Home » Projects » Trim Installation » The Best Trim Installation Tools For DIY or Pro
If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This supports free articles.  Disclaimers.

The Best Trim Installation Tools For DIY or Pro

Installing trim can be a daunting task without the right trim installation tools. For example, figuring out compound angles on crown molding or making an adjustment to the back of trim to fit the wall can be a major headache. In this article learn what tools are available to let you tackle trim installation for a higher quality result.

After installing thousands of feet of trim I’ve found simple tools like a spring loaded nail set make the job go easier (and faster).

And, if you’ve installed trim before, you know that trimming is putting finishing touches on prior trades work. For example, if the sheetrock is higher than the door jamb you’ll need to use an oscillating tool to adjust the sheetrock.  Or, thick corners built up by drywall mud can cause a little extra time with a belt sander.

In this article you’ll learn about trim installation tools that will:

  • Simplify cutting crown molding
  • Drive 18-gauage nails that can easily be hidden
  • Locate studs for a firm trim connection
  • Tricks with a jigsaw for coping trim
  • Sanders that will help “adjust” your trim to the wall
  • A hand applied putty that you simply rub on and wipe off
  1. DIY TRIM JIG: BENCH DOG ANGLE JIG
  2. BEST TO CUT TRIM: DEWALT DWS715 MITER SAW
  3. BEST NAIL GUN:  No products found.
  4. SPRING LOADED NAIL SET: SPRING TOOLS NAIL SET
  5. HIDE GAPS AND HOLES: WIPE-ON COLOR PUTTY

Trim Installation Tools

Based on experience installing trim in my homes, and as a woodworker for 25 years, here’s my recommended trim installation tools:

1. Trim Jig for Doors and Windows

Bench Dog 10-016 Trim-Loc Casement Trim...
417 Reviews
Bench Dog 10-016 Trim-Loc Casement Trim…
  • Trim installation tool for casements, other applications
  • Install trim faster and easier; 8 tools in 1; built-in tape measure hooks
  • Solid polymer construction
  • Includes 1 installation tool; tape measure not included

Last update on 2021-12-05 at 10:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Uses:  

  • Measuring and setting up angles for door jambs and cases
  • Ensuring proper trim setback for evenly spaced jamb reveals

When it comes to accurately setting trim insets and marking angles its a trick the pros have mastered. But if its your first time you’ll want a layout jig like the Bench Dog 10-016 that will help with measurements and setup.

2. Trim Spring-loaded Nail Set

Spring Tools TP1234 Hammerless Trim Pro Pak Set...
1,106 Reviews
Spring Tools TP1234 Hammerless Trim Pro Pak Set…
  • Set or finish any nail, Brad with #1 #2 #3 #4 nail set tips
  • Hammerless action ensures accuracy & precision control for superior results
  • 3,500 lbs. Of impact striking force
  • Outstanding precision & control while safe & easy to use

Last update on 2021-12-05 at 06:43 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Uses:  

  • Quickly set nails that didn’t go all the way into the trim
  • Avoid the trim dings and dents common with a hammer and nail set

There is one guarantee with installing trim: you’ll have nails that won’t set all the way into the trim. 

And the standard approach of a hammer and nail set is fine, but it’s more prone to misses and dents in your trim.

Which is why I use this handy Spring Tools TP1234  trim tool for my trim jobs. Simply set in place, pull back and release. Repeat a few times and you’ll see even 1/2-inch “proud” nails quickly disappear.

3. Cordless Trim nailer to secure trim to the wall

No products found.

I recently upgraded to this cordless Milwaukee trim nailer and it truly makes installing trim easier. From it's lightweight design to no-dent tip a mud room makeover went fast and accurate.

The trim nailer will be the centerpiece of your trim installation tools.

Start with a bad nail gun and you’ll have a frustrating time installing the trim.

Key features to look for:

  • I prefer an 18-gauge nail gun as the holes it leaves are smaller. However, on larger base trim I’ll sometimes revert to a larger diameter 16-gauge nail gun.
  • Cordless is just easier and quieter than air powered
  • Look for a non-mar tip
Lastly, be sure, no matter what your nail gun of choice, to wear eye protection.

