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Installing Shoe Molding

Materials List
Shoe molding or Quarter round
2 inch finishing nails
Wood filler
Tools List (click item to shop)
Tape measure
Miter saw
Drill bits
Coping saw
Nail Set
Utility knife
Putty knife
Flat bar
Easy2 Home Improvement
Installing Basement Paneling

Vinyl Wall Base Molding
Installing a Tongue & Groove Floor
Installing Chair Rail
Install Door Casing

IMPORTANT: Read this before you start

If you have hardwood floors in your house, take a look at your baseboards. Right in front of the baseboards there is usually a smaller, curved molding about ¾” tall. How does this short molding look? Is it painted over, chipped and/or just beat up in general? If so, you can easily replace this molding and make a huge difference in the overall appearance of your room. And, it is fairly easy to do.

What does this molding actually do? In addition to adding an aesthetic dimension to your baseboards, it actually serves a practical purpose. It protects your baseboards from being chipped and dented by vacuum cleaners, furniture and other things that move around at floor level. Which is why after a few years this molding tends to get a little beaten up.

Typically this base molding comes in 2 shapes, quarter round or shoe molding. When you shop for materials for this project, it is usually best to replace your existing molding with the same shape. Otherwise you may end up having to do a little work on your baseboard or floor to finish previously unexposed areas.

Another consideration is the type of wood. You can usually get pine or oak in both shapes. We recommend that you match your flooring material and that you put a clear or stained finish on the molding as opposed to painting it to match the baseboard. When paint gets chipped off, it can be a lot more conspicuous.

Skill Level & Time To Complete
• Beginner - 1 to 2 hours
• Intermediate - 45 to 90 minutes
• Advanced - 30 to 60 minutes

Always wear eye protection when working with power tools and striking tools.

Common Mistakes
If you currently have quarter round molding and you install shoe molding, it will not cover as much of your floor as quarter round. The newly exposed part of the floor may not match the rest of the floor.

Helpful Tips
You need access to the entire perimeter of the room you are working on. Move as much furniture as possible to the center of the room so it does not interfere with your project.

1. If you are removing old base molding, start by taking a utility knife and carefully cut through any paint that is adhering the base molding to the baseboard. This will prevent you from chipping the paint on the baseboard as you pry away the base molding.
2. Using a stiff putty knife, work the base molding loose by pushing it behind and under the base molding. Be careful not to damage the baseboard or the floor. Pry the molding completely away from the baseboard using a flat bar. Now remove all nails.
3. While the molding is removed, you have an excellent opportunity to sand and paint your baseboards. If they are in good shape, continue on with the base molding installation. Before you cut your moldings to length, you should prep and apply a finish to them. Take your new wood moldings and lightly sand them. Lay them on a set of saw horses and finish them to match your floors. This can be as simple as a few coats of varnish.
4. Installing your new moldings is very simple. Basically there are 4 different cutting and joining techniques to get you through this project and they will work for both quarter round shapes and shoe molding shapes.

End of run. When your base molding ends at a door casing or other termination point, cut a 45-degree miter and butt the tip of it up against the object. It should end at the same point the baseboard ends. When you finish the installation, touch up the ends with the same finish used on face of the base molding.

5. Mid-run joint. If you have a long run that requires 2 pieces of molding, do not butt together the 2 ends of molding. Instead, miter cut (45 degrees) both ends so that they overlap at the joint. This will prevent a visible gap as the wood shrinks and expands over time.
6. Outside corner. Outside corners are accomplished by simple mitering. Cut two 45-degree miters and match them up on the outside corner. If the outside corner is not a perfect 90-degree angle, you may need to carve your miters slightly greater or less than 45 degrees.
7. Inside corner. Run your base molding all the way to the perpendicular baseboard corner. Do not miter this first piece. Miter cut (45 degrees) the other piece coming into the corner. Using a coping saw, follow the curved edge of your miter cut to trim off the back part of the molding.
8. Use a utility knife to whittle away any wood that prevents a tight fit into the corner, and place the mitered piece into the piece that is flush to the wall.
9. Now that you know how to handle the different types of cuts and joints, start installing the base molding from a corner and work your way around the room. As you cut each piece, put it in place and drill pilot holes to prevent splitting when you nail it in. Drill the holes at an angle so that the molding is pulled tight to both the baseboard and the floor. You will actually be nailing the molding to the baseboard. Use 2” finishing nails. Set the nails and fill the holes with wood filler.



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