suggestions for baseboards in kitchen 1940s cape cod

igarvinNovember 8, 2010

hi everyone. DH and I are DIYing the upgrade to our 1950s style kitchen (it couldn't be salvaged, a roof leak molded the cabinets) and now that we've put in a new floor, we realized we have no idea what to do to make the baseboards look good.

The old baseboard was nothing but glued on vinyl

as you can see, we have 3/4" or so baseboards in the rest of the house. Should we go to the trouble of matching it (we would have to do it ourselves, we've read about buying a custom router piece which is less than $200 vs a mill which may top $1k) We have also considered a plain, thinner molding of equal height.

Any thoughts of suggestions? Here is the new floor as an idea (marmoleum) you can see where the old stuff was removed, we need molding straight down the left wall as we reconfigured out kitchen into an L shape.

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I'm not a woodworking guru, but we have a 1948-built cape that my DH has made the baseboards for. Can you give a closeup shot of the existing baseboard you are talking about replacing or matching? Does it have the quarter-round at the bottom or not?

I'm always interested in anything to do with of my favorite home styles. My instinct says to match it.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 4:59PM
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It does have a quart round at the bottom - ours was built in the late 30s (not sure on the date, we but we know it was deeded in 41) The kitchen is the only room on the main floor that never had the molding like the rest of the house (our upstairs is still the knotty pine). They were poorly repainted so when we get the floors re-done we'll take care to make them nicer again. They are quite simple!

do you have any pics to share? I love this style home, I have always wanted one and couldn't be more thrilled..

Here is a link that might be useful: cape cod pics

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 7:43PM
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Your molding looks pretty standard, you should be able to get it at any large diy store or lumberyard. It will be two pieces though--the main bottom piece, and the curved top piece.
Quarter round for the bottom is available anywhere.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 6:08AM
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That 1/4 round was more than likely added after the house had settled.The older houses usually had the floors installed last, after all the trades were finished. That style base is available , maybe not exactly but it can be found. It now comes in one piece made from MDF, measures 5 1/4"h, the cost is reasonable.
For the inside corners I use 1" x 1" x 6" blocks. This does two things, facilitates in the installation. Most house do not have 90 degree corners , it is easier to shim the blocks than it is to play with a 12' piece w a miter.It adds a little character. As far as the outside corner, which makes the transition to the older base. I would run those blocks down a table saw taking out a section to allow a fit onto the corner. The transition won't be noticeable

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 10:47AM
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our house doesn't have 90 degree turns except in one of the closets LOL thanks for the tip. We took out a piece of quarter round a while back and the floor under it was unfinished but I do think it was added for settling.

Our flooring is under all of the walls, like this:

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 11:52AM
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The picture of your molding looks just like ours. My DH made his own base molding from plain 6" wide x 1" thick boards. He then added the top molding and after laying the floor he added the quarter round. I like the tall molding very much. He prepainted/finished the quarter round before installing it. He did not use quarter round where he installed granite tile on the floors. That quarter round is secured by finishing (?) nails into the molding and NOT into the floors.

When he started talking about doing the base moldings for our stucco cottage in Alabama, I asked that he eliminate the groove in the top run of molding, to keep dust from collecting in it. I prefer low maintenance stuff.

Even if it does not all match perfectly, it is hard to spot the differences.

I visited your photo album, and think you have a great little cape. It should keep you busy for a long time personalizing it. DH has owned this house for almost 50 years, and through the years made many improvements. There is nothing quite as charming as a cape which grows up with your family.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 4:52PM
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I'm in an old Victorian and have gone to extraordinary lengths to preserve (remove, strip, repair, refinish) the original baseboards because they were gorgeously profiled. but where we did not have that baseboard (the kitchen and the LR addition off the back), I go with what I can get - matching room to room just doesn't matter to me as long as each room has "design integrity" and I like what's in it. Casings for windows and doors aren't consistent throughout either. Well OK, in a lot of instances they also aren't back up yet, but WHEN they're up they won't match.

That's just to say, I would do what you like. Your taste is becoming part of the history of house, and it's OK not to be original. You're writing another chapter.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 5:06PM
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Thanks everyone for the responses! We'll take a look around to see if we can buy what we want but DH is interested in trying his hand at making them.

thanks, Karin for the encouragement. I like being original but I also think some things can be very much improved or different.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 11:09AM
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It would be easier to make it yourself in two pieces--you will need a router and a bit of the proper shape to make the top piece. Draw the shape on a piece of paper full size and take it to the store with you--but router bits are pretty expensive, so be prepared. It isn't hard to make once you have the proper bit, and the good thing is, you can make it any wood you like and as much as you want--saving money the more you make.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 12:02PM
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The base molding in your picture looks identical to ours (1908 home) except that it appears to be missing its top piece. In our kithchen I can see this same two-piece molding behind the cabinets. So the kitchen had the same base molding as the rest of the house. I've seen both pieces available on line.

I would love to see your kitchen when you finish.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 2:27PM
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Diane, can you share a picture? I'd love to see it :) Thanks for the heads up! I'll post a picture, I hope we are really done in 2 weeks (to atleast a level where we can use it!)

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 2:35PM
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guess what we found under a floor board in the attic? The 'top' of the baseboard! My husband was hooking up the range hood vent and needed to open up some stuff and there it was. He shrieked LOL Thank you house owners for burying some! All we need to do is paint and get some 3/4" base of the appropriate height.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 7:54PM
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