Decorative molding (or moulding) is high on most people’s home improvement to-do lists. They want to ADD more molding. I want to start by getting rid of some molding. I am no expert, but I do have strong opinions on what looks good and what doesn’t. My home is full of examples of what I think DOES NOT look good.
So now we’ll just have to wait and see how long it takes me to put in new molding. I wasn’t really planning to tear that out and I have a bunch of other projects on my list. But the real problem, of course, is figuring out what to do with the gap between the wood and the wall. I’ve been considering a few options.
Option #1 –
Cut up some spare pieces of flooring to fit in the gap. This will only work where the floor boards are parallel to the wall. I foresee myself having to tear out a bit of the floor. But don’t worry, I already know I can do it. No sooner had I installed hardwood floor in our old kitchen, as part of our complete remodel, we had a pluming leak that ruined a 4 ft section from one wall to the other. I had already installed all the base cabinets ON TOP of the hardwood floor, so I had to fit new pieces in to the strip with no wiggle room. This should be easier. No cabinets on top.
Option #2 –
This RapidFit moulding from Lowe’s might work. It’s designed to go over existing jacked up moulding. Cool right? So maybe I should wait to tear the rest of the moulding in my house out until I see how it will work. Of course it’s online only, otherwise I would have tried it today. It is 7/8 thick, which would cover the gap in almost all spots, however, the base moulding would protrude past the door casing and that will probably look stupid. It’s still worth a shot. I guess I could RapidFit the door casings too, but now we’re just getting crazy.
So take home message for today — If you’re going to take the time to put down hardwood flooring make sure you remove the base molding first. Capping it with giant quarter round only makes it look stupid.
Option #3 –
Install thicker 3/4″ base molding that will cover the expansion gap.
Update: I went with option #3 and installed 5.5″ x 3/4″ base molding, which was part of the board and batten paneling I installed. It covers up the gap just fine. Yay! Problem solved.
My biggest molding pet peeves:
Pet peeve #1 — Not removing baseboard when installing new floor
OMG don’t be so lazy people! I’m talking to those of you who have replaced your floor and tried to take the easy way out. It doesn’t look good.
If you’re confused, let me explain. Let’s say you move into a house but you decide you want new floors (wood, tile, laminate, vinyl, cork, etc.). You either decide to install it yourself or you hire someone to do it. It becomes clear that it’s cheaper and easier to leave the existing base molding in place. The problem is that most types of flooring need a little room around the edges to allow for expansion and contraction. If you don’t leave a vertical gap your wood can end up getting all warped as it expands and the pieces press up against each other.
If you leave the base molding in place and install new flooring, you must leave a gap in front of your existing base molding. That space now needs to be covered by quarter round molding. Yuck. You’ve not only shrunk your base molding by covering the bottom part with new flooring, but now you’ve covered even more with quarter round. You’re left with a teeny-tine base molding and an ugly quarter round and it’s just not pretty.
Pet peeve #2 — Quarter round molding
I understand there is a purpose for quarter round molding. It can cover expansion gaps that are necessary for some types of flooring (like hardwood) and can hide vertical gaps between base molding and uneven floor boards. I get it. What I hate is when you see it EVERYWHERE. Like instead of measuring and cutting something correctly, let’s just throw some quarter round molding over it. It goes hand in hand with pet peeve #1. You don’t need to use quarter round molding when installing a new floor. Instead you could remove the base molding, install the new floor, then reattach the base molding, or install new molding, ON TOP of the new floor. That way the expansion gap is hidden by the base molding and there’s no need for ugly quarter round. It would look like this:
Here is another area of my house with too much molding going on.
Other rooms in my house that have new base molding
I’ve redone the floor in the laundry room and basement of my house and in both instances the baseboard was removed and new installed. In the basement I used an indoor/outdoor PVC material from Lowe’s because the basement has been known to flood. It has worked out perfectly! (Tutorial on painting the stairs HERE)In my laundry room, I installed cork flooring and standard 3 1/4″ primed base molding without any quarter round. (Read post HERE) I now wish I had used a higher base molding, which is what I ended up with in the rest of the house.
Here are some other ideas from around the web:
Instead of quarter ROUND, use something with a more interesting shape, like shoe molding. A true base shoe is taller than it is wide, enabling it to conceal a large vertical gap without appearing chunky. Source: House of Turquoise
Use it in the right proportions. In my house the quarter round was nearly half as tall as the base molding, which looked really silly. I could have replace the baseboards with ones that were the same thickness, but much taller, say 6″ and then added quarter round. This would have been much more proportional.