Josh Carlson
Josh Carlson

At Treasured Spaces, we bring serious value, quality and attention to detail to every home remodeling or new construction project we take on. With a sense of pride and integrity, years of experience and first-class professionalism, we’re the local contractor you can trust to get the job done on time and on budget.

No, we’re not talking about how to cope after a long day at work with a bottle of wine or pack of beer. Instead, we’re talking about how to make your trim look good through a little handyman secret called coping. 

One of the biggest problems you’ll have if you’re trimming your home is trying to get the trim to lineup correctly on corners. This can be quite frustrating, but why exactly does this occur. Well, with drywall or wood wall bases, you’re not going to have a perfect 90-degree corner. It’ll usually vary somewhere a little lower or a little higher than that. 

Luckily, there is a process to help your trimming look good in these difficult spots and it’s called coping. 

Coping 101

For a quick example to demonstrate how and why coping is necessary, you can take two basic pieces of 1×4 and cut the ends of one of them slightly off from a 90-degree angle using a miter saw (which you will need for this project). Line them up together and then take two pieces of miter base shoe that ARE cut at 45-degree angles. If you try and fit those two pieces together on the inside of the fake corner (the two 1x4s), you’ll see that they don’t fit perfectly. There will either be a gap in the front or back. 

Notice the gap in the front of the shoe bases. 

Now, you could keep trying to cut your base shoes so that they are at the exact angle as the corner you are trying to attach the trim to, but that can be a long, frustrating process and by the time you finally cut it right, you might be only left with a sliver of trim. 

This is where coping comes in. Set your miter saw up at a 45-degree angle and chop the end of the shoe base trim. Easy enough, right? After that, you need to grab a coping saw, which you should be able to find at a local hardware store, Home Depot, or Lowe’s.

Using your coping saw, cut with the teeth point down and start to cut into the base of trim right along the inside edge of the 45-degree angle (it will help to watch the video for this part). Finally, clean up your shoe base with a round file, which will help make your cut a perfect fit for the other shoe base you’re attaching it to. Once you cope one of the pieces it should fit like a puzzle piece, leaving no gap.

How your trim should look after the coping process.

For Larger, More Elaborate Pieces of Trim…

For this example, we’re going to look at a piece of trim that features a profile (decorate belly with curvature). When it comes to coping pieces like this, take your miter saw and cut into the tip of the trim at roughly a 20-degree angle. However, only cut into the trim until you reach the beginning of the profile. Snap off that piece of trim and grab your coping saw and do the exact same thing as what you would do with the smaller base shoe. Then, clean it up with a file once more (definitely watch the video for this part as well). 

That’s all for this handyman secret. Keep in mind, whenever you’re stuck on a home remodeling or renovation project, calling in some professional help is always a smart answer. When it comes to getting the project done right, trust in no one more than Treasured Spaces. Contact us today if you need some help with some of the more difficult details of your home! 

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Josh Carlson
Josh Carlson

At Treasured Spaces, we bring serious value, quality and attention to detail to every home remodeling or new construction project we take on. With a sense of pride and integrity, years of experience and first-class professionalism, we’re the local contractor you can trust to get the job done on time and on budget.

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