Posted on: 13.10.2023 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

Choosing the right baseboard for your new space can help tie theme and style together. There is a wide selection of baseboard options to choose from, including shape, material, color, and height of the baseboard. Some of the most eye-catching modern aesthetics include no baseboard at all.

Baseboards help transition flooring materials to wall materials and conceal unsightly lines. Removing baseboards from your interior design requires more installation work and skill. The contractor must be very precise and clean when installing floors and walls. This could increase your overall construction costs.

What follows is an overview of why you should have a baseboard, options to choose from, and how to eliminate baseboards for a modern look.

Why Are Baseboards Installed?

Homeowners install baseboards to give their home a finished and complete appearance. With common or basic construction materials, baseboards and trim help hold everything together. They also conceal unsightly imperfections in the transition between floors, walls, and ceilings. Without baseboards, most homes look cheap or poorly constructed.

If your home is new, you may not see any cracks or wavy lines in your corners. You might wonder if baseboards are necessary. Over time, cracks may occur due to foundation settling or expansion and contraction. These cracks are not usually visible as they are concealed by the baseboards.

Baseboards also prevent walls from being damaged by moisture. Spilled liquids or leaks that hit the floor can seep into the drywall. Drywall is a very porous material that can easily be destroyed by moisture. Even wiping can leave stains and water spots. Painted wood, MDF, or plastic baseboards create a barrier between the drywall and the floor.

The right angle that the baseboard provides to the floor is also easier to clean. Dust and dirt can easily fall into the crevices between the floor and the wall. Baseboards prevent this from happening.

How Different Flooring Cuts Walls

Different types of flooring cut your walls differently. Some homeowners install the baseboards underneath the finished flooring, while others attach them above the flooring. Most commonly, the bottom of the baseboard rests on the finished floor or appears to rest on the finished floor.

Baseboards can be installed either before or after carpet installation. Installers say whoever is there first has an easier time installing their surface. Carpet installers can lay the carpet up to the wall. If the baseboard installer arrives there first, the baseboard can be laid close to the subfloor or the thickness of the carpet can be increased. When considering the finished height of the baseboard, be sure to consider the thickness of the baseboard that may be concealed.

Walls covered with tile usually do not have baseboards, but if they do, the baseboards cannot be secured with nails. The baseboards must be attached with adhesive. If the finished floor is tiled, the baseboard should cover the cut edge of the tile. A tile installer will not be able to put mortar between the tile and the baseboards without the mortar cracking over time. The baseboard should ideally be installed after the tile to allow for proper grouting between the tiles.

Expansion and Contraction in Homes

Materials in your home expand and contract with the seasons. Heat causes many materials to expand. Moisture often accompanies high temperatures, which can also cause materials to expand. Cooler temperatures and drier weather, however, can cause materials to shrink.

This expansion and contraction over time can lead to cracks and surface treatments. If you have ever noticed hairline cracks in the corners of your building or around windows or door frames, this is the likely cause. The natural settling of your home’s foundation can also lead to minor shifts throughout the entire house.

Baseboards can help hide some of the cracks that occur at the floor level where they are required by law. You need to be very careful about detailing the appearance of baseboards.

When Were Baseboards?

Baseboards in modern style can be traced back to some types of ancient Greek architecture. But baseboards as we know them became more popular during the Victorian era. With the rise of the middle class, more and more homeowners wanted their homes to look more artistic and expensive. Previously, baseboards and other trim pieces were only found in expensive homes.

In the past, baseboards could be made from hand-carved wood or hand-shaped from plaster. Making these pieces was expensive and time-consuming, so most homeowners could not afford to add these elements to their design.

At the time of the Industrial Revolution and especially after the World Wars, builders needed a simpler way to build homes quickly and without compromising on a finished and well-appointed house. Baseboards and other trimmings were detailed with intricate patterns to add shine to otherwise plain plaster and hardwood floors.

Modern construction technology has made baseboards much more affordable and accessible to homes of all styles.

