How To Install Baseboard Molding

If you ask any expert for advice on installing baseboard molding, you’ll likely hear the basics of how to attach your trim to the wall. If you look up molding installation in a book, you’ll see diagram after diagram on how to cut your corner joints.

However, what you might not learn from either of these sources are the simple tips and tricks that can help you give your baseboard molding a professional look.

If you follow these easy tips during the preliminary steps of the job, you’ll be sure to go beyond the basics to get the kind of polished, clean baseboard moldings that will give your room a finished look. In fact, once you’ve got the job done, you just might find that your friends and neighbors start asking you for advice on how to install baseboard molding.

Buying Materials

The finer details of baseboard molding are moot if you don’t have the right materials for the job. Getting the right wood in this first crucial step can have a huge impact on the final outcome of your project, so make sure you come home from your shopping trip with the best possible trim for your unique task.

As a rule of thumb, shop for a total of ten percent more yardage than what you think you will need to cover each wall. This will give you a cushion in case there are errors or problems.

Inspect each piece to make sure it is free of minor imperfections like knots, uneven grain, or dents, and larger problems like twists or warps in the wood.

The Right Length For The Job

When choosing baseboard trim lengths, shop with a plan to minimize splicing. Baseboard trim is available at most outlets in sizes ranging up to sixteen feet, so if you’re working in a small room you may not have to splice at all.

Although buying long sizes is rarely the most cost-effective choice, the quality of the outcome often depends on choosing long pieces, as the greater the amount of splices you need to make, the less elegant your molding will look.

However, be aware that longer molding pieces can be vulnerable to warping over time, so if you are working in a large room a few splices can help you maintain stability and strength. Finding a balance between too many and too few splices is one of the most difficult parts of learning how to install baseboard molding, so if you can, try to get an expert to take a look at your room and make recommendations. This will only take a short consultation, and the fee you pay for the advice can prove to be worth its weight in gold.

Prepping Your Trim

Finish painting or staining every piece of your trim and allow it all to dry before you start to install any of your baseboard molding. This way you can be certain that it is all uniform in look and texture before it is too late to correct any flaws in the finish.

Once the molding is decorated and dry, pre-drill your nail holes. This is especially important if you are working with delicate wood that is vulnerable to cracks or splits.

Pre-drilling can add a few extra hours of prep work to the job, but it often saves you a lot of time later on. Especially if you are first learning to install it, making the holes in the wood before you start working with the wall will help you avoid splitting and cracking.

Measuring distances is much easier on a work table than on a wall, so by marking and drilling your holes now, you will be sure that your nails are evenly and symmetrically spaced, so that your molding achieves a clean appearance.

photo by flickr user gemteck1