Tips for Choosing Window Casings

Add the finishing touch to your windows with these tips for picking casings.

CI-Anderson-windows-and-doors-office_s4x3 Photo courtesy of Anderson Windows and Doors

Casings are the moldings that go around the window frames. They are installed outside the house to seal the window frame to the house blocking cold air from entering the interior.

Inside, casings are the finishing touch to a window installation, the same as baseboards and door moldings finish off a room. They generally match the same moldings used in those applications so the room has a cohesive look. Outside, casings match the style of the home so there are countless designs to choose from.

Traditional homes tend to have simple casings flanked by shutters on the sides. Victorian-style homes might feature thicker and more elaborate carved designs in keeping with the gingerbread look that often appears on these types of homes.

Here are the most common types of casings.

Complete Casing

Moldings that surround all four sides of your windows are often called complete casings. They can be a simple layer of molding or multiple layers made up of stacked moldings that trim out the windows, making them appear more decorative and appealing. Interior casings often match or complement the interior moldings inside the rest of your house.

Low-Profile Casing

Mostly utilitarian rather than decorative, a low-profile casing that lays flat against the siding of your house or the interior walls lends a finished look and helps visually tie the window to the house. It blocks cold air from entering the house and keeps warm, heated air inside the house.

Simple single-layer casings cost about $5 per foot.

High-Profile Casing

These types of casings offer the most options. They can either surround the entire window or sit as a pediment above the window. Many companies now offer plastic or composite materials that are ready-made and offer the look or layered moldings without the carpentry skills needed to construct a layered look.

These one-piece casings can be combined to beef up the look. They look especially fitting on classic homes, like traditional and Victorian styles.

Costs vary, but they generally run about $10 per foot for basic styles. More elaborate layered looks and combinations up the cost.

Modern Casings

Minimal and clean lined, modern casings often match the color of the wood or material of the rest of the window, blending in rather than standing out. On modern homes, the glass takes center stage in the design of the windows rather than the moldings.

Costs run from about $1 to $5 per foot.

Traditional Casing

Simple in style, traditional casings are similar to low-profile casings in that they generally suit older homes and lay flat against the exterior and interior walls. They can be made up of a single layer of wood or composite material and often sport a simple design, such as a simple stool molding supported by an apron along the bottom of the window, a slightly protruded header molding and perhaps a more decorative or fluted column design flanking the window frame.

Costs vary but expect to pay about $1 to $5 per foot for this type of casing.

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