Baseboards cover the joints between the walls and the floor and add a delightful finish to your whole decor. They are usually among the last elements of finishing to be put up after the walls have been painted and walls have been lain, and are useful in protecting the walls from furniture bangs and scrapes.
You can be adventurous and opt to put it up yourself; if you feel inadequate however, simply contact an expert to help. With these few pointers and knowledge on using simple power tools, you can easily remove the old baseboard if there is any, and put up your desired pieces.
What you will need:
❖ Stud finder
❖ Nail gun or hammer
❖ Nail set
❖ Utility knife
❖ Miter saw
❖ Coping saw
❖ Measuring tape
❖ Baseboard molding
❖ Cap and shoe molding (optional)
Remove old baseboard trim (if there is one)
Use the utility knife to cut through the caulk or paint along the top edge of the trim. This is to protect the surrounding paint or drywall from chipping. Use a pry bar to loosen the trim from the wall, gently so you do not damage the wall or floor. Use a screwdriver to help the process along if you need to. Once this is done, pull the trim away from the wall. The nails should come away with it and if not, remove any that are still sticking to the wall. Scrape off any glue left on the wall that could interfere with your new installation.
Take measurements of your wall length
Measure the length to be covered by the baseboard. For better accuracy, measure twice or thrice even, and be sure to note these figures. You do not want to end up wasting resources buying too much material or frustrated at buying too little. Remember to round up each measurement, to account for outside corners, and to get about 10% more than the lengths actually needed to allow for trimming where necessary. Alternatively, get an extra length or two just to be on the safe side.
Select your material
Pick out a baseboard that will complement the design of your home and that will suit your ideal desire. There are numerous designs at your pick. Our architectural molding material, made of polystyrene or polyurethane, is light, easy to handle, and quite durable. It also comes pre-primed and ready to paint.
If you want to avoid mitering or coping the edges, get plinth and corner blocks that fit into inside corners and around outside corners. These will also help to join trims of different widths.
Baseboards will generally have three components; The cap molding fits on top of the baseboard and adds an ornamental finish. The baseboard piece is primarily flat and forms the main part of the installation. The shoe molding, usually placed at the bottom, lies between the baseboard and the floor.
Aim to purchase your material about 48 hours in advance and allow it to sit inside your home for that while. This will give it time to adjust to the temperature and condition of your home.
Prepare your working area
Put dropcloths on the floor to protect your surfaces and move furniture and curtains as far away from the walls as possible. It will probably make your work easier to prepare all the baseboard trim pieces before you install them on the wall. Position them in such a way that if you prefer to do this first, you can paint them at once.
Check that the floor is level
If the floor is not level, it could peek out of the baseboard in some places and look shabby. Use a level to establish if the floor is evenly level. If not, find the lowest point in the room and align a scrap piece of baseboard to the wall from this point. Make horizontal marks every few inches along the top of the board in either direction, always staying level with this line. Join the marks using a chalk line to see where the top edge of the baseboard will lie when you have installed them.
Measure and cut outside corners
Where two pieces of baseboard will meet at an outside corner, a miter joint will be the most effective way to join them. If the corner meets at a 90° angle, cut each piece at a 45°angle and then match them. If you’re not certain of your accuracy, cut the board a bit longer than you actually need and then trim slowly until you achieve your perfect fit. A power miter saw will be most ideal but you can also use a miter box and hand saw. If you opt for the latter, make sure the board is clamped securely to the box.
Choose whether to miter or cope inside corners
Mitering inside corners is done the same way as in outside corners, except that the angles are reversed. The key to a good mitered joint is that they fit perfectly, otherwise they will leave gaps especially when they shrink. However, often you will find that inside corners are not perfectly square and as such, might pose a problem.
To overcome this, cope adjoining boards instead. Start with a 45° cut on the board that you want to cope. The other end will not need to be cut as the coped end will simply overlap the baseboard end. Use a coping saw to cut away at the angled profile that you initially made, leaving the paint line intact while removing the board beneath the line. Work slowly so that you keep to the profile smoothly. Sand away the rough edges to give it a smooth finish.
You can also use a miter saw rather than a coping saw. It is fast but difficult and will need you to practice on scrap boards first before the actual pieces going to the wall.
Other irregular pieces
As mentioned before, your room is unlikely to be perfectly aligned. More often than not, there will be segments that require special attention:
Odd corners- Corners, especially outside corners, that do not a perfect right angle need not worry you. Simply work with scrap pieces, adjusting the angles slowly until you find the correct angle. Once you have found it, set the miter saw to this angle for the boards to install.
Mid-pieces- Some walls may end up being too long for one baseboard to fit all the way through. This will require you to fit two pieces together. In this case, do not butt two straight ends against each other as they may shrink and separate from each other with time. Instead, cut both pieces at overlapping 45° angles so that they fit seamlessly into each other and the shrinkage is less visible.
Ends- Some baseboard ends will butt into an edge such as a door casing, rather than continue around any corner. For these ends, there is no need for any special treatment. Simply cut it and fit it against this object.
Paint the baseboards
As our baseboards come already pre-primed, now is the time to paint them. This preparation will spare you a lot of time on your hands and knees which will make the work much less tedious.
Install the baseboard
Now that you already know how the boards should fit, start with the longest wall length to get the longer section out of the way. Work in one direction and keep to the chalk line you mapped out.
Use a stud finder to locate the wall studs to nail into. If you do not have one, knock on the wall while you listen to separate the hollow spaces from the studs. Sink two nails at every stud at a downward angle, or use a nail gun. Fill the nail holes with putty and allow them to dry then sand them.
Apply a thin line of adhesive at the adjoining mitered edges of outside corners to help them bond better. Adhesive will not be necessary for inside corners if you cope them well.
Install the shoe and cap molding if you need to
If you will have additional trim, tack the shoe molding into the floor with pin nails. If the floors are made of concrete, tuck it into the baseboard instead. Tack the cap molding into studs where they are available.
Apply the finishing touches
Caulk along the top edge, corner edges and nail holes. Tape the wall above and the
floor below the trim before applying paint, if necessary. The tape will allow you to paint easily
without worrying about going over the edges and staining the walls. Be careful to use tape that
will not leave any residue or pull away part of the wall and cause a mess such as blue painter’s
Apply your finishing coat of gloss or varnish. This will be quite slow so you do it right;
have a comfortable kneeling pad so you do not bruise your knees. Whatever you use as your
finishing, apply two coats of it so that it stands out magnificently.