The purpose of moulding when installing flooring in your home is dual. The number one reason for installing it is to make the flooring aesthetically pleasing, finishing off raw edges where the floor meets the wall.
Without it, there is a gap to allow for expansion of the flooring with changing temperatures and varying amounts of moisture in the air. Placing moulding, such as quarter-round, which is the most commonly used, cheapest, and widely available variety, covers this gap and still allows for the expansion of the flooring.
Installed moulding is never attached to the flooring, but to the wall, allowing the flooring to move beneath it.
Custom Cut Mouldings
Alternatives to quarter-round are necessary to suit individual tastes. It is a small detail in your home, but one that is also capable of saying much about you as a homeowner and decorator.
While quarter-moulding is often the most efficient way to go, you also have the option of ordering custom cut mouldings, such as a concave cove cut, or cloverleaf design. When going this route, you also have the option of choosing the wood to match your home, rather than being bothered with staining or painting moulding prior to installing.
Square-Nose Moulding (End-Cut)
As an alternative to quarter-round, this moulding sits lower and extends farther from the wall. It also allows for adequate flooring expansion.
It has other uses in addition to this, such as for joining two different flooring materials (wood to carpet, carpet to tile), being placed against door tracks, or being placed where there is no need for expansion, but still a need for an aesthetic finish, such as with carpet.
A flashier alternative to smaller, lower-profile mouldings, the bullnose also works well with tile floors. Bullnose moulding finishes more like a baseboard than a moulding, and is found in a variety of woods and finishes.