Flawless Two-Piece Baseboard
If you dial in your measurements and fine-tune your cuts, you won’t need the painter to make your work look good.
Synopsis: Although often passed up in favor of speedbase-style single-piece baseboard, which is faster to install and less expensive, two-piece baseboard has several advantages: It’s better at hiding waves in walls, and it keeps joints tighter in corners. Carpenter Nick Schiffer explains his typical installation process, which includes measuring, cutting, scribing, fastening, making splices, and cutting copes.
In the world of building, finish carpentry is the second-to-last step before the homeowners move in—or in the case of a remodel like this one, before they reoccupy the room. My job is to make sure that the framers, drywall installers, and flooring guys who came before me look good, and that the painter who comes after me isn’t left with the task of hiding sloppy joints, excessive nail holes, and oversize gaps.
Although many houses are trimmed with a one-piece, shaped base-board that mimics the look of a traditional two-piece installation—a product known as speedbase—I still prefer the real deal: flat stock topped with a separate cap molding. This two-piece installation takes a bit longer, but it provides more leeway for finesse when it comes to hiding waves in walls and keeping joints tight at corners, even if they aren’t square.
y process for installing baseboard on remodel jobs is essentially the same as it is in new construction. The only notable exceptions are that remodels typically include a bit more job-site protection, may require that I set up my saw outside or in a garage if the house is occupied, and likely involve removing the existing baseboard before installing the new.
Ideally, I remove all furniture and set up my miter saw and other tools right in the room that I’m working in. at the least, I move all the furniture to the center of…