Don’t Forget Your Apron – Window Casing, Sills, and More!

I’m a huge fan of nice trim work! One of the reasons I love it so much is that something relatively simple can finish off a job to look a million times better.

Take a look at this room and imagine how different it would look if it had simple “drywall returns” to the windows. The woodwork has a truly impressive impact on this room.

Window-Trim

You Can Do This!

I’m telling you, this isn’t as hard as it looks! There really aren’t that many parts and it’s all just wood that’s going to be painted.

The part around the inside of the opening is called the “jamb” or “frame”, depending on who you ask. Whatever you call it, it’s usually just a piece of 1X4.

The part that creates the pretty “picture frame” effect is called the casing. You can buy this at any building supply seller in a number of great shapes, called profiles.

At the bottom, of course, is the window sill. And this particular window is done in my favorite fashion, which sports an “apron” under the sill.

When you look closely, you can see that there really isn’t anything complicated in how this all goes together.

Do the Sill First

Sill-Apron

The sill is cut in one piece which extends from one side of the rough opening to the other. To create this look, the sill should be cut with small returns that will provide a solid place for the bottom of the casing legs to rest.

The Apron is usually just a piece of the casing turned upside down. There are a number of ways to finish the end of the apron trim. I’ve included a video at the end which shows you one of the best ways.

Miter the Top

45-Casing

I like the look of a cleanly done 45-Degree corner at the top. Just like this picture here. This allows the profile of the casing to carry around the window and frames the opening nicely.

Another option is to use rosettes. Rosettes are nice because they eliminate the need to do a miter cut, which is really helpful if you don’t have a miter saw! The video shows how to use rosettes, but I say get a miter saw! You’ll use it for project after project!

Door trim is very similar and if all you’re doing is replacing the casing, it’s even more simple than this window!

I have so many more great trim options to show you. I’m just starting to learn that it’s better if I don’t try and do it all in one post! So if you’re not already a subscriber, I encourage you to join The Crew by signing up for our RSS subscription or our regular blog updates by email. It’s free and then you won’t miss anything!

Here is the video: http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to/video/how-to-install-a-window-trim-141347/

So, what do you think? Ready to give it a try? Talk to me!

Comments

  1. Tammie says

    How do you go about doing this if you already have a window sill? Do you need to replace the original window sill or can you build from that? Ours only extend out past the window about 2 inches. Is that too short to add moulding?

    I love your blog and am so happy I came across it!

    Tammie

    • says

      Tammie – If you have a wooden sill that extends only about two inches over the wall face, then you could extend it by cutting the existing return off square and adding a piece…but it can get a little tough to make it look clean when done. It would probably be less work to just rip that one out of there and install a new one!

      Thanks for the question!

  2. Julie says

    Our home is about 7 years old and has the drywall returns. I would love to frame them with trim, but we have “rounded corners” (the bended metal shapey things) in all of the “formal areas” in our home. What do you do about that?

  3. says

    Tim-
    Enjoying your blog! I do have a question for you. I recently saw a product near the spray paint home depot that I’m curious about. It is a laminate countertop paint made by Rust O leum. My friend has tired white laminate and would love to update it. Do you have any experience or knowledge about this product????

    MJ Taylor
    maryjean@triad.rr.com

    • says

      Mary Jean – Thanks for your question! You can paint plastic laminate, but it is much more prone to scratching than surfaces that the paint bonds to better. I’m not familiar with the product per se, because I’m usually only there if the counters are being replaced! But, from my experience, Rust-o-Leum is a great brand and I’ve had plenty of good results with their various offerings. If they say that it will work as a good counter surface, then I would believe them.

      The important things would be #1…be sure they don’t say it’s just for the cabinets, not the counter, which would make sense to me. #2 – follow the surface prep directions exactly, because the durability will be all about how well the paint adheres to the surface being painted.

      Hope this helps!

  4. says

    Oh…I love the look of those windows…we could definitely update ours that way! But for now, we’ll focus on our family room remodel! My husband is hard at work laying the sub-flooring as I write!

