How to Measure for Molding and Trim

Instructional Video and Written Instructions for your DIY Cabinet Project

Tools Needed

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Tape Measure

We recommend a second person to help transcribe measurements while you measure for molding and trim.

Cabinet Refacing Vocabulary

Until these are completed, we are willing to work with you over the phone to get proper measurements necessary and to order doors! Please give us a call at 1-844-818-3357 to get started with your DIY Project.

Before We Begin

All molding ordered from Outside the Box comes in 8 foot lengths. When working with molding, because of how many cuts you will need to do, you will end up with a lot of scrap molding. This is because you will be making angled cuts in order to join the molding edges together at the corners. You will end up losing about 6 inches of molding with every single cut you make.

(e.g. 1 stick of molding = 8ft; 2 sticks of molding = 16ft)

Always work left to right, top to bottom.

1. Take Measurements for Crown Molding

The molding that goes on top of the upper cabinets is called the crown molding.

When you’re measuring for your crown molding, you will want to remember that you will lose a significant amount of molding when you make cuts for the corners.

Measure along the upper edge of your upper cabinets from left to right. Round-up to the nearest foot for each measurement. Have your second person write these numbers down as you measure.

Once you measured all of the upper edges of your cabinets, you will need to then round up to the nearest 8 foot to know how many sticks of molding you will need to order. Any extra length will account for that cut-off length we talked about previously. Write this final number down.

2. Take Measurements for Light Rails

The molding that goes under the upper cabinets is called the light rails molding. This molding can be used to hide lighting fixtures fastened beneath the cabinets to illuminate countertops.

The way to measure is similar to the crown molding. Measure along the bottom edge of your cabinets from left to right. Round up to the nearest foot for each measurement. Have your second person write these numbers down as you measure.

Once you measured all of the lower edges of your upper cabinets, you will need to then round up to the nearest 8 foot to know how many sticks of molding you will need to order. Any extra length will account for the cut-off waste. Write this final number down.

3. Take Measurements for Base Molding

The molding that goes between the lower cabinets and the floor is called the base molding.

Measure along the bottom edge of your lower cabinets from left to right. Grab your second person to help with these measurements by holding one end of the measuring tape. Round up to the nearest foot for each measurement. Have your second person write these numbers down as you measure.

Once you measured all of the lower edges of your lower cabinets, you will need to then round up to the nearest 8 foot to know how many sticks of molding you will need to order. Any extra length will account for the cut-off waste. Write this final number down.

4. Take Measurements for Outside Corner

The outside corner is the corner cap molding that goes on the 90° corners of all the cabinets.

Measure along the vertical 90° edges of your cabinets (pointing outwards / not touching the wall), moving from left to right. This is something you will be able to eyeball a bit easier than the other measurements (e.g. these three areas together are about the same height as the full length of cabinets, which I have already measured. Please see video for an example). Have your second person write these numbers down as you measure.

Once you measured all of the vertical 90° edges of your cabinets that do not touch the walls, you will need to then round up to the nearest 8 foot to know how many sticks of molding you will need to order. We are less worried about any cut-off waste for the outside corner cap molding because all of the cuts are straight cuts and the only waste will be from the width of the saw blade. Write this final number down.

5. Take Measurements for the Scribe.

The scribe is the molding that goes up against the wall of all the cabinets. This molding serves the purpose of closing any potential gap between bad walls and the cabinets. Even the best walls are never 100% straight and closing that gap will hide these imperfections.

Measure along the vertical 90° edges of your cabinets that touch the walls, moving from left to right. This is something you will be able to eyeball a bit easier than the other measurements (e.g. these three areas together are about the same height as the full length of cabinets, which I have already measured. Please see video for an example). Have your second person write these numbers down as you measure.

Once you measured all of the vertical 90° edges of your cabinets that touch the walls, you will need to then round up to the nearest 8 foot to know how many sticks of molding you will need to order. We are less worried about any cut-off waste for the outside corner cap molding because all of the cuts are straight cuts and the only waste will be from the width of the saw blade. Write this final number down.