What Your Trim Can Say About Your House: Baseboard
Last post we talked about the first type of trim that gets installed in a house; casing. Now it's time to discuss the second trim to be installed.
Baseboard is the trim that goes at the bottom of walls where they meet the floor. Functionally, it covers the inevitable gap between the drywall and the floor, and is typically the second type of trim to be installed. There are many profile varieties of baseboard, but as mentioned in the previous post, you definitely want to make sure that whatever profile you choose, it should match the casing, and be wider than the casing itself is.
When compared to casing, baseboard is not quite as diverse. The big differences come in the profile and the size. Now, everything depends on ceiling height, and what style the rest of your trim is. But typically, the bigger the baseboard the better.
Builders usually use a smaller 3-4" baseboard. This serves the function of covering up the wall-floor just fine. BUT, it can look so much better with a larger material. Some Victorian style homes with 10' or higher ceilings have baseboards up to 16"! One caveat here I should mention, is, typically the baseboard should not be as tall as the plinth blocks. (If you're using plinth blocks.) The nice thing in this regard, is tall baseboards can often be made up of several different mouldings stacked on top of each other.
Another nice thing that can be added to baseboard is a secondary moulding that goes on the bottom. This is usually quarter round or shoe moulding. Like most trim, this serves a two-fold purpose. Functionally it can be used to span larger gaps between the wall and flooring. Or, if the floor is uneven, but the baseboard is level (which is typically what you want) you can use quarter round or shoe mould to hide that uneven gap. Aside from functional uses, It can also be used to
make the baseboard itself look more intricate. A word of caution, however, when using a secondary moulding at the bottom; If you are using a floating floor such as LVT or laminate, make sure you do not nail into the floor as it will prevent the floating floor from moving as it needs to.
If you want to go with a colonial revival style throughout your house, simply using a larger colonial style base will make a world of difference.
For a more modern look, a simple piece of flatstock will look a lot better than you may think. Even in homes of an older era, when matched with the ornate trim of that era, a flatstock will serve the purpose quickly and easily without breaking the bank.
Baseboard can be a tricky one aesthetically. If it is very ornate, the eye will be drawn to it. In that scenario, you want to make sure it is done well, and matches with the rest of your home, era-wise. If you want to keep it simple, so as not to draw the eye to it, that can be fine. As long as your baseboard is a decent size, and not too far out of the era of your home, it will look great and people will not notice it. It's important that the baseboard be installed after the casing. It should typically be the second type of trim that you install.
Our next post will discuss the type of trim installed third: Crown Moulding.