What is Flexible Molding?

S. Mithra

Flexible molding allows you to add trim to window arches, curved walls, and other specialized applications. Unlike fairly inflexible wood molding, flexible molding is made from a polymer resin that can bend without splintering or weakening. At last, architects and interior designers can take advantage of this unique building product to create curves that seamlessly integrate with other millwork.

Baseboards are type of flexible molding.
Baseboards are type of flexible molding.

The composite polymer or polyester resin provides the ideal material for flexible molding. It has been engineered so that it easily flexes or curves in either direction to fit around countless challenging shapes. For softer bends, a do-it-yourselfer can measure the radius to fit. Sometimes, for sharper curves, the manufacturer will pre-bend your selected pieces.

People use this molding around arched doorways, windows, or entry places, and along walls that gently curve, such as a circular stairwell or tower. Of course, this new material opens the door for more creative applications, such as creating a ceiling medallion above a chandelier. Since it bends both back and forth as well as up and down, the possibilities are truly endless.

Of course, you can find flexible molding in nearly every imaginable design and type. A chair rail, baseboard, half-round, cornice, window casement, crown, and quarter-round are all available at your local home improvement store. Make sure to only use flexible molding where the flexing is essential to the project, as it is significantly more expensive than wood millwork.

One of the best aspects of flexible molding is it's superiority to wood in a number of ways. It can be stained, painted, and sealed just as you would ordinary molding, but without having to prime the surface first. It comes with a dull, white finish ideal for other treatments. Secondly, it resists warping, wearing, splitting, or mildewing, so it's ideal for outdoor installation.

Manufacturers recommend treating your flexible molding just a bit differently than your straight molding. For example, you should pre-drill holes, even for finishing nails, to keep it aligned. Also, use a light adhesive along the back of the molding to help ensure tight adhesion.

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Discussion Comments


Could I use flexible trim to cover a seam b/w a floating cork floor and a stone wall (that has an irregular facade)? I won't be able to attach the trim to the floor b/c it needs to be able to expand/contract. Thanks for any suggestions!

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