Different Types of Baseboards

Far removed from the intricate trims of the Victorian era, options for modern baseboards fit a variety of home styles and needs. When selecting a baseboard type, consider what style you want your home to have.

Older homes in historic neighborhoods may lean towards traditional baseboard patterns and installations. Homeowners of contemporary suburban homes may consider either traditional or modern styles. Mid-century or modern style homes should venture into clean, simple baseboard styles or choose a no-baseboard look.

Different Baseboard Profiles

Several options are available for the shape. Size and height of your baseboards. You may be able to achieve your desired style with a single piece of baseboard. Some looks may need to be built up from multiple pieces.

The base part may be used alone or in combination with a shoe molding and a base cap. The shoe molding is a small piece that goes in front of the base and covers where the base meets the floor. The base cap sits on top of the base and covers where the base meets the wall.

Flat baseboards have no decoration, bevel, or designs. The edges are square. This profile can sit on top of the wall or be recessed into the wall to achieve a baseboard look. You can choose whether to leave the baseboard in a contrasting color, such as stained wood or striking white or black. For the no-baseboard look, baseboards can be painted the same color as the walls.

Clamshell baseboards have a rounded bevel on the top edge of the baseboard. This style is a simple single piece that is easy to install, clean, and suitable for future repairs or renovations.

Adorned baseboards can have any number of miter cuts and chamfers to create a unique and intricate profile. They can be purchased in a selection of pre-cut styles or a carpenter can create a custom profile for you. This style is typically used in more historical or classic homes. Years after installation, homeowners may have difficulty finding precise matches to store-bought baseboards. However, most profiles can be replicated using woodworking tools.

Baseboard Materials

Baseboards are usually made from wood. Pine and oak are common, but other woods can be used as well.

Modern options for baseboard materials also include vinyl, urethane, PVC, and MDF.

MDF is a type of engineered wood made of wood fibers and adhesives. MDF baseboards cost less than traditional wood. However, they are less durable and prone to swelling when exposed to moisture. Priming and painting can protect the composite material from normal wear and tear.

Vinyl baseboards are flexible and waterproof and useful for high-moisture areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. They create a seam between walls and floors. It is ideal for high-traffic areas, including areas that are frequently wiped. Vinyl baseboards are most commonly used in commercial spaces, less frequently in residential homes. Best to use a hairdryer to bend the vinyl around corners for a seamless look.

PVC and urethane baseboards are also useful for moisture-prone areas like garages and outdoor areas. They can come in shapes resembling traditional styles. claims they expand and contract less than wood, making them less prone to cracking. These types of plastic baseboards can be screw-mounted, using plastic caps to hide the screws before priming and painting.

Selecting the Right Baseboard Height

Be sure to choose a baseboard height that is proportionate to your room’s height. Unless you opt for a no-baseboard look in a modern home, baseboards that are too short or too tall will look awkward in your space.

Baseboards for 8-foot high ceilings should be between 3 and 5 inches tall, while 10-foot ceilings require baseboards that are 5 to 7 inches tall. Other rules of thumb suggest comparing your baseboard height with your casing and crown molding. Baseboards should be higher than the trim around your doors and windows. But it should be proportional to the crown profile, if applicable.

For baseboards with a height of 5-7 inches, you may consider a fully flat baseboard or using a flat baseboard with a shallower base cap. Taller baseboards consume more materials and are generally more expensive. The details should be proportional to the overall size. Small miters used on shorter baseboards will be less noticeable on taller heights.

Creative Ideas for Baseboards

If you don’t like either traditional or modern baseboard styles, consider some creative options.

  1. Use untreated construction lumber, hand-planed boards, or even tree trunks for a rustic look.
  2. Metal channels, angle iron, or pipes fit into an industrial style
  3. Ceramic, porcelain, or even mosaic tiles work as long as they are not grouted to both the floor and the wall.
  4. Leftover building materials, such as hardwood planks from your floors
  5. Stones, either rough-hewn, river rock, or polished
  6. Brix, bricks, or other children’s building blocks for a kid’s room or playroom

You don’t have to buy baseboards marketed and sold as baseboard materials. As long as they fit your home style and function for your needs, feel free to think outside the box!

