baseboard help!any 'molding' to fill gaps where bb meets floor?

dirtymartiniNovember 2, 2010

When we moved into our home, we were really happy with the flagstone flooring in the living/dining room. However, it is very "bumpy" and not perfectly level. The previous owners had a very thin baseboard, and it was a very dark stained wood. We did not care for that look, plus wanted to baseboards to match throughout the entire house (rest of house has wood floors) so we replaced all the baseboards with 5 1/2 baseboards painted a dove white.

WELL, in this case, the previous owners might have had a reason for their choice! Because the baseboard they chose was thin (maybe 3 inches? I am not sure)and kind of flimsy, I guess it was more flexible. PLUS, because it was a dark stain, you could not see the shadows of the gaps where the baseboard meets (or in some spots, DOES NOT MEET) the floor.

There are a few spots where the the floor is uneven and you can really see the gaps and it is driving me nuts. I was in a home recently and noticed that their baseboard had a molding that kind of curved down and out onto the floor a tiny bit...kind of like sprung crown molding, but on the floor. Hope that makes sense. Anyway, they bought their baseboard like that. I was wondering if there is something I can add now to the existing baseboards. Of course I don't want it to LOOK like it was added after the fact.


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A good finish carpenter could probably scribe your baseboards to fit the irregularities of your floor.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 10:50PM
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You can use either quarter round or shoe moulding. It is usually attached as a separate piece.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 10:50PM
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As posted above, you can use shoe molding and just paint it the same color as your baseboards. If you search google images for baseboard trim, you'll probably see a lot of examples. When attached to the baseboard and caulked, I think it looks like an extra detail on the baseboard.

We have a few gaps in some places where the 6" baseboard meets our wide plank flooring and were originally going to use shoe molding. We ended up not using it but I like either look.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 11:01PM
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wow, I have been Googling and see what you mean! You know what is awful? I was considering having it (whatever advice you folks gave me) done *only* in the room with the flagstone flooring (living/dining and hall) but now my baseboard simply looks "├╝nfinished" to me, even in the dining/kitchen and bedrooms, where we have wood floors and no gaps between baseboard and floor.

Do you agree, that a baseboard *should* have a finishing touch such as shoe molding? Also, what is the difference between shoe molding and quarter round? When I googled both terms, I saw many of the same images.

Thank you all for quickly giving me terms to Google! I kept googling "baseboard moldings""and it was not getting me anywhere!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 11:13PM
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With nice 5 1/2 inch baseboard I would do shoe molding. The shape is slightly different than quarter round.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 7:06AM
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Shoe's flexibility suit it for following undulations, but nothing will be flexible enough to fit actual steps in a stone floor. For stone-to-stone vertical displacements, the baseboard has to be scribed, at which point shoe is neither needed or helpful, because it would need to be scribed as well, and you would really want to begin with a custom, taller shoe molding. Some older houses (with jumbo baseboards) used a 1" tall shoe mold.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 8:01AM
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Thanks for the input! I am attaching a link to a typical gap. Do you think a shoe molding would work for this? Wouldn't it be better to have a thin shoe molding so that it is more flexible?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 10:08AM
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one more picture, another part of the can see to the left of the picture, the baseboard meets the floor. To the right, there is a gap.

Thanks again!!!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 10:10AM
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Another option is window stop moulding. It is similar to shoe moulding but a bit taller. I our house we took out the W2W carpet and put in glue-down cork tiles, so we had a big gap under the baseboards (which weren't removed). Shoe wouldn't cover some of the largest gaps, so we wandered through the lumber aisles until we came up with the window stop. The profile is similar to shoe, but it is taller. I don't think you have that much gap to cover, but this may help someone else who pulls up this thread.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 11:41AM
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thanks and yes, I love adding info to threads that can maybe help someone else later on! so you think the gaps are not *that* bad? Hmm, there may be a spot that is worse, I need to go look again. But if what I showed you is the worst gap, then shoe molding should work, eh??

I better pour my DH a nice, stiff drink when he walks in the door, and let him finish it before I mention that he is not yet done with our baseboards!!!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 1:46PM
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dirtymartini -

That gap is nothing compared to what we had to deal with. I think we had up to 1/2" in places. The shoe simply wouldn't cover it. Now, keep in mind that to cover that gap your DH is going to have to scribe the shoe to the variations in the floor. I'm wondering if there isn't a way to just put some caulk inthe areas that are really bothering you?

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 2:20PM
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no, he is anti caulk in this case...said it is just going to get dirty looking quickly. Do you think that is the case? Is there a caulk you can paint over to protect?

Funny, the more I research, the more I really like the look of shoe molding! Evn in my other roomsd where there is no issue with gaps!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 2:50PM
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I agree with jakabedy -- I don't see anything that couldn't be fixed by a neat line of caulk.