    Mrs. Q’s last blog post..Frugal Failure

  5. says

    Oh and I had a question about the concrete counters…

    I excitedly told my husband about them and he said that we would need a solid bit of concrete under the floor to substantiate the weight that the concrete would create. Otherwise, he said, the concrete would crash through the floor!

    Is there a way to get around this pesky detail? :)

    Mrs. Q’s last blog post..Frugal Failure

    • says

      Hi Q,
      For concrete counters to cause floors to give-way would be very unusual. Concrete spreads the weight over the entire surface, and it’s not very thick. Imagine how much weight would be in a place if you put a Jacuzzi tub full of water? Or if three people stood in one small area. Your floors should be designed to support those possibilities! I hope they are! If your floors are of normal structural strength, then concrete shouldn’t be too heavy. What did I do with that disclaimer…it’s around here somewhere. Use your best judgement!

      Tim

  6. says

    Wow! You must tired already, all of these questions and all. I just want to say thanks for all the great information you give. Your posts with Nester are awesome. You guys make a great team! Oh, and my miter box is very well loved!
    ~Misti

    Misti England’s last blog post..Chair Repair: A Dog Story

  7. Liz says

    I’ve heard that the new trend is 5″ baseboards instead of 3″. These window trims look wider to me, too. How many inches are they? And is it okay to have the window trim and baseboard be different widths or does that look mismatched? Thanks! Your blog is great & I love the posts with Nester, too!

  8. Amy says

    Hi Remodeling Guy
    What a great blog…..very informative!!!!
    I think it’s a great strategy to talk about one trim project at a time. I look forward to the next tutorial.
    I have a question that maybe you can answer about reading blogs…..I subscribe to blog feeds through posts atom then I can look to see which blogs have a new post then I go to them….is there a more efficient way?

    • says

      Here I am again!….can’t shut me up!

      Misti – Thanks for the complements…I really appreciate you being here!

      Liz – You’re very right about the taller baseboards being more popular now. I don’t remember the last time we installed 3 1/4″ base. The most common is, indeed 5 1/4″, and there are even larger ones available. It really gives the room a nice solid visual foundation to have a sizeable baseboard. Really makes a difference. Window and door casing is usually smaller, in fact I really think it HAS to be smaller to look best. What you see in the pictures on this post is around 3″ and that’s what I would usually recommend, but you can go bigger, you’d just want even larger base. Does that make sense?

      Amy – Thanks for your question. I’ve been very busy building this blog and working on others and I’ve learned a lot, so I think I can answer your question well. RSS Readers work great, but if you don’t look at them, you might get a little behind which may or may not bother you (the problem might be that if you like to comment, you might prefer to do so on the same day as the post). The email subscription (differs from the email newsletter) could be better if you want to be sure you get the update every day (if there is new content). You just get an email that has any posts that have gone up since the last email. They usually show up around 9:00 or 10:00 pm.

      You can do both. I hope this helps. I don’t want you to miss a thing!

  9. says

    I’m not sure why…but in our house we don’t have window frames. But, we do have window sills that seem to be marble/granite or some material to that effect.

    Molding, window frames etc are all on my project list to making my house look beautiful.

    SoBella Creations’s last blog post..National Craft Month

  10. STACY says

    Hi again! I would love to frame out my windows, but I also have the rounded corners…any ideas? Is it still possible?

    Thank you,
    Stacy

  11. says

    Hi Stacy –

    As soon as I saw your question, I knew I had missed one…Julie asked the same question a day or so ago and I neglected to answer. Sorry Julie.

    The rounded corners usually don’t make a difference as long as you wrap the interior of the opening with wood. You can use a 1-by or even plywood and create a Jamb around the interior of the opening. Just extend the front edge of this past the rounded corner until it is even with the face of the wall. Then you can place your casing on the wall face, and bring it over until it meets the jamb, and you’ll be all set.

    There will be a small void behind the trim that nobody can see. If you watch the video I linked to in the post, you’ll see all the steps and they are the same with the “bullnose” drywall returns.

    Hope this helps!

