A DIY Guide: How To Install Baseboard

New baseboard can give a room a feeling of warmth and elegance, and there are many differing types of trim that can be added to baseboard to make it more aesthetically pleasing. Here are a few tips to show you how to cut and how to install baseboard, and make sure you are using the right tools for the job.

Measuring the wall

If you are cutting 45 degree angles to make the baseboard match up in the corners, be sure to cut them a hair long. Remember- you can always re-cut a piece of base, but you can't stretch it out once you've cut it too short.

If you are coping the base, the easiest way to measure is to install the uncut piece of base first, then measure from the exterior flat side of the base to the next corner. For a more perfect fit on outside corners or where the base will butt against door trim, you can cope the end of the base first, put it on the wall where it goes and mark the other end where the base will end at the outside corner or door trim.

Cutting the base

Using a miter saw, cut the base to an appropriate length. If you are coping corners, you will cut on a 45 degree angle. If you are butting two ends together, you will also need to cut on 45 degree angles. Some corners may be of varying angles, so you may have to use an angle finder to determine the appropriate angle at which to cut the baseboard.






Coping is the act of cutting one butt joint of baseboard on a 45 degree angle, then cutting the wood back at an angle using a manual coping saw or oscillating tool. If you've never coped a piece of baseboard before, you should try it out on a few scrap pieces of base before you attempt it on the piece you are installing. If you wish to cope using a manual coping saw, please check out this reference. If you wish to use an oscillating tool, which is a much faster method, please check out this informative video.

  • Expert Tip: An oscillating tool such as a Dremel Multi-Max makes coping jobs much easier and faster and is preferred by most professionals how know how to install baseboard.

Be sure to select the right tools for the job

Nail gun

You need a decent 15 gauge 2"-2 1/2" trim nailer to nail the baseboard to the wall. Be sure you have marked out the studs before installation, or use a stud finder to find them through the drywall.

  • Expert Tip: If you need to nail in an area where there are no studs, you can angle your nailer at an upwards angle and shoot a nail, then angle the gun at a downwards angle and shoot a nail. This creates two opposing forces which hold the base in place. This should only be used when completely necessary as it does not create as strong of a bond as nailing to studs. Wood glue can be used in these areas for additional strength.

You can use an 18 gauge trim nailer to nail together your outside corners if necessary. Wood glue can also be used for a stronger outside corner bond.

Miter saw

For cutting baseboard, we recommend a minimum of a 10" miter saw, preferably larger if possible. A sliding miter saw will make things even easier and will help you make smoother cuts. A 12" double compound sliding miter saw is the most common, and possibly most efficient, cutting too that construction professionals use.

Oscillating Tool

As mentioned above, the Dremel Multi-Max is a common choice among construction experts who know how to install baseboard. There are others of course, but the Dremel Multi-Max has a wide variety of blades and they are easy to find.

The oscillating tool can be used to cope the baseboard. It can also be used to cut off sections of existing baseboard without having to remove the entire piece. Be sure to choose the correct blade for your tool. Fitz ALL Blades has such a huge variety of blades that the right blade is definitely in there. Just look around, or ask one of the nice folks that work there what kind of blade you need and they will be happy 

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