Beautiful floors, btw.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 2:52PM
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As Som Mon said above - you are going to have to scribe any wood that you put there. Shoe molding will have the same gap in most places. Caulk is a reasonable alternative, but not as nice as a scribed baseboard or shoe.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 6:16PM
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I think your gaps are minimal. We have a few about that size and I don't even notice.

We ended up using no shoe molding because our house is more of a rustic ranch style and we thought the plain, clean look of the baseboard alone better matched the decor. I actually do prefer this look for our house.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 6:59PM
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I doubt anyone but you will ever notice the gaps. I would just leave it alone. Or ask someone who is a frequent visitor (and who you have not discussed this with) if they have ever noticed.

I say that as I was complaining to my sister how much I hated the way all our windows are offcenter. My sister, who has been to my home hundreds of times over the past ten years couldn't even picture my windows. The next time she came over, she was just like--oh yeah, I see what you mean--I never noticed before.

Another example: my neighbor was telling me how they replaced all their baseboards with much taller ones when they put in new hardwoods. We are replacing our hardwoods, and I told my husband I want to replace the baseboards too, but he said that he didn't want to spend the money for new baseboards. We went back and forth and then dropped the subject for the time being.

Anyway, the next weekend we went to our neighbors to see their new floors. We were there for several hours before I remembered that I hadn't looked at their baseboards. So, I agreed with my husband, we didnt need new baseboards. Even with baseboards on my mind, I didn't notice theirs until I specifically remembered to look at them.

I'd wait a month and see if its still high on the priority list. You will probably have moved on. Especially, if you know your husband is willing to fix it if you insist.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 11:12PM
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Thanks! I mentioned it to DH, and he said the same as you, he will have to scribe it. He is still anti he being silly? (I promise I won't tell him it was you guys that said he was silly!)

red eared-thanks for the compliment, they are indeed very beautiful. I attached a pic of the floors after we cleaned and sealed them. There are NO baseboards in the picture, and no outlet/switchplate covers, either. That is our entrance, the french doors to the right.

Do you have a red eared slider? My mom has one she "rescued" from a pet store, it is completely blind, born without eyes. She hand feeds it and takes it with her when she travels. Honestly, I am a big animal lover, but it is a little ridiculous! LOL, just wanted to share.

Thanks Diane and Judd!

Judd-Yes, ours is also a "rustic ranch" built in the 70s, has that faux spanish flair, so I totally know what you mean. We actually wanted to put REALLY rustic baseboards in, like, rough hewn thick slabs of wood...but the rock floor continues down the hall and the hall is already too narrow, we could not close it in anymore without it looking awful. I think my husband said it is so narrow is is not wheelchair accessible. Or maybe it is technically, just not up to the codes of today.

kristin-I know you are SOOOO right. Kind of the same principle why we should not point out our thick thighs or pot belly...we may obsess on things others don't notice! I am sure being on this forum can sometimes backfire, because it makes me think about things I normally would not have. To continue with my body image comparison, kind of like as a teen I would obsess over fashion magazines and skinny models, and in the end, it just made me feel bad about myself! I am not saying this forum makes me feel bad, but it does make me see the details....details that sometimes are just nit picky.

I do bite my tongue many times, when people come over and compliment the work we have done thusfar on the house. I want to say, "Yeah, but we still have to do this, this and this.." My friend recently redid her kitchen and the first time I saw it, my jaw dropped, it was stunning. She then started pointing out what they still needed to do and I had an "aha" moment just then...while I know she was being modest and perhaps was even uncomfortable by my compliments (again...kind of like when someone says "oh, you have pretty hair" and instead of just saying thank you, we point out the grays or the roots overgrown or whatever).

I do also think we notice whatever we are working on at the moment. You are right, I NEVER look at baseboards in someone's home. Really, I guess you shouldn't..baseboards should not be a focal point. But lately I have, because that is what we are dealing with right now.

The other thing (and this is directed to everyone on this thread) is that the room is not decorated yet. Just a dining table and chairs, a hutch and a ssideboard. No window treatments, no pictures on the wall. I am SURE I will feel a little better about those gaps once all that is done.

Thanks again!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 7:06AM
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I know I am being obnoxious with the pics...especially since I have not mastered photobucket (can't seem to make the pics big enough over there, so when I post them here, they are too small) but when looking for the pic I posted above, I found this pic. This is why I really don't want to bust DH's chops about the baseboards, the guy works like a mule in this house. He is doing EVERYTHING himself. This is our home we plan on staying in forever, and there is a sense of satisfaction in knowing we did most of the stuff ourselves. And when I see a small imperfection somewhere, I try to smile and think
a)that imperfection saved me a lot of money, if a pro did it, would have had to pay a lot of labor.
b)that's a little piece of my husband there, in that imperfection.

