Remove Baseboards or Use Quarter Round for New Hardwood Install?

lmalm53October 10, 2009

We are in the process of getting bids for new hardwood install and also refinishing of existing hardwood. The Great Room and Dining Room which are currently carpeted will have new hardwood installation. These rooms have newly painted wood trim and baseboards.

One flooring company was recommending careful removal of our painted baseboards in these rooms and then reinstall the baseboards after new floor is installed, with paint touch up, fill and recaulking as needed.

The other two flooring companies refuse to remove the baseboards but want to install quarter round or shoe molding on top the newly installed hardwood. They state baseboards will need to be repainted by us.

None of my other rooms with existing hardwood have quarter round molding at baseboards so the 2 new installed rooms will not match in style if we go that route.

Is removing the existing baseboards and reinstalling on top the new hardwood not the standard? Why such resistance from the 2 companies?

This is going to be a large flooring project with 1000 sq ft existing hardwood refinished and 800 sq ft new hardwood installation. Shouldn't the baseboards be removed for the best finished result?

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Why? The answer is obvious to anyone in the flooring business. It takes much more time and careful 'expertise' to remove existing baseboard and reinstall and touch it up versus fitting and installing simple shoe molding. The two companies that are resisting removing the baseboards probably want to make the most money they can realize when doing your job or don't have the skilled labor to remove and reinstall the baseboards.

There is no 'standard' on how baseboard and trim should be part of a hardwood floor job. Sometimes the decision on whether to just use baseboard or add the shoe molding comes down to simple aesthetics...i.e., which 'looks' best to your eye and works with the architectural details and the decorating styles in the home.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 1:24PM
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I (intensely) dislike the look of shoe molding. I hope I do not offend anyone who likes this look, but I canÂt imagine going through this kind of expense and ending up with a look I didnÂt like.

What do you like?

You mentioned that the other rooms in your home do not have the shoe molding. If you like this look, you can always add it there. If you donÂt like this look, make sure that all bids include the extra work to give you what you want.

My 2 cents. :-)


    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 4:03PM
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Appreciate the responses. Do I need to worry about adequate expansion room for the new hardwood if I don't remove the existing baseboards and just use shoe molding?

We had the house built 20 years ago and the hardwood and carpets were installed underneath the 4.5 inch baseboards. I really don't care to lose a portion of the height of my baseboards by using quarter round or shoe molding. This would result in a "mismatched" look when compared to the baseboards in my other rooms.

My preference is to have the baseboards removed prior to the new floor installation. I just have to decide if it makes more sense to try to preserve the original baseboards for re-installation or have new baseboards installed and painted.

Here are some pics of the trim and baseboards in the 2 rooms that will have hardwood installed. Both rooms were recently painted, but I don't mind repainting baseboards as long as I get the best quality installation of the new floors and baseboards that look like these again when done.

Dining Room

Great Room

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 1:23AM
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lmal53, if I would have had such nice big beautiful baseboard molding as you do with the carpets placed underneath, I would have not had to remove the molding and just had the wood installed. My carpets were on top of a 3" molding and if I did not remove the molding, less than 2" would be seen after the shoe molding was placed on it.

I would just remove the carpet and see if you need any shoe molding since your baseboards are on top of the carpet.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 1:50AM
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I give both options when new flooring is going in. R&R base molding is very tedious, especially if it is that MDF junk... forget it!!! Taller base doesn't look bad with quarter round. It actually enhances it. It does look bad with short base moldings.

I will be the first to tell you, I'm no painter. I totally suck at caulking and painting, probably because I hate it so much I try to rush it. So, I will install it, but it is up to my clients to paint it, hire there own painter or pay my mark-up on the painter I subcontract it out to, so it is done right.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 11:32PM
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