about $15 per sheet. It also allows him to be creative.
Inside the frames of the wainscoting he’s “planted on” pieces of standard quarter round to soften the look a bit. On the top horizontal piece of the wainscoting Kevin’s installed an MDF cap that he’s routed to form an ogee pattern. A small piece of quarter round under the cap finishes it off and gives a more interesting profile.
For the windows and doors, Kevin started with square 5 1/2-inch MDF for the casing and added a piece of 1 1/2-inch brick molding on the sides surrounding the opening. The difference in thickness between the square stock and the brick molding gives depth and a more interesting look. The brick molding is 1 inch thick at its narrowest side and 13/8 inch at its thickest. So with a little imagination, a router and a table saw, he’s been able to achieve a Colonial look by adding several different types of stock moldings. As to where to get “plant-ons” — anywhere stock moldings are sold.
Q: We bought a post-and-beam cabin in a remote area, and we’re in the process of insulating the raw 3-inch-thick original walls with sleepers and foam insulation. We want the finish wall to be Sheetrock but have been told that the expansion and contraction of heating and cooling because of sporadic weekend visits would eventually cause the drywall to crumble.
We wanted a white wall that could break up the pine floors and ceiling and brighten the room, and not add to the already busy appearance of planks. Is this true about drywall, or are there types we can choose from?
A: We notice that your e-mail comes from Wisconsin. Although we imagine it can get mighty cold up there, we’ve never heard of drywall disintegrating because of extremes of heat and cold. Of course, Bill lives in San Francisco and Kevin lives in Idaho. Neither place is subject to extreme cold. Just to make sure, we would check with the United States Gypsum Co., which makes Sheetrock, to see if this is true.
On the Web, go to www.sheetrock.com. There you’ll find a list of U.S. Gypsum products and links to contact them and ask the question.
If you’re not sold on drywall, how about using half sheets of MDF? As we noted above, it paints great and you could cover the seams with battens of 1/2-inch-by-1 1/2-inch pieces of square stock.