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Installing Baseboard Trim


A Baseboard Trim Installation Guide


By: Mark J. Donovan

Installing Baseboard trim is something any DIY homeowner can do.

Baseboard trim installation requires the following tools: Hammer, thick shims, a miter saw, such as the Black & Decker BDMS200 15 Amp Miter Saw with Laser, measuring tape, a square, coping saw and carpenters pencil.

Baseboard Trim Installation Preparation

When installing baseboard trim in a new room, one thing that should be considered is what the finished flooring material will be.  If carpet is expected to be the finished surface, then the Baseboard trim should be installed off the base floor. 

To do this, simply cut several shims in height and rest the Baseboard trim on it prior to nailing. Once the Baseboard trim is secured to the wall remove the shims.

Raising the Baseboard trim is done for a couple of reasons. First, and especially with 4 or narrower Baseboard trim, you want the finished baseboard trim to get full exposure. Carpeting, including the pad, stands as high as to 1 in height.  Second, the space allows the carpet to be tucked under the trim by the carpet installer. This helps keep the carpet secured to the tack strips as well as gives a clean and finished look to the carpet.


When installing baseboard trim it is best to use baseboard trim that is long enough to go the whole length of the wall to eliminate joints. Thus, order your baseboard trim according to wall lengths. In the event joints are required, always gut the butting ends of the baseboard trim on a 45 degree angle. It makes for more of a finished look.

Installing Baseboard Trim

To begin installing baseboard trim, start with the longest wall. Simply cut the baseboard trim to the length of the wall, using the miter saw, and rest on top of the shims if required. Apply 8 penny finished nails every 16 inches along the length of the baseboard trim. Make sure the nails penetrate studs to ensure a solid attachment to the wall.

Working in a clockwise fashion, prepare to install the next section of baseboard trim.

First measure the length of the wall. Make sure your measurement is done just above the height of where the top of the baseboard trim will sit. 

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Now cut a half inch wedge of baseboard trim. Use this piece to trace on the back of the baseboard piece you plan to attach to the section of wall, the vertical profile of the wedge. After tracing, use the coping saw to cut this section off.  If done properly you should be able to slide the freshly cut baseboard trim piece up against the baseboard trim piece that is already attached to the wall and see that it forms a nice seam.

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Now simply measure from the tip of the cut baseboard trim piece the distance between the two walls previously recorded. Using your miter saw, simply make a straight cut on the far end of the trim board. The baseboard trim piece should now lay snuggly into place (on top of the shims), forming a nice seam with the first baseboard trim piece you installed. Again, nail the board every 16 inches into studs.

Continue this process all around the room, working in the same direction.

Once completed, go back and sink the nails with a center punch.

Apply wood filler or caulk into the nail holes of the installed baseboard trim and you are ready to apply stain or paint.


Additional Finish Carpentry and Installing Baseboard Trim Resources


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- Installing Baseboard Trim : A Baseboard Trim Installation Guide -

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