Baseboard installation

Tools required for baseboard installation

– miter box or electric miter saw

– hammer

– nail set

– tape measure

Materials required for baseboard installation

– baseboard

– finish nails

– calk and or spackle

Baseboard installation preparation

Reaction of drywall boards and finishes to a s...

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Whether your baseboard installation requires painting or staining, it’s best to finish the wood before you install it. When applying the finish be sure to coat all sides of the baseboard. This will seal the wood from moisture, preventing the wood from warping and rotting. If you don’t seal the back side, you’ll have a potential for moisture penetration.

Nailing preparation for baseboard is really pretty simple. The wall consists of bottom plate, top plate, and studs between them. The studs are normally 16” or 24” on center. The bottom plate runs the entire length of the wall. The studs and the bottom plate are each 1 ½” thick. Meaning you’ll have 1 ½” to nail to when nailing on a stud and 1 ½” up from the bottom of the wall, this is the bottom plate. Nailing will be discussed in the installing baseboard section. To find a stud in your wall you may use a stud finder. These are relatively inexpensive. However, if you don’t have one, or don’t want to purchase one there are other ways. Get one of your and a hammer and tap nail with in the bottom 1 ½” of the wall. You should hit the bottom plate anywhere on the wall. Now hold a piece of trim against the wall where you’ll be installing it. Use a pencil and lightly draw a line on the wall at the baseboard height about 3‘ long. Remove the molding. About ½” inch below the line tap the finish nail through the wall board. Didn’t hit nothing? Move nail to the left or right staying about ½” below the pencil line. Repeat process until you hit a stud. When you find a stud, you need to find the left and right side of it. Use the nail and hammer and move a little to the right until you don’t hit the stud. Measure back 1 ½” and drive nail. This should be both sides of the stud. Find the center by measuring ¾” to the center of your edge marks. From the center mark measure 16” to the left or right and drive the nail, staying below the pencil line. If you don’t hit a stud, measure 2’ (feet) from original center of first stud. Drive a nail. You should have hit a stud one of the two measurements. If not adjust nail to the right or left of the 16” or 2’ mark a little and try again. Sometimes the studs are off a little. It’s best to find your studs now, instead of while your nailing the molding. Mark the suds with a piece of tape on the floor. The hole in the wall board will be covered up by the trim. A bunch of holes in the molding is a little harder to cover up. With stained wood, It’s impossible.

Cutting baseboard molding

The tools of traditional caulking; Caulking ma...

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There are two ways to cut baseboard molding. A miter joint, made with an electric miter saw or a miter saw and coping saw. Inside corners can be made with just a miter saw or once it is mitered you can cope it with a coping saw. Outside corners and joints where the total length of the baseboard won’t extend the total length of the wall, will be mitered. Outside corners with a 90 degree angle require a 45 degree angle cut on each piece of crown. Totaling 90 degrees. Lapping joints where the wall is longer than the baseboard molding, is usually cut at 22.5 a degree angle. One angle is cut at a back 22.5 degree angle. The other is cut at a forward 22.5 degree angle. How do you decide witch is witch? You cut the forward angle where the joint is most visible. Entering a room is where you see most imperfections. You start at the opposite end of the room and work toward the area where people will enter the room. The main thing is you realize the joint is more visible from one angle verses the opposite.

Installing baseboard

You have already found the backing (bottom plate and wall studs) for the baseboard to nail to. You’ll be using finish nails that will penetrate through the baseboard, wall board and into the stud or bottom plate. This is typically ½” for the drywall 3/8” for the baseboard and a minimum of 1” penetration into the stud. This equals out to 1 7/8” long nail. A little longer is better than shorter. If the thickness of the baseboard or wall board is different than above adjust according.

The baseboard should be nailed approximately every 16” along the bottom into the bottom plate. If there are any gaps between the baseboard and the wall, place a nail into the stud closest to the gap. Do this on all gaps. If there are no gaps, bottom plate nailing should be sufficient.

Finishing up baseboard installation

Man putting caulk on baseboard

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New baseboard installation was a great idea. It really dressed up the room, but you have a few imperfection

s your not happy with. Maybe your joints in the mid

dle of the wall didn’t turn out per

fect or your inside and outside joints could be a little more precise. Does your trim fit tight up against the wall? What do you do about the nail holes in the baseboard. If the molding has primed and painted, the best way to conceal these imperfections is to calk them. Calk shrinks, so you might want to do it twice, if the gap is very much. Spackle is a great filler when the wood is not going to shrink or be bumped aroun

d. If it does you’re going to see a crack. Spackle itself has minimal shrinkage. Caulk on the other hand shrinks, but has elasticity properties. I usually use caulk for joints and spackle for nail holes. For me this is efficient and has a great appearance. Let the caulk and spackle dry. Spackle can be sanded if needed. Caulk can not be sanded. If there is any excess calk wipe with a damp

cloth to remove before the calk dries.

If the baseboard has been stained and varnished, you’ll need to use wood putty. This can be used in the nail holes and on the joints. If there are any gaps between the wall and the baseboard, there is really not to much you can do. They do make different colored caulks, but its not advisable to use between wall and trim. The wall should be straight to install stained wood.

Use paint or stain and varnish to touch up any imperfections (spackled nail holes, caulked joints or blemishes).

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