Creating a unique wide molding can be a design challenge and stress the budget. But it doesn’t have to be. By using multiple smaller moldings instead of one solid molding, you can stretch your budget and get the same high-end custom look.

What is molding stacking?

The standard width of trim is five inches but many times when choosing baseboards and crown molding, wider options can look attractive. By combining standard molding profiles and shapes that are available off the shelf in stores, it’s easy to build up or “stack” standard profiles. This creates the effect of a single piece of wood several inches wider in almost any style. According to the American Hardwood Information Council “stacked” molding may typically cost hundreds of dollars less than custom-made molding for a single room.

Where can stacked moldings be used?

Built-up moldings can be used anywhere the walls meet the ceiling for crown molding, as well as for chair rails, door and window frames and baseboards. Stacked moldings can also be used to create custom features in a room, such as a fireplace mantel.

How can I combine stock pieces of wood to create a baseboard?

Go to your local hardwood store (or better, just swing by Hardwoods Inc). Look for at least two pieces of stock hardwood that, together, can create the look you want. For a traditional molding, start from the floor with a relatively flat trim board that is four to six inches high. Add a piece of trim molding with a convex or rounded shape (such as a basic quarter-round) at the bottom of the flat trim board. Then top off the flat board with a recessed profile. The finished product should measure six to eight inches high.StackedMouldings_highres

How to combine wood profiles to create a crown molding.

Start by deciding the overall impact and width you are looking for and then look at options to combine. Once you’ve selected the profile layout, write your specification accordingly. The finished product should measure at least six inches and can be as intricate or simple as you can imagine. A crown profile using the stacking method can have anywhere from two molding profiles to five or six.

Whether traditional or contemporary, using stock moldings to create custom solid molding designs is a great solution for any project.


Why can’t I get 14 inch wide moldings from a 24-inch diameter tree?

Standard minimums for upper grade hardwood lumber are 5-inch wide boards. So, asking for a 14 inch wide molding gets quickly problematic. This is where stacking molding from multiple stock profiles is a solid alternative to building a custom molding. But why?

A hardwood tree may be 55 feet tall and 24 inches in diameter, but it will yield boards that are no more than 12 inches wide. Moldings, in turn, will be narrower than that. Larger trees can produce wider lumber, yet wider boards are more difficult to work with because of hardwood’s natural expansion and contraction characteristics, leaving a new set of issues.

Stacking multiple stock profiles alleviates these challenges and provides an economical solution to give a project the unique architectural interest you were looking for.