    Tim

  12. says

    I have always wanted to replace the casing around my doors and add to my windows but I don’t know how to and my hubby isn’t handy. Looks like I might be learning a new skill. The sill is my biggest fear!

    • says

      Megan – You can do this! It really isn’t all that hard! There are so many detailed how-to video’s online…see my category “Mr. How To” Go for it!

  13. Carol says

    We have drywall returns. Our aluminum windows sit back from interior walls about 5 inches and have 7/8 inch aluminum trim surrounding the glass. Do we have to remove the drywall before putting the wood around the window (jam extension)? Or can we put the wood right over the dry wall? If so, what should the width of the wood be? Thank you.

  14. Derek says

    In my kitchen is a double bump out window that I would like to add trim and casing to. The sill is almost deep enough to sit in since it is in a bump out. All of the corners are rounded drywall (yuck). I plan to just cover the corners and jams with a thin wood. My concern is with the top of the jamb, it’s about 12″ deep and we have faux wood blinds. Would it be ok to glue and nail the “plywood” to the “ceiling” in this area and then just remount the blinds thru the wood into the “ceiling” joist??

    Thanks for any help!

  15. Kristen says

    Hi,
    We are putting an addition on our house and replacing all of our windows in the entire house as well. We are on a budget and don’t want to spend a lot more on extras, but we want our house to look nice. Our house currently has crown moulding and window casements of wormy chestnut from our property, but, I love the “white” look and am tempted to use it for our moulding and casements in our addition. Would it look goofy to have white in one room and the chestnut everywhere else? Also, the new windows are white. Will that look okay in the the chestnut casements or should I redo those as well? Thanks you !

  16. Dave says

    Great write-up. Looking do to this same thing but our house has marble sills that don’t extend beyond the opening. If we add side casings there would be no sill underneath. Would you recomend replacing the sills or maybe add a notched wood sill around the front of the existing marble to extend the sill out past the side casings?

  17. Tawn says

    RG! THanks so much for your blog! It has been so much help to me in my first remodeling project!
    I decided to case my son’s windows (also did wainscotting and paint all around. I had to stop the wainscotting when I decided to add the casing. I’m stuck now because it took so much to get the window sill out that I did some damage to a 6 inch section of dry wall. This is a piece of dry wall that already had a crack in it. Should I replace with another section of drywall or just cover it all up with the Apron that I am planning to put there?
    Thanks!

  18. says

    If the apron will cover the damaged drywall, then you don’t need to worry about a patch. Now the only concern is if there are other problems with your wall assembly such as bad framing or siding. What you don’t want is the casing or apron to be the only thing between the interior of the house and a line to the exterior. In other words, if you can look in that hole and see light from outside, then you might want to patch the hole or find and fix the problem outside.

  19. Sharon says

    Hi,

    I am trying my hand a home repairs, I noticed in my living room that the base of the window (apron) is separated from the wall. What can I use to fill and seal this gap? (something that won’t rot or get mole) and seal. Thank you.

  20. Rodney says

    Hi,

    I currently have stained fluted window casings throughout my home, without an apron. I would like to paint the casing and jamb white as I believe it gives a more updated appearance. How do I go about painting the casing and jamb? Do I use an oil or latex primer first? Which primer offers fewer fumes with the best result? Do I remove the casing first and paint it or paint it in place? I have Anderson windows that open outward as opposed to upward as your pictures above show. I would love to add an apron on some of the shorter windows. I guess in this situation the casing would need to be removed first?

    FYI – your windows above look very nice!

  21. Rodney says

    One more think…the current fluted casing is 3 1/2 inches wide. Is this unusual or not common these days?

  22. KS says

    Hi,

    My question is very similiar to Carol’s post:

    We have drywall returns. Our aluminum windows sit back from interior walls about 5 inches and have 7/8 inch aluminum trim surrounding the glass. Do we have to remove the drywall before putting the wood around the window (jam extension)? Or can we put the wood right over the dry wall? If so, what should the width of the wood be? Thank you.

    I have the same project problem – our windows have the drywall returns. How are drywall returns suppose to be cased if one wanted to add the molding back to get the more traditional look???

