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How to Install Baseboards

Adding or replacing baseboard trim is a great way to update the look and feel of your room. When learning how to install baseboards, remember that they come in a variety of profiles so be sure to get the look you want. We’ll show you how to install baseboards and get your room looking great in this useful guide.

Skill Level: Beginner
  1. Step 1 Measure Your Space

    A person measures their walls to find out how many feet of baseboards they’ll need for their project.

    First, you’ll need to figure out how many linear feet of baseboard moulding you’ll need. Measure each wall twice and then round up your number to the nearest whole number that is divisible by 2 to account for any extra that you’ll need. Some baseboard comes pre-painted. If yours doesn’t, you’ll need to prime and paint it. Either way, you’ll need to let it rest in the space for 72 hours to let it acclimate before you attach it.

  2. Step 2 Remove Old Baseboards

    A person runs a utility knife through the caulk seal to remove the baseboards from the wall.

    To remove your existing baseboards, you’ll need to cut through the caulk seal with a utility knife. Once you’ve separated the baseboard from the wall, you can pry it away using a pry bar, making sure to protect your flooring with cardboard or another thick barrier. Once your baseboards have been removed, you can remove any nails that may still be present in the wall.

  3. Step 3 Mark Stud Locations

    : A person uses a stud finder to locate the studs in the wall.

    Now you’ll need to mark the stud locations along the wall. Use a stud finder and some painters tape to write on, so you don’t mark the paint. First mark the start of the stud, then the end of the stud, and draw an ‘X’ in the middle to give you the precise size and location.

  4. Step 4 Cut and Install the First Baseboard

    A person uses a nail gun to attach the baseboard moulding to a wall.

    Next, you’ll cut your first baseboard, which should be cut to the length of your longest wall. Make straight cuts on either end of the base board so that the ends are flush with the adjacent walls. Secure it to the studs you marked earlier using a nail gun. If you don’t have a nail gun, you can also use a hammer, but you should pre-drill your nail holes to avoid splitting the baseboard. Fill your nail holes with wood filler to make everything look nice and clean.

  5. Step 5 Cut Baseboard Inside Corner

    A person uses a cope joint to place the inside corner of the moulding together.

    A cope joint is where one piece of moulding is cut to fit the profile of another. You’ll need to use this style of cut on your next baseboard to complete the inside corner and join them together. To do this, cut your baseboard at a 45-degree angle and then use a coping saw to cut out the profile of the adjacent baseboard. Ten just place them together. If they’re a bit off, you can use a sanding block to make the profile cut perfect.

  6. Step 6 Cut Baseboard Outside Corner

    A person attaches moulding on an outside corner together.

    When attaching baseboards on an outside corner, you need to cut them at opposite 45-degree angles so that they go around the peak seamlessly. Then attach them to the studs with a nail gun or hammer.

  7. Step 7 Continue Installing Your Baseboards Around the Room

    A person uses a scarf joint to attach a long run of baseboard moulding.

    Continue installing the baseboard around your room using the various joints mentioned above. If you’ve got a particularly long run, you may need to use a scarf joint to combine two long pieces. Simply cut the baseboards at complimentary 45-degree angles and then attach them like you see above for maximum strength.

  8. Step 8 Caulk and Finish Your Baseboard Installation

    A person finishes the baseboards with some caulk, applied with their finger.

    Once you’ve finished installing your baseboards, you need to seal any gaps between the baseboards and the wall using caulk. Apply a stream of caulk on the top of the baseboard and then smooth it out using your finger. Once your baseboards are caulked, you’re finished!

What You Need for This Project

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