I am renovating my house and installing new trim and hardwood. I have had some contractors who have come in to quote the installation say the baseboard should go in first with a gap underneath it to slide the hardwood under and others who say install hardwood first. Is there a more preferred way?
Don't hire whoever told you baseboard goes first. They do not know what they are doing. The hardwood goes in first and the baseboard goes in after. The baseboard will hide the small gap at the wall required for expansion/contraction. You can also pre paint the baseboard so it only requires touch-ups once installed. Less chance of getting paint all over your new floor.
If you like OR you have to take off the baseboard, should be install the hardwood OR any kind of floor first before the baseboard OR you can take off the show mould only and install the hardwood first. This is the best way.
To be honest, both methods are perfectly acceptable however you are better off to install the baseboard afterward.
In most cases you will be installing a shoe molding or quarter round molding at the base of the baseboard trim. Most quarter round is 3/4" thick which will give you plenty of room to cover any gaps that may be present between the ends or edges of pieces of hardwood and the baseboard trim. Shoe molding (the more decorative and better looking option) is much thinner making the gap tolerance much less. If you are not installing either and just going for the clean base look then you have no option other than to install the base after the hardwood as you will need to scribe the baseboard to match even the slightest contours of the flooring to get a perfect gap free finish.
Next is finishes. Nothing will break a homeowner (or Contractor's) heart more than seeing tiny drips of semigloss white paint on a beautiful new hardwood floor.
On projects that we build, we prime and first coat the trim (either sprayed or brushed depending on the Client's choice of finish) prior to installation.
In any case, if you are hiring professional trim and hardwood installers and a professional painter you will be satisfied with the end results.
Our trim carpenters also hang all the doors and install panelling, built ins, and wainscotting etc. so we do sometimes install the base first.
Again, it all depends on what the trim details are and the competency of your crews.
Best of luck,
Cedarfalls Building Consultants Limited
That's a funny one.
Flooring goes on first then baseboards is installed .When installing hardwood you want to leave 1/4 to 3/8 gap from wall to flooring for expansion and movement if hardwood or engineered is installed too tight squeaking will occur then the baseboard goes on to hide the gap between flooring & wall.
The only time where baseboard can remain on or can be installed first is when you use carpet or replace existing carpet and replace with new one. The carpet is tucked under baseboards.
Hope that helps.
Please don't hire whoever told you to install baseboard first then hardwood. He might just install roofing shingles in your basement.
Thanks for all the replies. I thought the same thing. Overwhelming agreement that baseboards go on first.
If you're installing new baseboard we usually install the hardwood first. We usually install a 1/2" thick baseboard or greater instead of adding a quarter round or door stop for a cleaner look. Make sure the hardwood is climatized in your house, not in their warehouse. So the boxes will have to be opened for this to happen. Your installer should also check the Relative Humidity of the wood to see of its in the correct percentile for install. You should also have a RH monitor on your thermostat, if not it may be a good idea to get one as climate change can warp wood. Good luck in your contractor selection.
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