Drywall without baseboard
I’d like to forgo baseboard trim altogether and extend the drywall down to the floor. I’ve seen this design feature in contemporary homes, but I sure could use some tips and tricks. Can you help?
Brian Williams-Van Klooster, via email, None
Myron Ferguson, a drywall contractor in Galway, New York, and the author of Drywall, replies: I have done this in a few houses, but not for quite a while. It was popular in the 1980s as a cost-saving measure. I don’t think it’s a great idea for four reasons: (1) The baseboard protects the walls from vacuuming and feet. (2) The 1/2-in. gap at the floor created by using precut studs and pushing the drywall tight to the ceiling helps to prevent moisture from wicking up if the floor should get wet. (3) The gap also allows the building to settle a little after construction. If the drywall is fit tight, the seams may ridge or crack, or fasteners may pop. (4) It’s really a pain in the neck to detail.
If you still want to do it, split the 1/2-in. gap in two: 1/4 in. at the center of the wall where the tapered seam is and 1/4 in. at the floor to allow for settling. You’ll have to do some filling at the bottom of the wall so that the beveled edge won’t be visible after painting. Use a tapeable L- or J-bead along the bottom edge to help prevent any wicking moisture.