BTW, he does great work, he is not just a weekend warrior DIYer. But yeah, a professional probably could have scribed the baseboards a little better.

Oh, the pic shows the floor where he had to lift up a few stones, we could hear a "hollow" sound in this one spot, so several of them had to be removed and reset.

Thanks for letting me babble, I think I had too much caffeine this morning, I am feeling chatty!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 7:16AM
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Wow dirty, that's pretty!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 8:04AM
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If I visited your home, I would be absolutely stunned by your gorgeous floor, and would not be able to take my eyes off them to even notice the baseboards. But, if I did, I would just think, "Oh, good. Their house isn't perfect either." (Isn't that AWFUL to admit!)

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 8:25AM
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Good morning, dirty!

My husband did bring home a red-eared slider once. He thought the kids would like it, and they did, but I didn't know how to take care of it and thought it better to return it to the wild from whence it came. I'm sure he was happier, too!

I was not aware that your husband had laid that floor. Now I am tremendously impressed! That is not easy, trying to put those irregular stones together so that they fit and look good. My hat is off to him! Outstanding work!

My husband and I are into the Mexican hacienda look, so I have serious floor envy here, btw.

Back to the baseboards, I'm with others here who have said not to sweat it. No one else will notice, and once you get everything finished and furnished and decorated, you'll forget about them, too.

I say relax, have a margarita, and enjoy!



    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 9:00AM
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I see now where you say he was making a repair. Still beautiful!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 9:10AM
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Dirtymartini, your floors/house are gorgeous, and I'd have never noticed the gaps. They appear very minimal. I'd try to move on to something that will make a difference if I were in your shoes. You can drive yourself crazy trying for perfection!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 9:27AM
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Thanks cam!

Thanks dee! You are so right...and I do try to remember that. When I go to someone's house that is a little messy, it makes me feel more comfortable. I have a few friends that keep their house *pristine* and ya know what? If they ever knocked on my door without calling first, I would be mortified and probably not answer, afraid they would look down upon my '"MESS". But friends that have a house that looks "lived in" are welcome here anytime!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 9:41AM
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red eared-You did the right thing w/the turtle! That blind turtle of my mom's is going to outlive her, that is too much of a commitment for me, without any payoff, as far as I am concerned!

I would love to see pics of your house. Post them here if you want!

hoosier-Thanks! I guess since this is going to be our home for a loooong time, I feel I want everything perfect. Also, this is the first(and maybe the last) house that is not only a home, but a way of expressing ourselves. I never used to be "into" interior decorating, landscaping, etc. I mean, I could appreciate a beautifully appointed room or a pretty plant, but now I am actually interested in learning more about them both. While I just said I feel more comfortable in a slighly messy (lived in) house, I also appreciate going to someone's house and seeing that a "mood" has been created and effort has been put into bringing it all together. I am worried about having my beautiful spanish dining set handed down from my parents, gorgeous art on the walls, well thought out window treatments and then have something simple and basic as baseboards detract.

But yes, yes, I one is noticing! Except maybe a Gardenwebber. Not sure I would let any of you in my home!

Haha, I kid, I kid!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 9:51AM
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I am so glad I saw this post, so glad you posted your question!

I can see now that our solution to the same problem has been suggested by other posters so now I don't feel so badly or that I took a cheap shortcut. lol

Yes, we used colored caulk and it worked out just fine.
I was lucky in that I ordered two different colors because I wasn't sure which would match our kitchen floor better.
We have the really cheapy 12" x 12" non-gaged slate tile and talk about not level and gaps!
Turns out both colors would work.
Now I no longer see that really deep, dark shadow line.....the baseboard looks more like a continuous flow without that shadow gap.
Thanks again for posting your question.....eased my mind. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Colored Caulks

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 11:31AM
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Oh my! We are near the end of a kitchen remodel, so my entire house is a WRECK! LOL! But in our quest to aim for the style target, we did purchase an antique table and chairs that will go nicely with the new kitchen, plus some new Talavera pottery. I'll be posting some pics soon when that's all set up.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 12:28PM
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amity-Oh, I am so glad there are others with this issue. And your comment and link are oh so helpful. I kept thinking we need to caulk the same color as the baseboards, so the caulk would blend w/the baseboards. I never even considered using caulk the color of the floor. Sometimes there are simple solutions out there that we never would know about if it weren't for this forum.

As you can probably see in my pics, the floor is varying shades. Hmmm, wonder if caulk that matched one color of the floor will still match another color/shade. Is your slate varying shades? Either way, I am sure your slate is dark, whereas this floor is medium toned. It is still worth looking into, so thank you soooo much for your post!

red-Oh, I hear ya! No worries, just please share when you can.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 2:41PM
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