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How to Install Baseboard Like a Professional With No Gaps

This article is for informational purposes. Always seek the advice of qualified professionals.

Baseboards are one of the defining features of a house. It can make a room look regal.

You might want to install your baseboards yourself. But your mind thinks it is a very hard job.

You might think, ”how do I install a baseboard like a professional with no gaps?”.

Installing baseboards like a professional requires some special tools and a few steps. You need to mark and cut the baseboards very carefully. Assembling and nailing are also vital for a good output. Finally, you caulk and paint the boards for a pro finish. Make sure to dampen your hands beforehand.

That was a small summary of the process. I have made a step-by-step guide for you. 

Let’s begin!

Prep Work & Necessary Tools

Even though they are on the floor, baseboards are one of the most important parts of a house. If they are tall, they make a room look fancy. 

But if they are short, they make the same room look dowdy.

Hence, installing the baseboard takes expertise and patience. Installing it incorrectly will cause a lot of hassle.

Prep Work

To figure out how much baseboard material you need, measure each straight section of the wall. Round up to the nearest whole-foot measurement that is divisible by two.

Bring the wood inside a week before installation to let it get used to the temperature and humidity. Start putting the baseboard against the inside corners and work your way out.

Necessary Tools

You will need some specialized tools to install the baseboard like a professional. Worry not, I have listed them below for your convenience:

  • Miter Saw 
  • Coping Saw 
  • Circular Saw 
  • Compass 
  • Block Plane 
  • Biscuit Joiner 
  • Pneumatic Nailer

I would recommend you have these tools ready before jumping into the installation process.

Step by Step Guide to Installing Baseboard With No Gaps

Installing a baseboard can be very nerve-wracking. If you have ever attempted this once, you will agree that it is not that easy.

Don’t worry, I have made a step-by-step guide just for you. Installing the baseboard will be easier than before. It is as easy as installing a vinyl plank floor.

Marking 

This step is the most important one for a no-gap professional finish. A well-measured board will speed up things and make it easy.

Measure the board dimensions using your measure tape. Boards meeting outside corners will be a few inches longer than the wall. This is for the miter cutting.

To avoid gaps between the baseboard and the floor, you need to scribe the board. Hold the pencil flat against the floor with its point resting on the baseboard. The compass’s bearings will remain unchanged. 

Maintaining a vertical alignment of the compass’s points, slide it along the length of the base. 

Identify the wall studs with a stud finder and make a mark on them. This will be where the baseboard is nailed.

Draw a vertical line across the back of the board. Use the edge of the outer corner as a guide. Position one end of the board so that it fits snuggly against the inside corner. Indicate the miter’s orientation by marking the board’s top.

Cutting

Cutting the baseboard needs a steady hand and a patient mind. You will need a compound miter cutter for cutting the miter cuts.

Set the saw to 45 degrees and cut the miters outside the line. I will advise you to take the blade thickness into consideration when cutting. Cutting outside the line will allow you to fine-tune later on.

In order to check the joint, push both boards back against the wall. If the fit isn’t snug along the sides and top, return to trimming. Trim the wood with the saw or smooth it out with a block plane.

Use a circular saw with a 2-5 degree bevel setting to cut along the scribe line. Make sure the cut side faces the wall. With a block plane, shave the rounded corner down to the drawn line. This will close down any gap between the baseboard and floor.

To make sure an outside miter joint stays tight, connect the two halves with glue. Use Number 10 compressed-wood biscuits in addition to the glue.

To begin, clamp the two boards together at the outside corner and make two marks across the junction using a pencil. The marks should be equidistant from each other and from the edges of the board.

Then remove the boards, place the biscuit joiner perpendicular to the cut face, and adjust the depth of its fence so the cut will be nearer to the rear side of the boards.

Align the tool’s centerline with a mark and plunge-cut a slot into the face of the cut. Do the same thing at the following mark.

Assembly 

connect the two halves of the miter cut together by squeezing the carpenter’s glue into the slots. Spread it across the face of both pieces. 

Place a cookie in each slot on one board before the boards are brought together. Do not nail the board immediately. Make a dry fit in the wall, and check for gaps and misalignments.

If there is any, you need to retrim the board using a block plane. This will reduce the after-fitting hassle by a good margin.

Nailing 

Return the boards to the wall and hammer two 8d finish nails into the wall on either side of the miter. 

Nail a 4d finish nail through the joint and into the end grain of the opposing piece in the spaces between the other nails. Use a nail set to sink the nail heads into the wood. 

The first nail on each end. Then use a good stud finder to find studs on the wall. Mark the studs with marker tape. Nail the baseboard with a pneumatic nailer.

Create a scarf junction by mitering the ends of the boards in opposite directions. Do this at the stud where they intersect along a straight course. 

Apply glue to the miters and allow them to overlap. Nail the overlapped piece over the joint and into the stud.

You only need to butt the ends of the baseboard together. Nail them into place at the inner corners.

Caulking 

After you have nailed the baseboard with the wall, there is one last step. You need to caulk the joints. This will not only ensure a sealed joint but also give a professional look.

Load the caulking gun with a tube of stretch glue. Gently caulk along the top seam of each baseboard. 

I will advise you to keep a damp towel beside you while caulking. Use it to dampen your fingers before dragging along the wet caulk. This will create a finished look.

Make sure you close any gaps on the top of the baseboard. These gaps might cause humps in the floor and wall. You will need to fix gaps between the board and the floor then. That will be an extra hassle.

Caulk the joints between the quarter-round molding and the baseboard for a fine finish.

Tips & Tricks For Baseboard Installation

Installing a baseboard like a pro can be compared to art. I have arranged some tips and tricks that will help you with the process:

  • Studs are typically spaced 16 inches apart. Once you’ve found one stud, you can use a tape measure to find the others. Use a nail to double-check the spots in older houses.
  • Scribing is simplified by beveling the bottom edge of the board.
  • Always miter cut next to the marking line. This will give you room for trimming and tuning.
  • You can get rid of any jagged edges in the mitered corners. Give them a quick sanding with fine sandpaper. This will create a smooth finish.

I hope this will help you achieve the professional finish you intended.

FAQs 

Should I Nail or Glue Baseboards?

You should use nails to secure the baseboard to the wall. Sometimes you will see contractors use glue to quickly secure the baseboard. Fixing the board with a nail gives you some advantage. It prevents the board from flexing over time. You can remove the board easily by taking off the nails.

Do I Need to Paint The Baseboard Before Installing?

It is recommended to paint the baseboards before installing. This will save you a lot of time. Painting it beforehand will only require some minor touch ups after installation. There might be minor paint damage during the installation process. This can be fixed easily.

Do I Need to Caulk or Paint Baseboards First?

Apply the caulk first if you want a professional-looking trim. This will give you a seamless finish. Then you can easily apply paint coatings. The joints and gaps will blend in like magic. This improves the aesthetics of the house by a good margin.

Conclusion 

That will be all from me regarding install baseboard like a professional with no gaps. I hope that you will be able to install baseboards like a pro from now on.

Do not forget to caulk at the bottom of the baseboard to prevent humps. 

Have a great day!