Adding moulding to any project adds a finished touch that looks professional and complete. Unfortunately, there is more to moulding than chopping a piece of wood and slapping it on the wall. The art of creating a return (or how the face of the trim returns to the wall) is a giant pain in the neck. But, it IS necessary so let’s talk about how to do it.
I recently had to take care of this mess.
Yes it is totally awful. In my defense, there used to be a gate here and you couldn’t tell that it looked like this…really….you couldn’t. Alas, my babies are too old for gates now and I was left with this for way. too. long.
We desperately needed to add a threshold to this space but it needed a little prepwork first. The tile needed to be cut back a bit so we used an oscillating tool fitted with a tile blade to trim it. I held my breath the entire time. I had visions of the tiles cracking and this becoming a much bigger project! Thankfully that didn’t happen.
We used construction adhesive and 2.5″ nails to keep the bullnose threshold in place.
And then comes the tricky part I want to tell you about. Adding a return on moulding can get a little confusing, but it is especially important when you have a rounded or stacked edge.
For this project we were working with the rounded edge of the bullnose threshold we purchased. A flat end wasn’t going to cut it.
How To Create A Moulding Return
When you have any moulding, whether it be rounded, square or beveled edge, the return gives you the seamless, finished edge you desire. It isn’t all that physical but angles make my brain hurt. Thankfully I can usually search my brain for high school geometry and I can figure it out, it just takes a little time.
Let’s look at what we are trying to accomplish.
Unfinished, bumpy wood grain particle filled cut ends are not what you want. Take a look at the floor moulding. This is not ideal and is not pretty!Yes that is a gum wrapper. I told you it’s been like this way too long, I’m not proud of it.
The end of the moulding will need to be cut at a 45° angle before you put it in place.
You will be trying to get a small piece of wood cut to fit the remaining space. Small cuts can sometimes go flying so keep others clear and wear all your necessary safety equipment.
The first cut you need is a 0° (flat) cut on the edge that will touch the wall. To do this, take a reasonably sized piece of whatever trim you are using, and cut the end flat.
Measure the void.
The portion of the bullnose I was working with was only 1″ off the wall. That is the measurement I used to mark my return piece to be sure I cut the angle to end at the 1″ mark.
Cut your angle.
The return portion will need to be cut at 45° in the opposite direction from the main portion you have already attached to the wall.
This is the part that always confuses me because it looks like the angles would be cut in the same direction, right? But I promise, they are opposite.
Attaching these tiny pieces can be a little tricky. Sometimes they are so thin that nailing them in place ends up with a cracked piece and that’s no fun.
Construction adhesive can usually do the trick for this. I love one brand in one certain tube and you can find it by clicking here.
Even the best carpenters (which does not include me) end up with imperfections. That gap can be filled with some stainable/paintable caulk and it will hardly be noticeable.
One more thing off the to do list!
Don’t forget to pin for later!