7 simple steps to install beautiful baseboards

February 3, 2015

There’s something about beautiful baseboards that just perfectly finishes the look of a room. Follow these seven simple steps to install them in your home.

7 simple steps to install beautiful baseboards

Installing baseboards isn’t a project that requires the hiring of a professional carpenter, and you don’t need a lot of experience with home renovations yourself either. All you need is a little patience, the right tools and to follow these guidelines.

Step 1: Get your hands on some tools and supplies

You’ll need an air compressor, an 18-gauge brad nailer, two-inch nails, angle-finder, fine sandpaper, caulking, wood filler, latex paint and a miter saw. Don’t be shy — call up some neighbours if you don’t have these. Failing that, you can always rent them at your local hardware store.

Step 2: Get to mapping

A simple trick in the planning phase to ensure you buy the right amount of materials is mapping out the baseboard. Using graph paper, draw out an approximation of the room, showing all walls around the perimeter, including closets. Jot down the length of each piece, and using the angle finder, be sure to indicate the angles and their directions.

Step 3: Choose a style and find materials

You'll find a variety of baseboards in terms of colouring, style, and contours. Baseboard heights can range from 4” to 10”. Aside from wooden baseboards, you’ll also find plastic, vinyl, and composite types. In terms of contours, there are countless variations so check with your local lumber supplier — they should be able to provide you with samples of the profiles they carry.

Step 4: Power up the saw

The next step is to cut the baseboard into the measured lengths and angles. This is where things start to get really dusty, so it’s best to do this outdoors or in the garage if possible.

Step 5: Affixing the baseboard

Next, apply the baseboard pieces using the brad nailer. Place the nails below 1-1/2" from the floor to hit the bottom plate of the wall. It's also best practice to nail in each stud at the top of the baseboard.

Step 6: Fill it up

Apply the non-shrinking, sand-able wood filler to all the nail holes. Once dry, pass some fine sandpaper over the filled holes to smooth things out.

Step 7: Paint or varnish

You can use a wood varnish or paint for colouring your baseboards. In most cases, two coats of high quality latex paint, applied with a brush in the direction of the trim, will do the trick. Most homeowners paint their baseboards white to provide a contrast effect against the wall and floors. There are several shades of white and you will also need to select flat, semi-gloss or high gloss. Alternatively, select a colour to suit your personal taste. When dry, apply caulk in the spaces between cuts to provide a finished look. Apply a bit of touchup paint where necessary.

And finally, enjoy your new baseboards.

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