Trim before or after prefinished hardwood installation

issalambertMay 3, 2012

Hi All,

We're in the midst of a new build. I picked out natural hickory handscraped prefinished flooring..its 3/4' thick and my trim is already up on the wall and has only a 1/4' clearance between the bottom of the trim and the floor. Advice please! The builder said that its always done this way and they will use cordwood on the bottom...I feel like I am going to lose a lot of my trim by doing it this way.

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Thats odd. Ive been a professional floor refinisher/installer for over 10 yrs. Done lots of new homes along with remods and the trim is ALWAYS the last to go in or at the least after the floors are installed. So this problem does happen. You are going to lose lot of trim. Also need to think about the ends buttin against the trim. Its better to have the baseboards installed on top of the floor to allow the needed expansion gaps. Tell your builder to remove and reinstall after installion.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 5:11PM
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Greg, thank you so much for your insight. I was so upset when I saw the trim installed this way. I actually was in tears over builder said that he would take the trim off and raise it up a bit..but I am having to pay for half the expense to do so. I am unhappy about it and confused. They were adamant that this is the way that they do it and I would never know the difference in height....

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 5:17PM
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They do it that way as a standard way of finishing a room. All finish floorings are cut up to the baseboard and then a quarter round or shoe molding is installed where necessary. In my opinion, and that of many others in the industry, that is unprofessional. That you were scheduled to have a 3/4" solid product installed should have been taken into consideration.

Hope it works out to your satisfaction.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 6:05PM
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Thanks Greg,
Visited yesterday and the trim was removed and put up higher so now my flooring planks can fit underneath. Flooring is not yet installed; but trim was taken off and put on...again. I don't know why they can't wait until AFTER the flooring is installed. Good grief! My trim is 3 1/4 flat/mission style trim. I really hope that the cordwood won't look silly against it...I wish we didn't have to use it.. Any tips or things I need to look for after they are done?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 9:25AM
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Im glad to hear they did what you asked. Keep in mind this is YOUR house. You are the boss. You are paying them. They need to respect your wishes. The cord wood as you call it can look nice. The trend these days is to go no quarterround or shoe. Just base. Now thats a decision for you to make but either way it will look nice. These guys who installed your base sound like bozos. They should have waited until the floors in. I can see why they didnt because the are going to add shoe. But what if you didnt like that look? Just some pondering on my part.

Some things to keep an eye out are the following.
Once the floor is installed, if you still have painting to do make sure the cover the floor tightly!! Over spray and paint drips are a pain to clean.
Second. Your floor is pre finish. That means its a finished product. If you have crews traveling over it. Be agressive and tell them no shoes. No tools nothing sits on the floor. If thats not an option. Then insist the lay down something like foam or rubber mats to protect the floor.
And finally make sure NOTHING gets drag over the wood. Everything gets carried over it. This is your job to be sure these things are followed. Lay down the law and stick to your guns. Its Your house!

Hope this helps and good luck!!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 4:43PM
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Thank you for taking the time to write to me again. Yes, this is my very first build so I am lacking confidence at times. I would prefer no cord wood..but I am not sure we can pull that off now that the trim is already won't be a tight fit..what do you think?

The flooring will be one of the last things done and yes, I will be watching very carefully so it isn't scratched.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 4:51PM
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If you prefer no cord wood. TELL THEM. its never too late. They may be grumpy with you but by the sound of it they have not done their job of ensuring your satisfaction. I learned a long time ago not to jump to conclusions and do something without the homeowners approval. Saves me the headache and time by simply asking them first. Homes are not cheap so you should get what you want and not feel regret for not speaking up. You have to live in the home and look atvthe work everyday you dont want to regret it and be unhappy for years!!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 5:18PM
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