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What is Baseboard Molding?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 August 2014
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Baseboard molding is the wood trim that runs along the bottom of interior walls. This trim decoratively fills in the area where the wall and floor meet. Baseboard moldings are available in a wide variety of woods and styles.

Pine, fir, and oak are common woods used for baseboard molding, but many other types of wood including ash, cherry, bamboo and cypress are also used. Finger jointing is a popular process used for producing baseboard moldings. Finger jointed wood has had all the defects removed during processing. Both long and short lengths of lumber are jointed together to create very long lengths of strong molding trim.

Many baseboard trims are sold in lengths between 8 - 16 feet (2.44 - 4.88 meters). When buying baseboard molding, lengths longer than the length of the wall are needed to allow for waste when cutting the trim sections to fit. There are many different styles of wood baseboard trims used today. Quarter round, or shoe molding, is a popular type of baseboard trim. It has somewhat of an oval wedge shape to it and is basically a fourth, or one quarter, of a circle.

Baseboard molding usually sticks out from the wall rather than being flat. This helps prevent damage to the wall from vacuums. Baseboard moldings should be of good quality so they don't chip or become easily scuffed. This type of trim not only helps protect the wall, but also adds a decorative and finished look to interiors.

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Crown molding is the upper decorative wood trim on walls, while chair rail molding runs along the lower middle area of a wall. While crown molding tops or crowns the wall, baseboard molding forms the base or bottom of interior walls. Chair rail molding is named for its traditional use of being installed in kitchens at the height needed to protect the wall from the backs of kitchen chairs. The colors and looks of all three types of wood moldings should co-ordinate together as well as with the overall style of the room.

Casings should also coordinate with baseboard and other kinds of molding. Casings are the framing trims around doors and windows. While baseboard molding is often smooth, casings may be scalloped or embossed as well as fluted or ridged.

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