Often people ask if they should use an adhesive or nails when attaching their baseboards. While in most cases nails are preferred, there are some circumstances that would require a good baseboard adhesive.
I would suggest that if you are using wood trim and nailing into wood, to go ahead and use nails. However, you will still want to have some adhesive handy for joints and cracks. So in truth, a combination will be used almost always, but we are referring to the main source of holding the trim to the wall, not patching and filling. Basically, you should use nails whenever possible. You can use a regular construction adhesive to fill in holes and joints.
But in cases where you would require an adhesive to actually fix the baseboards to the wall, you are going to want to choose your adhesive with care. You are going to need a strong fast drying adhesive. Use something like Titebond© Wood Molding Glue that has a strong initial tack and a fast set speed. Also LiquidNails© makes a good baseboard adhesive.
When to Use a Baseboard Adhesive
Here we will go over some situations that could justify using a baseboard adhesive instead of nails for fixing your baseboard molding to the walls of your home. One situation involves Foam-form concrete houses. Often in these homes you will find that there is not any solid wood to nail into or even screw into. Nails or screws just hit the metal planks and stop or bounce back. This is a prime case where you will use something such as TiteBond or LiquidNails wood molding glue.
Also, some baseboard trim is made of polymers or vinyl that can not practically be painted or patched. In these cases, you do not want to put nail or screw holes in the material because you can not patch it with a caulking or other adhesive. Therefore, you will want to use a baseboard adhesive. You may need to use two by four braces to brace the baseboard moldings against the wall while the baseboard adhesive sets.
That is why you want a fast drying adhesive, because if it takes too long to set, the baseboard is inevitably going to separate away from the wall with time if it is not properly braced along its entire length. A house with cement block or brick walls is another situation where you could use a baseboard adhesive for attaching your new baseboards.
Obviously you are not going to nail into cement, but there are screws that can go into it. However screws into the cement can cause the block to weaken and the screws do not always remain taut. Baseboard adhesives bond especially well to cement blocks making it a wise choice.
Most people would advise you to use nails whenever possible when installing baseboards. However, there are several situations where you will need to use a baseboard adhesive to fix the baseboard to the wall. These situations usually involve a home that has no wood to nail into at the baseboards or trim that you would not want to hammer a nail into or run a screw through.
Also, you will usually use a baseboard adhesive to cover nail holes and cracks in the joints of the baseboards. When using an adhesive to cover nail holes and cracks, it is important to use something that will sand to a smooth surface before painting. If you have any questions about what type of adhesive is appropriate for your job, ask your local do it yourself home supply store where you purchased the baseboard material from, they will be able to advise you what is best for the type of material you have chosen.