How to Install Baseboard


If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, learning how to install baseboard can save you a lot of money and time in the long run.

The key to good-looking trim is accurate measurements and proper cutting. Testing fit all pieces, particularly outside corners, is essential before cutting them.


When installing baseboard molding, you need a variety of tools. There are power-tool options and more delicate handheld ones, so you must decide which type will be most effective in your particular situation.

Before you begin, measure the room where you’ll be adding baseboards. Don’t forget to account for doors and stairs locations, as well as the amount of space between them.

Once you have a good idea of the length of your molding, cut it to size with a miter saw. Having the right length to fit snugly along walls without gaps is essential.

You can also use a coping saw to make cuts that perfectly match a piece of baseboard molding. A coping saw is similar to a small hacksaw with a blade that can cut circles, trim off splinters and make precise angles in the baseboard.

Copped baseboards are perfect for joining two pieces of molding together, particularly inside corners where two walls meet. You can also trim around door and window casings to create a more seamless look.


Having the right tools to get the job done when installing baseboards would be best. Start by accurately measuring the length of each wall where you plan to install the baseboard. Round up the measurement to the nearest whole-foot dimension divisible by two.

Next, cut a few pieces of baseboard for each wall. These pieces should be long enough to allow miter cuts for the ends that meet outside corners. Cut mid-wall details at 45-degree angles to fit together and prevent wood shrinkage from separating over time.

Then, use a coping saw to create coped joints for inside corners. You can also use scarf joints to splice trim pieces on long walls.

You can find baseboards crafted from many materials, including wood, MDF (medium-density fiberboard), or PVC. Each material offers its own benefits and price range. Typically, MDF is the most cost-effective and easy to paint.


Before you begin installing the baseboard, take accurate measurements. Measure the length of each wall and add a few inches to allow for outside corners.

If you’re working on a wavy or uneven wall, scribe the bottom of the board so it can be installed snugly against the floor without gapping. To scribe, set the points of a compass to 1/4 inch apart and place a pencil against the bottom of the board slightly above its base.

Depending on the material of your baseboard, you may need to stain or paint it before installing it. You can also use construction adhesive to hold it in place.

To make sure the joints between the baseboard and the quarter round are tight, fill any gaps with caulk before you install it. It’s best to use a premium acrylic latex caulk that says “paintable” on the label. This will keep the walls from cracking and ensure a good look after installation.


Installing baseboards is a quick and easy way to improve the look of any room. It serves a dual purpose: It hides the joint where walls meet the floor and protects the plaster from getting kicked or scratched by shoes and vacuum attachments.

To start, cut the lengths of baseboard you’ll need for each wall. The boards should be slightly longer than the walls to allow for miter cuts at the corners.

Use a nail set to sink two claws into each stud, about every 16 inches along the wall and in the corner, where needed. If gaps are at the crossroads, use shims to close them before nailing.

Next, fit inside corners with coped baseboard ends and butt them to the corresponding end of the opposite piece. Push both pieces snug against the wall to check their fit. If there are gaps, recut a few times until the joint looks right.

To finish the installation, add quarter round molding to fill the gap between the baseboard and flooring if desired. This step is often done after carpeting is installed, and it can hide the fact that the floors are not level.