4. Crown molding trim installation jig

Kreg Crown Pro Miter Saw Guide -Model KMA2800
121 Reviews
Kreg Crown Pro Miter Saw Guide -Model KMA2800
  • No compound cuts necessary
  • No compound cuts necessary, Curved design matches any spring angle,…
  • Curved design matches any spring angle
  • Angle-finder included

Last update on 2021-12-04 at 19:23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Compound angles like crown molding can be an expensive job for a DIY'er. But a jig like this General Tools crown guide will eliminate the double angle (and pay for itself)

One of the trickiest jobs in trim installation is cutting inside and outside angles in crown molding.And while there are a few tools out there for this – Kreg is a trusted brand name by countless woodworkers. Other considerations:
  • Coping: some professionals prefer a cope machine  to butt the crown into the adjacent piece vs. cutting angles (interior angles)
  • Angle finders are usually needed in homes to find if you’re dealing with a 90-degree or 92-degree corner

5. Miter saw for cutting trim to length

DEWALT Sliding Compound Miter Saw, 12-Inch...
13,216 Reviews
DEWALT Sliding Compound Miter Saw, 12-Inch…
  • Stainless steel miter detent plate of the 12-inch miter saw blade comes…
  • The mitre saw has a precise miter system and machined base fence support
  • Precise miter system and machined base fence support Cam-lock miter handle…
  • Tall sliding fences support 6-3/4-inch base vertically

Last update on 2021-12-04 at 23:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

While this list is starting with larger tools, you can't install trim without a nail gun and a good quality miter saw

I know, this one was obvious. But, if you’re here because you haven’t installed trim before then a miter saw is a must have trim installation tool.

What to look for when buying? Well, consider these 3 general types:

  • An entry level, non-sliding and basic saw can go for $150 and will do the job for most installations without crown molding.
  • However, if you have crown molding or larger base you’ll want to invest in a sliding, compound saw like the Dewalt mentioned above.
  • Lastly, if you’re bought into the Dewalt tool ecosystem then a cordless  Flexvolt Dewalt miter saw  is a great place to look.

6. Stud finder to locate studs and nail trim to

Zircon Stud Finder Pro/DIY 4 in 1 MultiScanner...
3,523 Reviews
Zircon Stud Finder Pro/DIY 4 in 1 MultiScanner…
  • Wire Warning Detection indicates the presence of live, unshielded…
  • Signal strength indicators help distinguish shallower targets from deeper…
  • Ergonomically designed grip allows a comfortable hold on the tool for any…
  • One fully charged 9V battery, not included, is required for the stud…

Last update on 2021-12-04 at 19:23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Uses:  

  • Locating studs to nail trim to the wall.
When it comes to installing baseboard your finished quality WILL be judged by how close the baseboard is hugging the wall. And, while you might not have planned a stud finder as a must-have trim installation tool you’ll want to use one with blue tape to make stud locations when nailing.

7. Portable Air Compressor to power nailers

CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, Pancake,...
13,059 Reviews
CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, Pancake,…
  • The portable air compressor is proudly made in the USA with Global…
  • PORTABLE: 6 gallon capacity maximizes portability and stored air for…
  • NO MAINTENANCE: Durable, oil-free pump of the 6 gallon air compressor is…
  • PRESSURE: 150 Max PSI to ensure adequate cut-inch pressure for a variety of…

Last update on 2021-12-04 at 19:23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Uses:  

  • Powering air nailers to install trim.

When you look at an air compressor two things matter.  First, the less noise the better as it’ll be running in a confined space (under 85 decibels a must).  Second, the cubic feet per minute and holding tank will dictate how many tools you can run continuously.

Tip: the air hose shipped with most units is a throw away as they are short, coiled messes that only work for a small space. Because of that you’ll want a high quality 25′ non-marring air hose. With this hose you’ll prevent marks on walls and trim alike.

8. Portable Shop Vac to cleanup trim tool dust

Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 3 Gallon, 3 Horsepower
482 Reviews
Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 3 Gallon, 3 Horsepower
  • Novel and compact design make it powerful and portable
  • Sealed pressure (Inches of water): 52-inches
  • Electrical rating: 120-volts/60-Hz/ 7-amps
  • Airflow: 80-CFM

Last update on 2021-12-04 at 19:23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Uses:  

  • Cleanup of dust on floor and around miter saw after job is done.

Trim installation tools generate a lot of dust from the saws, wood chips from drilling holes, and sheetrock dust from any minor wall modifications. Therefore, you’ll need a vacuum to cleanup the mess and reach all the hard to reach places. Why not sweep? It raises dust up into the air and creates a larger issue.

9. Miter saw dust hood to prevent dust in the house

Rousseau 5000-L Lighted Dust Solution For Miter...
425 Reviews
Rousseau 5000-L Lighted Dust Solution For Miter…
  • Eliminates dust generated by miter saws and illuminates work surface
  • Interior baffles prevent escape of fine dust
  • Use with shop vac, dust collectors or installed vacuum systems
  • Hood folds into heavy duty carry bag for compact storage and transport

Last update on 2021-12-04 at 23:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

My wife refuses to let me have the miter saw in the house when trimming. 

