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Grain direction for base trim around square column

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Forum topic by Mark Shultz posted 08-19-2018 08:10 PM 411 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mark Shultz

117 posts in 2596 days


08-19-2018 08:10 PM

I have several vertical 12” x 12” cedar columns to which I need to add the base molding. This is for an exterior application. Normal inside trim runs horizontal. What direction should the grain be in this application? I think if horizontal, then the cross grain expansion / contraction might be an issue. And if vertical (i would glue up boards to achieve width) then the top of the base would have end grain eager to absorb rain water.

Thoughts?


7 replies so far

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Rich

3902 posts in 795 days


#1 posted 08-19-2018 09:24 PM

If you go with the grain vertical, then seasonally you are going to see gaps in the corners (I assume mitered).

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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Mark Shultz

117 posts in 2596 days


#2 posted 08-19-2018 11:23 PM

I was thinking the opposite. Vertical column + vertical base = no difference in expansion / contraction

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Rich

3902 posts in 795 days


#3 posted 08-20-2018 12:48 AM


I was thinking the opposite. Vertical column + vertical base = no difference in expansion / contraction

- Mark Shultz

I assumed the columns were structural and made of heavier stock that would move less. If it’s decorative and both are the same thickness, then you’re probably right.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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HTown

114 posts in 1392 days


#4 posted 08-20-2018 02:59 AM

I faced the same question, here was my solution. I ran the trim horizontally, against the grain of the column. I mitered the trim oversized by 1/8” and then glued two of the four corners and added some brads for extra strength. After that, I finished installing it around the column and glued the last trim piece in place. At this pint it was loose around the column so I put some soft foam to center the trim piece and caulked it to keep water out. So far it has held up for two years with no signs of the joints opening.

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John Smith

1491 posts in 368 days


#5 posted 08-20-2018 11:30 AM


make the collar 1/8-1/4” larger than the column and put some soft foam to center
the trim piece and caulk it to keep water out.
- HTown

X2 – - – with Elastomeric Caulk

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.

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-- I started out with nothing in life ~ and still have most of it left.

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rwe2156

3174 posts in 1687 days


#6 posted 08-20-2018 01:49 PM



I was thinking the opposite. Vertical column + vertical base = no difference in expansion / contraction

- Mark Shultz

Yes, in theory this is true. In reality, the base is likely to move more than the column simply because its a smaller mass of wood & more subject to humidity. Plus, you’ve got the top edge endgrain exposed to the elements.

You’re going to have an issue with movement in a 12” wide board. Are they going outside? Are they 4/4 boards applied over a post? If so, how are you going to address the corners? In a post that wide you can cover the corners with battens or corner moulding. Mitering will not work.

I would apply the base horizontally and use nails. This will allow for movement. DO NOT glue it.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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Mark Shultz

117 posts in 2596 days


#7 posted 08-24-2018 08:50 PM

It’s is definitely outside, and the 12×12 is also decorative /non structural, so hopefully expansion/contraction is the same (but will be large). It will also not be finished, so the caulk idea is out.

Maybe I should put it vertical, and out a cap on it that is horizontal.

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