How to Install Baseboards

Installing baseboards can be simple and straightforward. But if walls have uneven spots and dips, baseboards can accentuate the imperfections. Floors that are not level can make it difficult to align your straight baseboards in the room. Here are a few tricks to help you achieve clean, professional lines when installing your baseboards.

Most baseboards are stapled in place by nailing them into the studs of the wall. Small brads should be used for the nails as the head is very small. Wood filler or paint can easily cover the hole left by the nail.

Sometimes baseboards are attached with adhesive. However, adhesive makes it more difficult to remove the baseboards for renovations or repairs and can damage the drywall.

Leveling Baseboards on Uneven Floors

If the floor is uneven, the baseboard will lift when it touches high spots and become uneven. To level the baseboard with the floor, use a technique called scribing. Scribing transfers all the unevenness of the floor onto the baseboard.

To scribe your baseboard, temporarily tack it into place or have a friend hold it straight. Check the level with a 4-foot level. Then use a compass to trace the floor’s unevenness. The pen will draw a line on the floor as you sweep with the other side of the compass over the floor.

After tracing the line, use a circular saw to cut the baseboard, following the waves and curves. Once you have cut your board, you can install it to have the top edge of the baseboard level. Be sure to account for leaving a small gap between the baseboard and your finished flooring. If you install the baseboard before installing your surfaces, be sure to leave enough depth for the flooring to fit under the baseboard.

Closing Wall Gaps With Adhesive

Since baseboards are higher than thick, unfortunately, it is more difficult to cut a length of the baseboard using the scribe method to level wall imperfections. However, most baseboards are flexible enough to bend.

To close gaps due to wall irregularities, use adhesive to bond the gap together. After you have temporarily tacked the baseboard in place with the pins, add adhesive to the back. Then use shims or blocks as wedges at the bottom of the baseboard to force the baseboard into contact with the wall. Allow the adhesive to dry completely before removing the shims.

Thicker baseboards require a little more work. Minimize gaps by sanding down the back of your baseboard. This requires a bit of trial and error. You may also need to sand the drywall, especially if the irregularities are caused by a build-up of mud and tape. If the gap still remains, however, fill the gap with caulk. Be sure to purchase caulk that can be painted over, helping minimize the appearance of the gap.

Repairing Worn or Damaged Baseboards

Since the main purpose of installing baseboards is to serve as a buffer or protection for your walls, they are often worn, dented, or damaged by normal wear and tear. However, repairing or replacing worn baseboards is easier than frequently cutting, patching, and painting damaged drywall.

Hiding damage to baseboards is easy. Dents and scratches in painted wooden baseboards can be easily filled with wood filler and repainted. Stained wood finishes may be slightly trickier to repair. With a little bit of finesse, that same wood filler, stain, and fresh varnish can make most damage go unnoticed by guests.

If the damage is deeper than can be remedied with wood filler or if you have an alternative baseboard material, you may be able to replace small sections of the baseboard.

Replacing Sections of Baseboard

Baseboards are typically installed in sections. One wall length may have one or multiple sections of baseboards. If you want to replace a small portion of damaged baseboard, start by examining how the baseboard was installed.

According to HomeGuides, you should be able to cut a small section using an oscillating saw, a reciprocating saw, or even by hand. Be cautious while cutting to avoid cutting the drywall behind your baseboard, at least where you would see it above the baseboard. If the baseboard is nailed to the studs, you can use a pry bar to pull the section of baseboard away from the wall.

If the baseboard is glued or gaps have been filled with putty, you may need additional tools. Use a utility knife, razor blade, or chisel to score the glue and slowly separate it from the wall. Apply gentle pressure with the pry bar while working. Use a heat gun to soften the glue but be careful not to damage your floor surface in the process

Leave a Comment