Why? Well that answer is easy: dust. 

Miter saws generate a lot of it but to have it outside is an incredible inconvenience.

This lighted Rousseau dust hood will work wonders for catching dust and providing a lighted work area for safety and accuracy. Not sure you’ll use it after the trim installation is done? Well, consider it’s a great addition to your garage to not have dust there either.

10. Jigsaw for coping trim during installation

DEWALT 20V MAX Jig Saw, Tool Only (DCS331B) ,...
4,278 Reviews
DEWALT 20V MAX Jig Saw, Tool Only (DCS331B) ,…
  • All-metal, lever-action, keyless blade change allows for quick and easy…
  • All-metal, keyless shoe bevel with detents at 0 degree, 15 degree, 30…
  • 4-position orbital action provides control of cut quality and speed for the…
  • Adjustable dust blower keeps line of cut clear of chips

Last update on 2021-12-05 at 12:53 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Uses: 

  • Use with coping jigs and trim reliefs

A jigsaw comes in handy for cutting corner trim and for use with coping tool jigs. 

When you are looking at a jigsaw there are three features that should be top of mind:

  • First, you want an adjustable “stroke” that allows you to adjust the bite the blade takes with each trip up/down.  For trim this is crucial to avoid chipping the face of the trim. 
  • Second, a smooth bottom is a must. While I usually put a few layers of painters tape on the bottom of the saw to make sure I’m not scratching any surface, having a high quality bottom plate helps.  High end saws with aluminum bases are a great place to look. 
  • Finally, look for a variable speed to let you adjust the speed up or down depending on the wood you are cutting.

11. Oscillating multi-tool to cut off trim ends during installation

DEWALT Oscillating Tool Kit, Corded, 3-Amp, 29...
2,008 Reviews
DEWALT Oscillating Tool Kit, Corded, 3-Amp, 29…
  • POWERFUL 3 AMP MOTOR provides strong performance for cutting and sanding;…
  • QUICK-CHANGE ACCESSORY SYSTEM allows blades and attachments to be changed…
  • DUAL-GRIP VARIABLE SPEED TRIGGER gives users ultimate speed and application…
  • BRIGHT LED LIGHT illuminates dark work surfaces for accurate cutting

Last update on 2021-12-04 at 19:23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Uses:  

  • Trimming shims, removing drywall from tight corners
  • Sanding in tight corners

This might not be used on every installation. But when you need it and have it handy it can be a time-saver for tackling odd cutoff jobs like wood shims in tight corners, cutting back drywall or even trimming off stray nail or screw heads. What’s more this tool is excellent for window and door installation as well for trimming shims and drywall.

12. Portable table saw

DEWALT Table Saw for Jobsite, Compact, 8-1/4-Inch...
3,046 Reviews
DEWALT Table Saw for Jobsite, Compact, 8-1/4-Inch…
  • Portability: Compact size for ease of transportation and storage
  • Easy adjustments: Rack and pinion telescoping fence rails make fence…
  • Variety of cuts: 24.5 inches of rip capacity for ripping 4×8 plywood or OSB…
  • Power: 15 Amp, 5800 rpm motor

Last update on 2021-12-05 at 07:39 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Uses:  

  • Cutting trim and custom wood strips to width.

While 95% of trim installation is straightforward, there are custom trim tasks that benefit from a portable table saw. First, cutting stairway trim in older homes can involve customizing the skirt board. Second, you may find yourself installing the actual stair tread and a table saw is a must for accurately cutting the treads and risers.

You can review my guide to portable corded saws and cordless saws from Milwaukee and Dewalt to see what works best for you.

13. Belt sander

SKIL 6 Amp 3' x 18' Belt Sander with Pressure...
1,922 Reviews
SKIL 6 Amp 3″ x 18″ Belt Sander with Pressure…
  • Pressure control technology warns user when excessive pressure is applied
  • 6.0 A of power sands any type of wood surface
  • Micro-filtration captures and contains fine dust particles
  • Auto track belt alignment keeps belt centered

Last update on 2021-12-04 at 19:23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Uses:  

  • Shaving edges of trim in corners, removing material from back of trim.
Ofter overlooked but a much needed tool, the belt sander comes into play for tricky pieces of trim that need adjusting because of layout issues with the house or drywall that  needs to be corrected.

 

Summary

Hopefully this article was useful in discovering what trim installation tools are available for your upcoming project. Didn’t see something you need? Make sure to add in the comments!

Last update on 2021-12-05 at 10:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Leave a Comment

free wood (knowledge)

All you need to do is sign-up and as a BONUS receive a guide to 300+ lumber retailers (with price lists).

***CHECK YOUR SPAM FOLDER***