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Flooring Baseboard Basics

Flooring Baseboard Basics
January 11, 2017

Flooring Baseboard Basics

No matter how much hard work you put into your flooring project, no job is complete without the finishing touches. Most of the time, these finishing touches include the addition of trim work and moldings. Molding is designed to help to add elegance to any project, as well as covering up any shortfall or tolerances that are needed when using certain types of flooring. Floor molding is available in a variety of shapes and sizes as well as in several different types of materials. A general term for floor molding is “baseboards.”

First up, let’s define some types of moldings that could fall into the category of floor moldings.

  • Baseboards: These floor moldings are called baseboards because they are located at the bottom of your walls against the floors. The baseboards may consist of a single molding or several pieces of molding stacked for a more elegant look that also provides depth to the room.
  • Base cap: A base cap molding is a molding that is added to the top of a baseboard to add height to the board.
  • Shoe molding: This type of molding is a small molding that is added to the bottom or the foot of your baseboards. The simplest of shoe mold is known as a small cove mold.
  • Plinth Blocks: Theses are added to baseboards where they meet in the corners of a room. Some of these blocks can be added to outside molding as well. A plinth block will allow for the molding to meet at the corners without the use of mitered cuts in the moldings.
  • Door casings: Most of the doors casings are found around the doors and cased openings of your home. These casings will allow the floor molding to meet at the doors and provide a place to cleanly trim the molding to.

Another thing to consider is the type of materials from which the moldings will be milled. Different types of materials are used in different and unique situations. Prices of the materials will vary greatly. Considering wood molding, the following types are available.

  • Stain Grade: This is generally the most expensive type of floor molding material. Stain grade materials are wood materials that will not have any joints in the molding itself. The molding will be constructed with a continuous wood grain throughout the entire molding. When the material is stained the wood grain will give this molding a very elegant look.
  • Paint Grade: This floor molding is solid wood, and is assembled with multiple pieces of several different types of wood. If you were to stain a paint grade molding, you will receive a very inconsistent look through the molding. This type of floor molding is designed to be finished with the proper primer and finish coat of paint. This type is commonly known as "finger-joint" molding.
  • Wood Composite: Wood composite molding is made of pressed wood materials and binding glue, and is most commonly primed for paint. It has a very smooth finish which accepts paint very nicely without much prep. It can be cut with regular saws and is attached with the same fasteners as real wood. Generally, this is the most economical type of molding and is used with the intent that it will be painted. It is available in a wide variety of sizes and profiles.

Have fun shopping for molding. Visit a few molding departments in your favorite lumberyard or building retailer and take note of profiles, sizes, and materials. Molding is the final step for most flooring projects, and baseboards are no exception. Be sure and take this part seriously, and give your project the finishing touch.