Once you get down the basics of installing baseboard, you will realize it is not all that difficult, but it does take the right tools, time, patience, and sometimes a good deal of determination. And if you do not have good hand/eye coordination, no matter how hard you try to do just about any type of carpentry work, well you better think about getting into some other field. But if you do find that you are pretty handy around the house with repairing, building things, and making things work better in general, then here are some baseboard installation tips to get you started down the right road.
Do not think you are going to achieve perfectly mitered corners with nothing more than a handsaw and a cheap plastic miter box. No good list of baseboard installation tips neglects mentioning that quality power tools are imperative. The most expensive power tool you need to purchase is a miter saw with at least a 10-inch blade. You do not have to buy a top-of-the-line saw, but avoid the bottom-of-the-barrel brands that will not last as long as it takes to cut the baseboards for even one room.
Keep in mind just how potentially dangerous a power saw is and never operate it without using extreme caution, safety glasses, and with your fingers well out of the way of the spinning blade. Losing fingers should not be part of the learning curve when teaching yourself how to run a power miter saw.
Other tools on a good list of baseboard installation tips include a razor knife, a set of wood chisels, a wood file (also known as a rasp), and a coping saw. The cost of these basic tools necessary to install baseboard properly can add up quickly.
Unless you plan on using these tools on other projects, or you have an entire houseful of baseboard, casing, and/or crown molding to install, you may do better by simply hiring a pro to come in and do your one-room baseboard installation for you, something to take under consideration before you make a major expenditure.
Before you undertake a major project, one practical baseboard installation tip is to get some practice in by building simple picture frames. Cut door casings into 10 inch pieces and use your power miter saw to create 45-degree-angled pieces that fit nicely together. This is a good way to realize how even a tiny mistake in a measurement or cut can make a big difference in whether or not the corners fit tightly and neatly together.
Sometimes no matter how precise your angled cuts, the corners of baseboard, or even along the length of it, just does not fit properly once it is attached. The cause? Nine times out of ten, it has nothing at all to do with how you have cut the trim, it is problems with the drywall.
Buildup of drywall compound (mud) can cause humps, bumps, and lumps that no baseboard installation tip is going to solve. You will just have to work around problems like these by either filling in gaps between the trim and drywall with silicone caulk or figure out another way of disguising the imperfections. This is the time when patience and determination come into play.
Baseboard installation tips are a good way to get beginners off to a good start, but they are not all-encompassing as far as knowledge goes. There is no better teacher than jumping right in and then facing and overcoming problems as you meet them.