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Home Improvement & Renovating

How to Replace Baseboards

How to Replace Baseboards

Baseboards are an important element in your home for multiple reasons. Bright, clean baseboards can sharpen up any room by providing visual separation between your flooring and walls. They also protect your walls from the damage that comes from things like cleaning, moving, construction work and playtime. This protection comes at a cost as the damage can take its toll on the baseboards themselves. Eventually scuffs and scrapes can't be wiped away anymore. When this time comes, it's time to replace them entirely.

Replacing baseboards is an excellent DIY project. Follow Rough River Hardware’s tips to find out how to do it.

Step 1 - Remove Old Baseboards

Tools & supplies:

  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Pry bar
  • Putty Knife
  • Pliers
  • Sandpaper
  1. Remove all old baseboard pieces. A chisel or putty knife will help separate the baseboards from the wall.
  2. If caulking was applied to the top seam where baseboards meet the wall, use a hammer to lightly tap the putty knife between the baseboard and the wall. If the putty knife isn't strong enough, you may need a chisel, but use caution to avoid damaging your walls.
  3. Gently use a pry bar to ease the old baseboards away from the wall by inserting the sharp edge into the gap you've created and pulling back. To further prevent wall damage, place a thin piece of wood behind the curve of the pry bar.
  4. After the baseboards are removed, pull out any nails left in the wall.
  5. Using the putty knife, scrape off any remaining caulk or paint residue.
  6. Sand the wall so it's flat and even. This will help the new baseboards to be as flat against the wall as possible.

Step 2 - Measure and Prep

Tools & supplies:

  • Measuring tape or laser measuring tool
  • Miter saw
  • Stud finder
  • Paint
  1. Measure the base of all walls to calculate how much trim you'll need to buy. Plan to buy some extra trim to account for wastage after cutting.
  2. Cut the trim to match the various dimensions of your wall, keeping in mind that the outside corners will need slightly longer pieces than the actual length of the wall.
  3. For inside corners, use your miter saw to cut the baseboard pieces at a 45-degree angle, with the long side facing the wall.
  4. For outside corners, do the opposite and cut the 45-degree angle so the front facing side of the baseboard is the longer side. These angles will ensure there are fewer gaps between the pieces and will give the corner a more natural, fitted look.
  5. For places where two pieces meet along a straight section of the wall, cut one baseboard so that the longer side is against the wall and the other one with the longer side is facing out. These two will slide together, one over the other, creating a much more seamless fit than if they were to be cut and placed side by side.
  6. If you're planning on painting your baseboards, do it now. This will make it easier to touch up at the end because you'll be able to use the same paint for both parts of the job.
  7. Once you have all of your pieces cut and beveled, write a number on the back of each piece of trim and a corresponding number on the wall where each piece will be installed. This will help make sure the pieces go back in the right place.
  8. Use a stud finder to find the studs – usually about 16" apart behind the wall.

Step 3 - Install

Tools & Supplies:

  • 16 gauge finish nailer
  • Nails
  • Molding and trim caulk
  • Caulking gun
  • Wood filler
  • Paint
  1. Once you have all your pieces cut and laid out, begin nailing them in place, starting from an inside corner. You can use a hammer and nail punch for this part of the job, but a finishing nail gun will do the job quicker, without the risk of a missed hammer strike damaging the new baseboard.
  2. Place your first piece of baseboard against the wall and drive two nails 1-1½" apart through it into the stud behind.
  3. Continue putting two nails through the baseboard into each stud for the first piece. Once you have one piece in, you can move around the room sliding beveled edges behind or in front of their matching beveled counterparts.
  4. Pay special attention to inside and outside corners and make sure that the edges match up correctly.
  5. After all the baseboards are secured to the wall, add caulk to the seam between the top of the baseboard and the wall. Add caulk to the corners to fill in the seams.
  6. Apply wood filler for nail holes.
  7. With matching paint, touch up over the wood filler.
  8. Clean off any visible scuffs.

New baseboards will renew the look of your house or room so you can enjoy it for years to come. If you need supplies or assistance with choosing the right tools for the job, don’t hesitate to visit Rough River Hardware, we would be happy to help!

Disclaimer: The information and resources in these articles and on this website are available for informational and educational purposes only. The articles provided on this website are created with every reasonable effort to ensure completeness and accuracy. In doing so, the article writers, publishers, and the business that this website represents assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or opposed interpretation of the articles and under no circumstance will these parties be held liable for any direct, indirect and/or consequential damages of any kind incurred from undertaking tasks outlined in the articles or on this website. In addition, it is suggested that readers check by-laws, zoning laws and building codes of your local area and country.

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