How to Install Baseboard

Often do-it-yourself homeowners complain, “Nothing lines up or runs square in my house!" The truth of the matter is that hardly any house boasts perfectly straight lines, and angles frequently do not equal what they are supposed to. Lumps and bumps appear in walls from taping and joint compound, too, as well as things happening like studs being misaligned during construction. All of these things and more can add up to less-than-perfect walls, and you need to know how to overcome these glitches when learning how to install baseboard.

Glue and Brace

Studs that have been misaligned or built-up tape and joint compound can cause gaps to appear at the top of standard-sized (3/8 inch) baseboard trim. How to install baseboard so that these gaps disappear takes a little work, but it can be done.

First, cut 45-degree angles on each end of a few of the scraps from your baseboard. These will serve as braces.

Then, using a glue such as Liquid Nails or some other construction adhesive, attach the baseboard to the wall.

Tack one-inch brads into the braces you just cut and use them to hold the trim against the wall until the glue has dried, overnight in most cases.

Once the adhesive has set, you can then go back and remove the braces and fill in any holes from the brads with wood putty, if desired.

Caulk Magic

For baseboard that is thicker than the 3/8 inch standard size, adhesive will work, but trim this thick does not have the flexibility to conform to the contours of a wavy wall. The trick to knowing how to install baseboard that is thicker than average can be learned, however. All it takes is a little (or a lot, depending on how much baseboard you have to install on un-straight walls) caulk.

The type you want says, acrylic latex caulk plus silicone on the tube. You also want to make sure the caulk you use is paintable, which should also be noted on the tube. High quality, name brand caulks work best. Cut the hole in the end 1/8 inch for maximum control. Fill the gaps between the top of your baseboard and the wall, and then go over it with a dampened cloth (some people just use their fingers!), smoothing it out. You can then paint the caulked areas the same color as your walls.

Frustrating Angles

How to install baseboard at outside corners that do not add up to a neat 45 degrees on each side has baffled do it yourselfers many times. Instead of spending hours trying to figure out the exact angle for each side with an angle finder, it often takes a lot less time by the simple trial-and-error method. First cut two, 10-inch scraps at 45-degree angles and hold them up to your corner.

You can eyeball the difference a lot faster than trying to figure it out other ways. Using scraps until you get the angle just right won't take nearly so long. Once you have found it on your scrap pieces, simply re-cut on the actual baseboard trim.

Learning how to install baseboard trim can be time-consuming and sometimes frustrating. With these couple of tricks, however, you should get this finishing touch to a room installed in no time!