How to Install Base Boards for Your Home Improvement Project
If you want to complete a home improvement project, installing baseboards is a great place to start. Baseboards provide a finishing touch to your space while protecting your walls from scuffs and scratches. We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you choose and install baseboards for your DIY project.
As a trusted lumber company in Tampa, we have extensive experience helping custom home builders and DIY enthusiasts find the perfect building materials for their projects. Whether you want to make a statement with your baseboards or want something functional, we’ve got you covered.
Choosing the Right Baseboard Material
The first step to installing baseboards is to choose the right material. Several options include solid wood, MDF (medium-density fiberboard), and PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Each material has its own unique benefits, so it’s important to consider your project’s needs and budget before making a decision.
Solid Wood: The most expensive type of baseboard, solid wood is available in various finishes and widths. Solid wood is also the most durable, making it ideal for commercial projects. However, solid wood will have an uneven appearance because it cannot be cut to fit perfectly. Because of this, it’s recommended for small projects that can be renovated infrequently.
MDF: MDF is a lightweight artificial hardwood with a smooth face and a high degree of durability. It has a plastic appearance, making it more ideal for frequent renovations than solid wood. MDF is also more affordable than solid wood, making it a popular option for home improvement projects of any size.
Measuring Your Space
Before you head to the lumber yard to purchase your baseboards, it’s essential to measure the perimeter of the room accurately. This way, you’ll know how much material you need, and you won’t risk making multiple trips to the store. Be sure to use a tape measure to get accurate measurements.
Creating Your Cutting List
Once you’ve measured your space, you can create a cutting list. First, measure the length of each wall, including the space between the floor and the baseboard. Next, measure any spaces where doors and windows are located.
Add one inch to each measurement to accommodate a small overlap with adjoining boards. Finally, add five additional inches to the perimeter measurement of your room for every 90-degree corner. This will account for additional material and finishing work later.
Now you’re ready to create your cutting list! Be sure to write down the measurements for each board and avoid purchasing longer ones.
You’ll also want to add the measurements for each wall’s length, the space-to-space measurement, and the lengths of any doors or windows. Print this information in a color that contrasts with the baseboards’ finish, such as black or red. Then take your cutting list to your local lumber dealer.
How to Install Baseboards
MDF or PVC baseboards are lightweight and easy to cut. You can install these brackets by simply measuring, positioning, and nailing them into place. Solid wood baseboards, however, require more work. It’s best to hire a professional to install these brackets; a professional can ensure the job is done right and won’t require more work later.
Another option for how to install base boards made of solid wood is to have them precut at the lumber yard. This may be an attractive option for DIY projects because you don’t have to do any additional measuring. But remember that this will typically cost more than purchasing, cutting, and finishing your baseboards.
Finishing Your Baseboards
After you’ve purchased your materials and cut them to size, it’s time to finish your baseboards. There are a few different finishing methods you can use. These include wood filler and sanding with fine paper or baseboard finishing tools. Deciding which method is best for your project before beginning is important.
A cost-effective option for baseboard finishing is wood filler. This material is applied to any cracks or imperfections in the wood. It’s then smoothed out with a putty knife to create a glossy, even surface. To use this method, follow these steps:
Mix the filler per manufacturer instructions, if needed.
Apply the filler to any cracks or gaps in the baseboard with your putty knife. Be sure to press firmly against the board’s surface while applying pressure.
Use a damp sponge or cloth to remove excess filler from the baseboard’s surface.
Let the baseboard dry for at least 24 hours.
Sand the baseboard with a fine-grit sandpaper. Make sure to change the sandpaper often, as it will become clogged quickly. Different areas of the board will require different degrees of sanding, so be sure to sand thoroughly until the surface is even and smooth.
It’s also important to consider the areas around door and window openings. To avoid sanding through these openings, lightly sand the board’s edges. Refrain from sanding too much, or you may damage the wood.
All lapping and beveling should be smooth when baseboards are installed correctly. If this is not the case, your baseboards will have an uneven appearance. To correct this problem, take a flat file and gently smooth down any beveled areas. This is your final chance to go over any rough spots before applying a topcoat to your baseboards.
In conclusion, installing baseboards is a straightforward process that can greatly impact the look of your space. Following these steps, you can choose and install baseboards that provide the perfect finishing touch and protection for your walls. So, measure and cut the baseboards accurately, and enjoy the results of your hard work!
Visit Peninsular Lumber in Tampa Bay today to find wood for baseboards and other DIY and custom home building needs and learn how to install baseboards.