Types of Door Casings: Styles & Materials

November 5, 2020
by The Finished Space

Door casings, and other moldings, often provide one of the final yet essential decor touches to a room. They add texture, depth, and warmth, creating the illusion of space to the drabbest and small spaces. The trim’s style, material, or color can give a room an elegant-formal look or a simple-farmhouse appeal — whatever you want for your home’s decor. 

What is a Door Casing?

Door casings set the tone of your room, enhancing its architectural beauty

while hiding the gap between the wall and the frame.

5 Popular Casing Styles

Door casings come in a variety of styles, from ornate and elegant to clean and simple—something for everyone’s tastes. However, designers highly advise that you keep the trim consistent from room to room (and with your exterior style) for flow and continuity.

Typically, door trim matches the window trim style — sizes vary according to the home’s different elements. For instance, you should apply the most intricate and expansive trim to the interior side of the front entry door; the next widest trim goes on the interior side of other large exterior doors, like french and sliding doors. Scale the interior trim down for small exterior doors. Finally, use the same size trim on interior doors and windows.

Four popular door casing styles include farmhouse, craftsman, minimal, and colonial.

1. Farmhouse

Farmhouse style door casings give your home a cozy feel. Timeless farmhouse style includes simple, clean lines, with little to no ornamentation on the boards. To add character and dimension to a room, try whitewashing, staining, or applying a dark color to your farmhouse style door casings.

2. Craftsman

Craftsman door casings produce simple yet exciting details that add a purposeful style to your home — representing the signature elements of British Arts and Crafts architecture. The sturdy quality and handcrafted pieces of the craftsman style door casings also play a significant role in complementing and unifying the exterior elements. To add depth and texture to your craftsman home, paint the door casings a creamy neutral tone or dark color.

3. Minimal

Minimally designed door trim produces a simple, finished, and clean look without overwhelming the space. Minimal trim works effectively with modern or industrial decor styles, or in informal areas, to create a sophisticated and open feel to contemporary rooms. 

4. Colonial

Colonial-style door casings combine timeless simplicity and rich details, enhancing the feeling of coziness and comfort in your home. Often featuring elegant, simple beads (small indented lines) and cavetto (concave) shapes and curves in their design, they can make a low-ceiling room feel more feminine and voluminous. 

5. Butted vs. Mitered

Installing a doorway’s three pieces of casings typically involves placing the board’s thinner edge towards the inside of the frame, which reduces bulk in the doorway. Builders or DIYers can connect the short head casing ends to the top of the two side casings by either butted or mitered joints. 

Butted Joints

Butted joints connect two flat surfaces at 90 degrees, typically with both glue and nails. Traditionally, butt joints connect flat board casings, with the head casing sitting on top of the side casings. Architects often opt for butted joints when designing homes with high ceilings because butted joints allow for custom above-door designs with intrinsic and detailed head casings. Decorative corner blocks can add even more interest and character. 

Mitered Joints

Mitre joints involve cutting both the tops of the side and the head casing at a 45-degree angle and fitting them together to make a 90-degree angle. Mitre joints make a neat and clean wood joint. 

The Best Materials for Door Casing

Several factors play into selecting the best material for door casings. For example, the amount of detail and buildup you want for the casing, whether you plan to stain or paint, and the room’s moisture susceptibility all play into your material choice for door casings. 

Paint-Grade Wood

Paint-grade wood (commonly made from poplar and pine) door casing consists of bare wood, requiring homeowners to prime (unless pre-primed) and paint. You can build up the paint-grade wood casing, allowing for more detail and character than you can achieve with man-made casing materials. Painting the casing hides the joints, but staining will not. If you intend to apply a wood stain, you will need to select another material option.

Paint-grade wood door casings cost between $1 to $3 per linear foot (LFT), depending on the casing’s width and design.

Stain-Grade Wood

Pacific coast hemlock offers a color consistent, durable, long-length wood option for stain-grade molding, suitable for or all stain colors or clear coat finishes. Wood-pitch and resin-free pacific coast hemlock prevent bleeding and blotching through the finished surface, producing an even-grained molding with fine texture.

Stain-grade hardwood casings offer another good option for doors exposed to moisture because they do not warp. Hardwood materials also accept stain beautifully, hiding the joints and resisting streaking. Builders most commonly use oak hardwood for door casings, followed by maple, poplar, mahogany, cherry, birch, and walnut. 

Hardwood door casing starts at about $1 an LFT, but for broader and more ornately detailed designs, they can run as much as $10 per LFT — even more for custom ordered, exotic hardwood door casings.

MDF

Multi-density fiberboard (MDF) door casings, formed from resin and sawdust, offer homeowners a durable, inexpensive material that looks similar to the paint-grade wood casing. Most MDF door casings come primed and ready to paint, and while easier to install than miter (cut), it can be hard to layer as a decorative molding as the profile details and edges are not able to be quite as sharp as thier wood counterparts.  

MDF door casing costs between $1 and $3 per LFT. 

3 Tips for Choosing Door Casing

You can easily add architectural interest to your home with decorative door casings. It’s an easy DIY project you can complete in one weekend. However, the numerous choices of door casings can overwhelm some homeowners. Please read on for Metrie’s tips on choosing the best door casings for your home. 

1. Consider Your Existing Home Style

Door casings add architectural interest; however, their aesthetic success depends on balance. Your door casings’ style should match or complement your existing window casings, crown moldings, etc. For instance, casual ranch-style homes should use a simple trim that creates a clean, informal feel. In contrast, a traditional Victorian home leans towards intricate and elegant casings. To create a cohesive look for your entire house, the style of your home’s exterior should influence your trim selections for the interior. 

2. Add Your Own Creative Style

Door cases allow a homeowner to personalize their living space — don’t be afraid to get creative with your choices of style, color, or material. Browsing through decorating magazines for style ideas, borrowing samples from your local home improvement stores, or visiting the Metrie web page on design tips all provide useful ways to explore your door casing options. 

3. Get Advice From Experts

Today’s big-box home improvement stores offer a large variety of casing and molding supplies but often lack the help you may need to make your selections. In contrast, visiting a Metrie molding showroom will put you in touch with knowledgeable decor experts that can answer your questions, show you the latest and best options in door casing, and help you meet the design goals for your home. 

Metrie™, a leading manufacturer and distributor of interior finishings with locations across North America, makes it easy for consumers and building and design professionals to select, purchase, and design interior moldings (including door casings) and doors. Metrie door trims come in various styles and materials to accommodate every home’s unique taste and styles. 

For more information on the best door casings for your home, please visit one of our professionals at our many Metrie dealer showrooms