When it Comes to Trim, What Do You Choose?

primary suite with classy glass pendant lighting in markham aging in place home renovationIf you’ve gone through a major renovation or custom build, you know that one of the easiest ways to reduce costs is by choosing less expensive products. There are hundreds of ways to help keep costs down but in this blog, we’ll just keep it to trim.

Let’s assume that, regardless of the General Contractor you hire, you have the option to select the profile of your trim but, do you have the option to chose the material?

When selecting trim for your house you will have two options: Medium Density Fibreboard (most commonly known as MDF) and wood. Both options are available in many different profiles and provide you with the luxury of choosing pre-painted trim, which can help reduce the costs associated with labour.


MDF is an engineered product, whose main ingredient is wood fibre. The wood fibre is mixed with resin glue, water and paraffin wax.

MDF is less expensive than wood trim – in fact, it is about half the cost and for this reason it’s easy to understand why people often gravitate towards this product. MDF will swell if saturated with water but, of course, if this happens you have a much larger problem at hand.

The biggest down fall to MDF trim is that it dents and chips very easily. The product will look great initially, but in high traffic areas (like a mudroom or an entrance way), and areas where kids play, the product will deteriorate relatively quickly.

Special attention should be paid to those installing MDF trim (or any MDF product). The glue to hold the fibres together is known to have urea formaldehyde which is harmful to lungs when airborne. It’s suggested to wear a mask, and be outside if possible, when cutting MDF products.


With wood being a natural product, it tends to be the more costly option. There are many wood options; however, oak and poplar are two of the most commonly used woods because of their hardness. The harder the wood, the more durable. Oak is one of the hardest woods, with a lot of characteristics and is most commonly stained not painted.

Pine is a softer wood that can be painted or stained. It’s generally stained when people want to have that cottage or country feel.

Because of the natural properties of wood and the hardness it comes with, it is very durable and can withstand years of use. It will look beautiful initially, and keep looking beautiful for years to come – giving you a little more return on your investment.

For your previous our current renovation, were you given the option to choose your trim material or just your profile?

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