  23. Lacey says

    hi.. I want to add trim to the windows, I love the way it looks in the picture, where do you purchase all the items needed… I am mainly looking for a kit can you briefly describe the needed material I would greatly appreciate it thank you!

  24. says

    Instead of making the casings yourself, you can purchase the casings from us. It’s quick and easier to install. Look at the website for more information.

  25. says

    I normally would remove a comment, such as the one above that simply says… buy from us! But I thought I’d comment on it myself instead…

    The product offered at the site above (reached by clicking on the commenter’s name) is a great idea and if you’re going to do one or two windows it might be the option for you. I know nothing about the product or the company, but a kit is a kit and often times it reduces effort.

    However, if you aspire to become a perpetual, habitual, home remodeler then you want to learn the carpentry skills that this process will teach you. It’s an easy project that is a great stepping stone toward more advanced woodworking in the future.

    Give a man a fish… teach a man to fish… you know the story.

    Tim

  26. Robyn says

    HI! We are finishing our basement! YAY! I am looking for window sills that are 10″ deep. CAn you tell me where I can find some that deep or any other material we could use?

  27. Stacey says

    I have the typical builder framed windows with a very short and narrow sill (acout 2 in past window on either side) and no molding on drywall. Is there a way to just add width to the sill so that I can put moulding around the window? Instead of ripping the sill out and starting from scratch? Thanks!!!

  28. Lynn says

    How do you go about doing this if you already have a window sill? Do you need to replace the original window sill or can you build from that? Ours only extend out past the window about 2 inches. Is that too short to add moulding? There is an apron already but on casings.

    • says

      Note: I emailed Lynn for more info and found out she had a wood sill that was similar to the ones in this post, but didn’t go far enough beyond the window and were installed without any casing.

      Lynn – That’s not uncommon. If you have a full two inches you might consider using a 2.25″ casing and then going with one of the following options.

      1. If you wrap the inside of the opening with 1×4 material then you’ll have enough sill for the casing to rest upon. Because the casing will go over the edge of the 1x and therefore be about 1/4″ shy of the end of your current wood sill.
      2. Cut the casing down. You can rip the casing on a table saw to make it just under 2″ and then use it. It won’t look as great, but still good. You could try one and just see. before you even paint it or finish nailing it up you’ll know if you like it.
      3. Extend the sill. Wood is a wonderful material for adding on to. Especially if it’s painted. You can probably square off the end of what’s there and simply glue an extension on it with some really good glue. Then after you put your casing up, you can shoot a little brad nail up under the extended piece to hold it better (nailing it to the casing). A little bondo or wood putty to make the patch go away visually.
      4. Hope these ideas help!

  29. says

    Note: I emailed Lynn for more info and found out she had a wood sill that was similar to the ones in this post, but didn’t go far enough beyond the window and were installed without any casing.

    Lynn – That’s not uncommon. If you have a full two inches you might consider using a 2.25″ casing and then going with one of the following options.

    1. If you wrap the inside of the opening with 1×4 material then you’ll have enough sill for the casing to rest upon. Because the casing will go over the edge of the 1x and therefore be about 1/4″ shy of the end of your current wood sill.
    2. Cut the casing down. You can rip the casing on a table saw to make it just under 2″ and then use it. It won’t look as great, but still good. You could try one and just see. before you even paint it or finish nailing it up you’ll know if you like it.
    3. Extend the sill. Wood is a wonderful material for adding on to. Especially if it’s painted. You can probably square off the end of what’s there and simply glue an extension on it with some really good glue. Then after you put your casing up, you can shoot a little brad nail up under the extended piece to hold it better (nailing it to the casing). A little bondo or wood putty to make the patch go away visually.
    4. Hope these ideas help!

  30. Therese says

    I’ve searched everywhere am about to give up and just do something I’m sure not to like… I have an older has and want to trim out my window just as you have done with apron but I have a marble sill which unfortunately will not come off without much grief… Any ideas of how to just build around… It is same length of window and stick I out only about 1/2 inch… Hope to hear from someone!

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