The finishing touch of any house comes from the minute details that complete the overall charm. Baseboards form an important part of this charm as it covers the joints between the floor and the walls. For people who like to work around the wood shop and need some baseboard replacement, installing them on your own can be the perfect DIY project for the weekend. Cutting out the old ones and installing the new ones may require some handyman skills and will save you a considerable amount of money compared to the professional servicemen. Read more to learn how to install baseboard.
Removal of Old Baseboard
Start by using a utility knife to cut through the paint or caulking which is present at the top edge of the baseboard trim. This ensures that the wall paint doesn’t chip off when you remove the baseboard. With the help of a putty knife, start loosening the baseboard trim from the side of the wall. You must do this gently to ensure that you do not damage the wall or the floor.
You can utilize other flat tools such as a screwdriver to help in the process. As you start removing the trim from the wall by pulling it away, most of the nails will come out with it. Wherever necessary, scrape of the caulking or any other glue that may be attached to the back of the baseboard trim.
Measurement And Cutting Of the Baseboard Trim
Start by measuring the dimensions of the each of the straight walls and round up the length slightly. If you are new to the woodwork, always measure a couple inches more than what is required to ensure a tight fit. When you measure the outside corners of the trim, add extra room about the width of the baseboard. Remember, you can always cut off the extra inches but you can’t add them back on in the same way.
Purchasing the materials for the new baseboard must always include extra trim than the measurements you have written down. This ensures that any human error does not waste the whole trim during the cutting process. Best practice is to buy 10% more trim for the baseboard than you require but an extra stock length would do good too. Buy the baseboards and place them in the house one week before you install them so that they acclimate to the new environment.
Most of the baseboard installation projects comprise of three components which move from the top to bottom of the work scale:
- The cap moldings provide the detailed and ornamental finish to the baseboards and fit on the top of it.
- The baseboard form the bulk weight of the baseboard trims and are usually 6 inches in height.
- The shoe moldings are another ornamental detail which goes at the bottom of the baseboard and forms the finishing touch.
Cutting the outside miter joints is crucial whenever the two pieces of the baseboard trim are meeting outside on the corners. The best results can be achieved with a power miter box which makes the process mechanically efficient to cut the 90 degree outside corner. Cut each of the trim pieces at 45 degrees and match them at the angle to form 90 degrees at the corner. If you are not sure about the angle, make them a little longer so that they can be shortened later on.
For the inside corners of the baseboard trim you can use the same process of the miter joints. But in this case the angle is completely reversed so the forming the perfect angle can be difficult with the miter joint. You can utilize the cope joint in this situation by 45 degree inside cut on the trim and leaving the other end as it is. You can use a coping saw to remove the uneven angle at 45 degree between the two pieces and sand paper to brush off the patches and rough edges.
Once you have completed the cutting and scribing processes, it is time to sand and prime the baseboard. By selecting quality primed materials for your baseboard, you can save a lot of time and effort. However, if you have selected bare wooden material for the baseboard, paint or stain it with primer, allow the primer to dry and then sand the baseboard trim before installation.
Installation of Baseboard and Finishing Touches
Once you have completed the measuring, scribing and cutting the baseboard trims, it is time to install them onto the joints. With the help of a stud finder, find the location of the wall studs so that you can nail through the baseboard into them. By knocking on the wall, you can notice the difference between the hollow areas and studs. With the help of a nail and hammer or an automated nail gun, put the nails below the surface of the baseboard in a downward angle. Full up the nail holes with putty, let it sit and dry and then brush it with sandpaper.
On the outside corners of the baseboard, apply a thin line of adhesive or wood glue to the mitered edges to make sure that the two edges bond firmly. On the inside corners of the baseboard, the adhesive is not necessary if you have used the coping joint to firm the edges together.
Start by installing the shoe molding and the cap molding up you need them for the better finishing look. Tack down the shoe molding and pin them down with nails into the floor. When placing the cap moldings, nail them down into the studs just like the baseboard.
Once the baseboard, cap molding and shoe molding is in place firmly, apply caulking to the sections of the molding wherever wet. Caulking should not only be done on the top of the baseboard trim, but along the outside edges as well as the nail holes. The moist areas of the home, such as the kitchen sink must caulked properly to ensure that the moisture does not erode the baseboard trim. Cover all of the nail holes as well as any other scuffs with wall compound by using your finger before you start the painting process.
The trim of the baseboard should usually be applied with varnish, semi-gloss or glossy paint to bring out the shine. If your baseboard is already painted to the color you want, you can skip this time consuming process and just apply some varnish for the extra glow. Now, we hope you have a fair idea about how to install baseboard.