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Help! DIY home improvement problem: baseboard not right height for wood floors.

slugg

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
4,722
73
91
Hey guys. So I just bought my first house (hooray) and I bought some wood floors to go into it. I lifted up the carpet and placed a sample plank next to the baseboard; the wood plank is literally 1/16th inch too tall to fit under the base board. Doh!

At first, I thought I'd remove all the baseboards and just reinstall them 1/16th inch higher. But there's another problem; the kitchen has tile, which is (you guessed it) about 1/16th inch lower than the wood. In other words, the baseboards are aligned to the tile. If I were to reinstall the baseboards 1/16th inch higher, then now the baseboard would have a gap between it and the tile.

What should I do? Here are some options I can think of, as a totally inexperienced home improvement person:
1. Raise the position of the baseboards 1/16th of an inch; fill the gap over the tile with caulking or some kind of filler.
2. Leave the baseboards where the are, but somehow grind 1/16th of an inch off of them where they'd meet the wood planks.
3. Raise only the baseboards that meet the wood planks, then somehow create a transition piece between the tiled and hardwooded floors.

My thoughts on all 3 of my ideas:

1. Would this filled-in gap look tacky and amateur?
2. How the heck would I do this? What kind of tool would I use?
3. The transition over the floors is easy (use a threshold piece), but how would I transition the actual floor board heights?


ATOT's collective wisdom is highly appreciated. Thanks in advance for all of your help. :)
 

Codewiz

Diamond Member
Jan 23, 2002
5,758
0
76
Alternative solution. Use quarter round around the perimeter of the room so you don't have to put the wood floors "under" the base boards. Just leave an expansion gap all the way around the room and the quarter round will cover that gap.
 

slugg

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
4,722
73
91
Alternative solution. Use quarter round around the perimeter of the room so you don't have to put the wood floors "under" the base boards. Just leave an expansion gap all the way around the room and the quarter round will cover that gap.
Ah, yes. Forgot to mention that the female home minister/dictator will not allow quarter round. ;)
 

BillGates

Diamond Member
Nov 30, 2001
7,388
1
81
Put a plank up against the baseboard as your guide and use an oscillating tool to undercut that bit of wood. Drive it around the whole room and you'll have a perfect fit with no removing/reinstalling of baseboard. Baseboard will be a bit shorter, but not by much. But, you're probably going to have a hard time getting the last piece in if it is against a wall/baseboard.
 
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jagec

Lifer
Apr 30, 2004
24,442
4
0
1. Raise the position of the baseboards 1/16th of an inch; fill the gap over the tile with caulking or some kind of filler.
2. Leave the baseboards where the are, but somehow grind 1/16th of an inch off of them where they'd meet the wood planks.
3. Raise only the baseboards that meet the wood planks, then somehow create a transition piece between the tiled and hardwooded floors.

My thoughts on all 3 of my ideas:

1. Would this filled-in gap look tacky and amateur?
2. How the heck would I do this? What kind of tool would I use?
3. The transition over the floors is easy (use a threshold piece), but how would I transition the actual floor board heights?
1)Yes, tacky, 2 is a better option.
2)Table saw, and a hand saw to finish any section that spans both tile+hardwood. (Remove them first, obviously)
3)They make pieces that transition between heights. Look up reducers, end caps, baby thresholds etc.
 
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edro

Lifer
Apr 5, 2002
24,328
68
91
1/16"?!?!
You are worried about seeing a 1/16" step up from room to room?

Who cares.

Raise the living room baseboards.
 

slugg

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
4,722
73
91
Put a plank up against the baseboard as your guide and use an oscillating tool to undercut that bit of wood. Drive it around the whole room and you'll have a perfect fit with no removing/reinstalling of baseboard. Baseboard will be a bit shorter, but not by much. But, you're probably going to have a hard time getting the last piece in if it is against a wall/baseboard.
I like this idea. As far as getting the last section of wood floor to fit, what I could do is trim the baseboards first, remove those sections of baseboards, then install the floors, and finally reinstall those sections.

Question: suppose I get an oscillating tool for this. How would I then get a straight cut/grind? I'm not quite following the technique of using a piece of plank as the guide. Could you point me to a video with this technique, or similar? Again, I'm a noob. Sorry, lol.
 

slugg

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
4,722
73
91
1/16"?!?!
You are worried about seeing a 1/16" step up from room to room?

Who cares.

Raise the living room baseboards.
1/16th is enough to clearly see the molding not line up at all. I left the house and I'm back at the place I'm moving out of; I'll take pictures next time to illustrate my point.

