How to Install Baseboard Molding

Finish a new flooring installation yourself by adding new baseboard moldings for a professional-looking touch.
Baseboards come in a wide variety of molding profiles; for example, the wider the baseboard, the more formal the look. Use an alternative material, like a low-profile shoe molding, to cut down on expenses.

Step 1

Measure the length of baseboard needed. Add 10 percent to the amount to cover possible mistakes.

Step 2

Visit a home remodeling store to decide upon the type, or style, of baseboard needed. Choose a baseboard that fits the decor of the room—flat for more modern interiors, curved and highly designed for more ornate interiors.

Step 3

Purchase the molding in lengths that do not require much splicing (cutting) and matching. Average lengths of molding run around 14 feet.

Step 4

Purchase a product that comes pre-primed to save prep time. Paint the baseboard before installation.

Step 5

Measure and cut baseboard to fit the first wall. Use a mitered cut at each end that meets another piece of molding at a corner. Use a straight cut when matching lengths along a wall. Use a miter saw for perfect miter cuts. Corners that meet in 90-degree angles require a mitered (angled) cut using a miter saw set at a 45-degree angle—two 45-degree cuts placed together result in a 90-degree corner.

Step 6

Put baseboard into place making sure that it is flat against the wall. Use a pneumatic nail gun to attach the board to the wall. Nail at wall studs only, locate these before attaching the baseboard using a stud finder. A single two-inch finishing nail at each stud is all that is needed to keep the baseboard in place. Larger molding widths, four inches or more, need two two-inch finishing nails placed vertically at the studs.

Step 7

When all baseboard is installed, finish the project by filling each nail hole with wood putty. Wipe away excess putty for a smooth application. Allow the putty to dry per the product's instructions.

Step 8

Touch up the baseboard using the paint it was painted with earlier.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Stud finder
  • Pneumatic nail gun
  • Chop saw
  • Miter saw
  • Finishing nails
  • Wood putty
  • Paint

Tips

  • Outer corners (fitting around a corner and not into a corner) are cut by marking the required length on the front of the baseboard and cutting from the marked measurement toward the back of the baseboard material (the back indicates the side of the board facing the wall) at 45 degrees.
  • To cut inner corners, mark the required length of the baseboard along the back of the board and cut at a 45 degree angle toward the front (the front indicates the side of the board facing the room).
  • If cutting mitered corners is confusing, draw them on paper first to gain a clearer understanding.
  • Shoe molding is also called "quarter round." It fits along the fold where the wall meets the floor and can be cut, painted and attached just like baseboard molding.

Warning

  • Always wear safety goggles when using electric saws.

About the Author

Alex Burke holds a degree in environmental design and a Master of Arts in information management. She's worked as a licensed interior designer, artist, database administrator and nightclub manager. A perpetual student, Burke writes Web content on a variety of topics, including art, interior design, database design, culture, health and business.