Recently, my husband and I have been finishing an area of our basement that will become a game room for our son. We were going at a great pace until we started putting up the trim around the doorway. I was so frustrated when I noticed that the drywall was sticking out past the door jamb which caused a pretty decent-sized gap in between the trim and the wall.
We quickly realized that this was not how we wanted it to look. There had to be a way to fix it, we just didn’t know how. So, I started researching it and found out that it is a really common problem and can be easily fixed by trimming down the drywall under where the trim will go to make it sit flush.
After feeling relieved that we had a solution, we got right back to work. The steps to fix it weren’t difficult, but we needed to follow them carefully. We spent hours drywalling, mudding, and sanding so I really wanted to make sure we did this the right way, so the result looked good.
How to Eliminate The Gap
Like I mentioned above, the steps really are not that hard to follow. It is just very important that you are careful because if you aren’t, you could end up making a bigger mess for yourself. There are other ways to cut corners and do this a little faster, but to get this done the right way, follow the following steps.
Measure Where Your Trim Will Go
The first thing you want to do is hold your trim up to where it is going to go. From the side, look at where the trim meets the drywall to visually assess where the gap starts. Usually, this problem is not the whole length of the door jamb, it is only in certain areas. For our door, the gap was visible for about the top third of each side of the door.
While you are holding the trim in place, take a pencil and trace around it in the areas where it has a gap. Stop tracing where the trim lines up correctly with the door jamb and does not need adjustments made. This way when you take the trim off, you know exactly what spots to work on. Make sure you are holding the trim exactly where it will go before you trace it onto the wall.
Make Your Cuts
Next, you want to take a very sharp knife or blade and cut into your traced marks on the wall. Make sure to cut deep enough that you go through the drywall paper and partially into the drywall itself.
Take your time on this step and make sure you make good cuts. You want to stop where your pencil marks stop so you don’t make extra work for yourself. If you are unsure if you cut down far enough, simply hold the trim back in place and see if you need to cut up or down any farther.
Carve Out Some Drywall
This is definitely the messiest part of the project. I would highly recommend covering the floor under your workspace with something to catch as much drywall and dust as possible. I skipped this step and I learned firsthand how big of a mess this makes.
Basically, for this step, you are going to carve out as much drywall as you need so that when you hold your piece of trim up, it will sit flush to the wall. Your trim will actually be inset to the wall in the areas where the wall stuck out past the door jamb.
There are several ways to carve out the drywall. If the gap you are dealing with is really small, some people prefer to peel off just the drywall top layer of paper and see if that is enough to fix the problem. This can take a while but will not make quite as big of a mess.
If the gap you are dealing with is any bigger, you will need to carve out more than just the drywall paper layer. The easiest way to do this is to loosen up the drywall behind the paper with a hammer. Just take a hammer and hit the drywall all over in the area that will be behind the trim that you will be putting up. Be extremely careful not to hit the drywall outside of this area or you will be patching holes for your next project!
Once you have loosened up the drywall, you can easily peel off the paper layer. The chalky part of the drywall will then be exposed. At this stage, you have to gauge how much to take off. We took the backside of the hammer and scraped it over the drywall a few times and then held up the trim to see if it was sitting flush yet. We kept this up until we liked how it looked.
Install the Trim
The hardest part is done, and the mess is made. Now, you can finish the project by putting up the trim. Before you actually nail it in, do one last double-check and make sure that you like the placement, and it sits flush. Make sure that you look at it from the side to see if there is any gap left. If there is, take the time to carve out a little more of the drywall while you already have the mess!
Once you have the trim up there is one last step to take. You want to take a careful look at your cut job from the first step now that the trim is installed. In a perfect world, your cuts will be totally straight and not noticeable at all. But if you are anything like me, some places were far from perfect, and you could tell that I had cut the drywall in those areas. To eliminate this eyesore, simply put a little caulk in the crack before you paint.