Posted on: 14.12.2022 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

Whether you’re building a new home or room, remodeling, or just making a few repairs, baseboards can add a unique touch to the space while also helping to conceal floor edges. Baseboards can add a bit of elegance to a room, but they can also be a safety measure when it comes to hiding carpet tacks.

How high should baseboards be above the floor? This actually depends on a number of factors:

  • What type of flooring are you using?
  • Is it already installed or do you need to make room for it?
  • Are there additional components involved?
  • Is the floor or subfloor even all around?

The answers to these questions will determine whether you can install the baseboard flush against the floor or if you need to leave a gap of up to ½ inch between the subfloor and the baseboard.

I want to go through each question individually and demonstrate how the answers can affect the distance or lack of distance used when installing your baseboards. While the standard is usually a gap of ⅜ to ½ inch, there are factors that can influence this. I want to touch on some of these factors that can make a difference in the required gap. 

The Standard

If you’re just replacing the baseboards without any flooring, most contractors will ask you to leave a gap of ⅜ to ½ inch between the subfloor and the baseboards. This gives them the space they need to tuck your flooring underneath the baseboards. This may be done primarily for aesthetic reasons, but it can also be a safety feature. 

For carpeted floors, there are usually tack strips that help hold both the carpet and the padding in place to get a nice, smooth floor without lumps or bubbles. These tack strips can poke through the carpet and injure bare feet. Often, it’s best to install the baseboards after the carpet has been laid simply because of these tack strips. 

For things like tiles or hardwood, you’ll want to allow a gap of ⅜ to ½ inch so that installers can lay the flooring and tuck the edges under the baseboards. Tiles can be sharp, and the edges can cut if left exposed. Even if there is a small gap between the tiles and the baseboards, it’s usually not noticeable and protects bare feet from cuts.  

If you are installing baseboards before laying the flooring, using a wooden spacer or similar device can help ensure the baseboards are at the required height. Consult your contractor to make sure there is enough gap between the subfloor and the baseboards to ensure your work doesn’t need to be redone. 

What type of flooring?

The type of flooring you want to use makes a big difference in how much space needs to be created. In most cases, you’ll want the baseboard to be flush with your flooring to cover the edges, which can really enhance the aesthetics of your home. Due to the difference in height between the floorings, you’ll need to take the type of flooring into consideration. 

In the case of carpeted floors, the baseboard also becomes a safety feature as it can cover the tack strips at the edges, preventing accidental stapling into a bare or stocking foot. Underneath carpets, there is also padding that can affect the height of the end result, so this also needs to be considered when installing baseboards. 

Whether you’re considering hardwood or ceramic tiles, knowing the thickness of the flooring can make a big difference. You’ll want to make sure the baseboards are above the flooring as installers will want to lay the flooring underneath the baseboards. This allows for a more seamless look and prevents the beauty of the baseboards from being hidden. 

For tiles, there is usually some kind of mortar adhesive used to stick the tiles in place. This also helps prevent them from cracking if the subfloor is uneven in areas, potentially creating voids where the tiles can float. The thickness of this mortar is another aspect to consider when installing baseboards over tiles.  

Is the flooring already installed?

If the flooring is already installed, this can reduce the guesswork as you’ll be placing the baseboard on top of the existing flooring, whether it’s carpet or hardwood. If you’re just replacing the existing baseboards, you should be able to judge where the new baseboards need to be placed based on the placement of the existing baseboards. 

When working with installed floors, the main concern is not the gap but making sure you keep the baseboards level. especially when working with contractors who also have other jobs they’re working on. If you can wait until the flooring is installed, that’s preferable. 

Are there additional components for the flooring that need to be considered?

Additional components such as underfloor heating also need to be taken into consideration as this can alter the height of the actual flooring above the subfloor. While this may not be an issue for most DIYers, those with experience in renovations or constructions should consider this point as it can affect the height of the baseboards.

Is the existing surface level?

Whether you’re looking at the floor or the subfloor, you’ll want to make sure everything is as level as possible. By taking the extra time to ensure this, you’ll ensure you have a level baseboard in the room when needed by using a spacer to maintain a level run.  

This is very important, and I learned how important it is when a friend decided to renovate his floors. He forgot to check the leveling before applying the resin coating and later found out that while it looked level, it certainly wasn’t. On the other hand, we had a good laugh as we watched that marble seemingly whirl around on its own. 

When the new flooring is installed, your contractors will probably do everything they can to ensure everything is as level as possible, but that’s not always the case. With carpeted floors, it can be difficult to level things too much, but with floorings like tiles, a little extra mortar can help keep things level. 

Final considerations

If you’re just making repairs, like replacing parts or even all of your existing baseboards, you may not need any building permits as you’re essentially not doing much more than just repainting a room. Replacing existing baseboards could easily be considered a home repair and not something that requires permits. 

However, it’s always a good idea to check with your local community or municipal government to make sure there are no regulations you’re unaware of when it comes to such matters. It’s possible that regulations have changed or been introduced since the installation of the original baseboard, which you’ll want to familiarize yourself with just to be on the safe side.

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