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Thread: Baseboard/Floor

  1. #1
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    Default Baseboard/Floor

    I'll be installing laminate flooring and am considering replacing the existing baseboards. Should baseboards rest on the subfloor or can they be installed above laminate or hardwood flooring to avoid the need for nailing down quarter round moldings?

    Also, is it necessary to caulk (with silicon-based caulking) the 1/4-inch gap around the laminate flooring?

    Thanks for your advice.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Baseboard/Floor

    With the base it's personal preference to set on top or use quarter round, or both. IMHO, it's a cleaner look to install the base over the flooring without the quarter round.

    Do not fill the 1/4" gap between the wall and floor. It is there for the floor to expand and contract as it needs to, filling, even with silicone, could be detrimental to this and cause buckling.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Baseboard/Floor

    On the last one I did I pulled all the base and replaced it. I found that the drywall sat proud of the sub floor so I did not need to leave a full 1/4 away from the wall for expansion contraction issues. That left plenty of flooring under the new base with no need for 1/4 round.

    I also bought a Japanese pull saw and used a piece of the pad and a piece of flooring as a guide to cut off the door jambs and trim so the flooring could slide underneath.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Baseboard/Floor

    Typically laminate flooring is considered a floating floor ... meaning that it's not attached to the underlying sub floor by mechanical or adhesive fastening. It simply lays on top of the sub floor with each laminate plank attached to each other to form it's seemingly monolithic surface.

    Depending on the materials used will determine how much they will expand and contract. This varies between different manufacturers and they will specify what the required minimum expansion gap to leave along edges like the walls. In your case if that manufacturer recommends 1/4 inch gap then you don't want to fill the gap with caulk since the laminate flooring will expand and the caulk will prevent this from happening resulting in the flooring to buckle.

    Since you are replacing the baseboards anyway it might be easier to remove the old ones first then lay down the laminate. This way you won't have to worry about being as precise with the edges of the flooring and with the required gap from the wall.

    Believe me you won't find the walls to be square so you may have more than a 1/4 inch gap in some ares when you are doing the layout.

    The new replacement baseboards would then be applied on top of the laminate which will hide the expansion gap and any irregularities from the edges of the planks.

    Using the quarter round will depend on how thick the baseboard will be and if there is any wave ( up and down ) to the floor.
    If there is any wave to the floor then you may find the bottom of the base board will be touching the floor in spots and gaps in other areas. The sight line of the base board is more noticeable along the top so with the quarter round it's easier to hide the irregularities along the bottom. Also if you end up with gaps that the thickness of the base board doesn't cover then the quarter round will usually cover those.

    Hopefully there is some useful information here for you.

    Good luck.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Baseboard/Floor

    Darn... by the time I finished wring my novel there were two replys ... oh well.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Baseboard/Floor

    Quote Originally Posted by canuk View Post
    Darn... by the time I finished wring my novel there were two replys ... oh well.
    You're supposed to be working anyway ...


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Baseboard/Floor

    Hey wait a minute ...and you

    Actually I am working ... on learning how to spell

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Baseboard/Floor

    I work from home - a writer these days.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Baseboard/Floor

    Thank you, kentvw, A. Spruce, and canuk for your thoughtful, informative, well-written (and correctly-spelled ) responses. I learned a great deal. (Thanks kentvw for reminding me that I need to get an undercut saw.)

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Baseboard/Floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Arnel View Post
    (Thanks kentvw for reminding me that I need to get an undercut saw.)
    Well, allow me to brag a bit.

    Using the Japanese pull saw to under cut the jambs was my idea at the time. Its great because you can flex the handle up and keep the blade perfectly even with the floor making a very, very clean, quick cut.

    Anyway, I had a flooring contractor in my house to refinish some hardwood flooring. He asked who installed the pre-finished floor in the rec room and when I told him I did it myself he asked about how the jambs were undercut. I showed him the saw and he told me he used a sawzall to cut them but they never came out that smooth. He said his next stop was the nearest ACE hardware store to buy one.

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