Guys, English is not my first language, so cut me some slack...

edit: plus I kinda suck at explaining things. :D
 

slugg

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
4,722
73
91
Put a plank up against the baseboard as your guide and use an oscillating tool to undercut that bit of wood. Drive it around the whole room and you'll have a perfect fit with no removing/reinstalling of baseboard. Baseboard will be a bit shorter, but not by much. But, you're probably going to have a hard time getting the last piece in if it is against a wall/baseboard.
Is this the technique you're talking about? Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJL_ZP8C0lQ
 

Humpy

Diamond Member
Mar 3, 2011
4,463
595
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1/16th is enough to clearly see the molding not line up at all.
You are being crazy. Shave a 1/32 of the high one and raise the low one up a 1/32 for about six inches on either side of the joint and it will go away. Or just raise the low side.

There is a bunch of other stuff in your house that is off by way more than a 1/16". Better get to work. :)
 

shabby

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,747
20
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Ah, yes. Forgot to mention that the female home minister/dictator will not allow quarter round. ;)
If she doesn't like quarter round you can use door stop instead, looks better imo.
Forget about caulking it'll look terrible, raising the baseboard is doable but it might get damaged during removal.

 

Humpy

Diamond Member
Mar 3, 2011
4,463
595
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YES! That's it!

So here's the game plan... I'll give that a shot, and if it fails, then I'll just put quarter round and call it a day. I'm taking off so little, I'll still have enough board left to nail some more trim to it.

Thank you, ATOT. :)
So the plan is that you are going to use that tool (for the first time) to cut a line with better than 1/16th accuracy around the room and then tuck the wood floor in under the baseboard?

I suggest you reconsider.

Pull out the base, install the floor, put in new base. Or just plan on the 1/4 round. You are not going to reinvent the process here.
 

MarkXIX

Platinum Member
Jan 3, 2010
2,642
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Quarter round doesn't have to be round. Thin strips of wood that are bevel cut at the top might work just as well and make a nice, clean, sharp line.

I would refrain from moving the base boards. Are they nailed or glued in place (or both)? You could end up tearing off the drywall paper depending on how the paint meets the top edge of the baseboards.

Purchase a few 6" lengths of quarter round or other trim, put them at the baseboard and give her the illusion of choice.
 

Humpy

Diamond Member
Mar 3, 2011
4,463
595
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I would refrain from moving the base boards. Are they nailed or glued in place (or both)? You could end up tearing off the drywall paper depending on how the paint meets the top edge of the baseboards.
Unless this is on old house with plaster walls or the base is stain grade and built up out of several pieces of solid wood, the base can be scored at the wall line with a Stanley knife and removed from the room in about 15 minutes.

You're right about the different profiles of molding as long as its at least 5/8" thick. But why not just install new base if you're gong to install quarter round? Takes about the same amount of time.
 

MarkXIX

Platinum Member
Jan 3, 2010
2,642
1
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Unless this is on old house with plaster walls or the base is stain grade and built up out of several pieces of solid wood, the base can be scored at the wall line with a Stanley knife and removed from the room in about 15 minutes.

You're right about the different profiles of molding as long as its at least 5/8" thick. But why not just install new base if you're gong to install quarter round? Takes about the same amount of time.
I know, but if the base is glued to the wall, unless you are very, very careful with removal, it could rip the paper and paint off the wall above the base coverage area.

I agree though that if you're gonna remove the base, you might as well replace it with an upgrade.
 

Humpy

Diamond Member
Mar 3, 2011
4,463
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:) I hope it goes well for the OP.

These threads irritate me because, except for that Canadian who did some of his own plumbing repairs, it is rare for someone to come back and post about how successful/unsuccessful they were so we could ridicule and/or congratulate them.
 

VulgarDisplay

Diamond Member
Apr 3, 2009
6,193
2
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Not using quarter round looks cheap and tacky. Just save yourself a ton of time and effort by doing quarter round.
 

slugg

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
4,722
73
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Okay guys, I appreciate the help, but I think half of you are missing the point. The problem is that I have two different floor thicknesses that meet each other: the tile (thinner) and the wood (thicker). The problem I'm trying to solve is how to meet these two floors together and have a good baseboard transition. Whether I buy new baseboards or not does not solve this issue.

So if I got quarter round (or comparable trim), I'd either have to put it on the wood floor area *or* the tiled area, or else I'd just run into the same problem. I'm not sure if this would look any good; I'm searching on Google to try to find examples, but to no avail.

So... what to do?
 

weadjust

Senior member
Mar 28, 2004
636
0
71
If you insist on not using quarter round. Pull the base boards off and cut the bottom of the base board on a table saw so that after the wood floor is installed the top of the base board lines up with the top of the tiled area base board. Good luck getting the old base board off without ruining it. Easier just to rip it off and start with new base boards.
 

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