How to Cut Trim Angles

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Good-looking trim can turn any and all rooms into what feels like a work of art. It really is the perfect final touch on the walls of a house and adds a lot of personality and class when done right.

Although the end product is usually quite lovely, the act of getting the trim cut and fitted for certain angles of a room can be quite tricky and annoying.

What You’ll Need

Before you get started cutting trim for the angles of your home rooms, you will need to gather the tools and supplies you will use to get the project done.

Thankfully this is a do-it-yourself process that isn’t that complicated nor does it require too much work or too many tools. This is something that you can do with power tools that you actually might already have in your tool box, even if it’s gathering dust.

Compound miter saw

Essentially, the most important items you will need to cut trim angles are:

  • Trim
  • Goggles
  • Safety Gloves
  • Compound Miter Saw

You can see the inclusion of the compound miter saw. This might not be a tool that you have on hand, as the compound miter saw is a lot more robust than using your standard miter saw.

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Using a compound miter saw really is a great way to make the entire at-home operation so much easier and is highly recommended. Using any other type of saw will create more complications and make the entire process much trickier.

Read our miter saw review guide if you need any guidance.

The other items are equally as important, especially the gloves and goggles. These two things keep you safe and that is very vital, especially during this project that includes a lot of sawing and cutting. That last thing you want is to have an accident and cause a cut or have something fling at your eye when you least expect it.

How to Cut Trim Angles

The whole point of cutting trim angles is to make every corner of your house look uniform, professional, and classy. This can be done by assuring that the trim at the base and top of every room looks custom-made and perfectly fitted for the room. We have all seen a house where the trim looks off, unkempt and cut incorrectly.

That is certainly a look you want to avoid.

Following these steps will ensure that your house looks exactly the way you want it to.

  1. Decide on your Cut. Obviously you won’t be able to get far if you don’t know the angle you need to cut. Typically the most common angles for interior trims are 90 and 135 degrees. So you must make sure you have the right angle before you start taking the next steps. There are several ways to do this, including online digital sheets that will walk you through the process so you know which angle you are cutting for. In all likelihood, you will probably use one of the two angles we mentioned above.
  2. Put on your Safety Goggles. As mentioned, your safety is the most important part of any DIY construction project. So it is vital that you make sure you have your bases covered and you are safe as can be. Now is the time to make sure your eyes and hands are protected so make sure to put your goggles and gloves on before you move onto the next step and fire up the saw. This is only the second step in the process but it is the most important one. Safety first!
  3. Cut the Trim. Here is the most important part of the entire process. Now it is time for you to cut the trim to the exact specifications. It is all riding on this so you want to make sure your trim is perfectly lined up with the compound miter saw. You will want the trim flat against the saw. The ease of a compound miter saw makes this part of the procedure so much easier and you will be able to slice through the trim with complete ease.
Trimming angles with compound miter saw

Angled Cuts

For a perfect 90 degree corner, you are going to be making a 45 degree cut for the trim. Swing the blade of the miter saw 45 degrees to the left and place the first piece of the trim upside down on the saw with the scrap end to the right. Make sure the piece of trim is secure and safe before you start to make your incision.

You are actually making two cuts, each at the 45 degree angle. When these two cuts are placed together, they will line up and make a solid 90 degree corner. Of course this only works if you are extremely accurate so it is very important that when you are using the saw, you are making solid and smooth cuts.

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If done correctly and accurately, your trim cuts will be smooth and ready to be implanted into the wall. They will fit together like two puzzle pieces, both 45 degrees creating a perfect 90 degree angle.

Square Cuts

Keep in mind that not all trim cuts will be 90 or 135 degree angles. Some will be rather straightforward and simple. These parts of the trim will need you to just make a solid, smooth cut with your saw. Creating a long piece of trim that will be placed and installed next to another.

In fact, this will be the majority of the trim in your house. Most of the house’s bases and ceiling will consist of long tracks of trim that are straight. It is still incredibly important that you keep the trim cuts straight though.

Just because you aren’t doing many corners doesn’t mean you can be sloppy with the saw.

Other Options

There are other ways for you to cut and install trim angles in your home. A perfect cut that aligns exactly as it should isn’t the only way to get the trim properly set up. Here are just a few other ways that you can set up your trim, even in the trickiest of spots in your house.

  • Outside Corners. Outside corners, or outside miters, are cuts of trim in a room that are facing outward, not inward like many angles. You will see these often around the base of a chimney, for example. The process of cutting this type of trim is similar to the procedure we listed above. You will still be cutting the trim at a 45 degree angle so the two pieces line up and make a perfect 90 degree cut. However, the pieces will be facing outward, not inward.
  • Using a Coped Joint. A coped joint is a cheap hardware item that can help shave off excess trim and make a tighter fit when you are putting two pieces together. In fact, a coped joint is probably a smart addition to your tool box and can definitely make this entire process easier. It cannot do the complete task though, you will still need the compound miter saw. But this can definitely be a big assist, especially for tight final touches.
  • Corner Blocks. Corner blocks are incredibly helpful decorative pieces that come in very handy when you have made a cut that is, let’s say, maybe not 100% perfect. These blocks go between the two angled cuts of trims and add a flourish of personality and artistic style. They also cover any slight imperfections that may have been made if the cut with the saw wasn’t completely accurate. These block can be found at most hardware stores and actually sometimes look a lot better than a corner without one.

As you can see, cutting trim for your home isn’t always as complicated as cutting angles. It also can be more complicated sometimes too. The end results will be the best reward you could get. It will make your home feel more lived in, most professional looking and almost always looks great.

Conclusion

Cutting trim angles isn’t the easiest, simplest process but it is definitely something that most homeowners will have to become acquainted with. Although a lot of people don’t think about it, trim can really add a lot of charm to a home and is a nice, little touch that can take your home’s interior to the next level. Cutting it to fit perfectly requires a little work but sometimes the most important jobs with the greatest results do.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.