How to Cut Baseboard Molding
LESLIE: Kevin in Florida, welcome to The Money Pit. What’s going on at your house?
KEVIN: At the present time I have a project that I need to do pretty soon. I have to replace the baseboard trim on all my floors to – a pipe burst that I had in my home; that soaked everything.
TOM: Well, it’s a bad reason – it’s a bad reason but it’s a good project.
KEVIN: Right. But my problem with trim is this. I have tried for years. Cutting my trim, when I come to corners – inside corners, outside corners. Regardless of what it is, when I have to put the [45 in, the joint went to] (ph) or a corner comes together, I can never get the corners to match. It’s always – I always wind up with a V either at the top or the bottom no matter how I try to cut this. I’ve tried it with mitre boxes. [I’ve bought] (ph) the compound mitre saws.
TOM: Alright. Kevin, Kevin, have you ever – have you ever learned how to do a coped joint?
KEVIN: A coped joint. No, I recently purchased a book that explains to get a coping saw.
TOM: Right. It starts with a coping saw. That’s right. (Leslie chuckles) And the coped joint – and now we’re talking about the inside corner here. That is the secret …
LESLIE: Right, you can’t do this one on the outside ((inaudible)).
TOM: Yeah, this doesn’t work on the outside but it works on the inside. And let me give you the radio explanation, assuming – I mean because you can’t see what I’m talking about, I will explain to you how it works. You take one side of the baseboard and you don’t do anything to it but just nail it to the wall. So that’s easy. The only thing you have to be careful when you put baseboard moulding in is that underneath the drywall, the drywall stops. There’s usually a little bit of a gap. Just make sure the baseboard ends up fairly flat; it doesn’t tilt in. If it tilts one way or the other, that’s one way to have a gap.
Now, the side that’s going to go against that, you basically cut that at a 45-degree angle and then you follow the cut line and you cut all the material away that is – that makes up that 45. You sort of cut it back the other way so you end up with a thin edge. And that’s what we mean when we say a coped joint. And then when you press that against the piece that’s solid, it comes in nice and tight and it never shows a gap. And that’s the way you install moulding.
KEVIN: OK, so one corner would remain flat without a 45.
KEVIN: Shouldn’t cut a 45 on both pieces.
TOM: And the other one has a normal 45 except that you’re going to take that coping saw and cut everything away that makes up that 45-degree angle except for the very fine line between it and the surface. And once you cut that away, follow the curve of the – of whatever moulding you have at the tap. If it has an ogee design – whatever it has – when you press that up against the other piece it’s going to be nice and tight.
And here’s one more trick of the trade. If you have a piece that’s, say, like 10 feet long, you want to make it like 10 feet and a half inch. You want to make it a little bit long so that when you put the moulding in, it ends up sort of bowing out in the middle a little bit. And as you press it against the wall, it expands and makes that joint even tighter and it will never, ever come out.
KEVIN: Alright, thank you very much.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.