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Forum topic by Ripper70 posted 10-14-2017 05:26 PM 3162 views 1 time favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ripper70

613 posts in 745 days


10-14-2017 05:26 PM

Hey All,

I have made the mistake of attempting to trim out our house. Now that all the old, crappy 3” clamshell base molding has been removed and the floors refinished/replaced where necessary, I am discovering how out of whack this entire house is. I know that there are no true inside or outside 90 degree corners in any house and that miters need to be adjusted to accommodate such irregularities, but this house is ridiculous.

For example, in my dining area, the first room I’ve undertaken, I installed a simple Craftsman style trim around a sliding door. Moving on to the baseboard, I’ve realized that every wall, corner and length of floor is either bowed, cupped, slanted or several degrees out of square. I’m using a Big Box Pro Pack L163E 5 1/4” moulding (as pictured here)

So, I try to problem solve the first length of baseboard figuring I’ll just add some shoe molding to cover any gaps. Problem is, the 3/4” gap along the length of one wall is an inch and a half along the adjacent wall. Or, the floor slants almost and inch and three quarters form right to left on one side of the sliding door with the same gap slanting from left to right on the other side. And, to make matters worse, we’re talking about a 20” length of wall. So, shoe molding, I don’t think, will really work along those two lengths because, the variance along a 20” length, I believe, would look so skewed that it would be obvious with lines converging over such a short distance.

The next length of wall spans nearly 30 feet going from the dining room into the adjacent living room. There are bows along the wall where gaps vary form 1/2” to 7/8” and the floor undulates creating all manner of high points and low spots. Nothing that you’d notice until you put a long straight edge down.

So, because I can’t seem to figure out one clear way to troubleshoot all of these issues with a single method to compensate for all the variances in this one area, I was hoping that maybe a resident expert could enlighten me on how they might approach this project that will take into account the problems that I’m having here.

Thanks in advance, everyone.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo


24 replies so far

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

9627 posts in 3484 days


#1 posted 10-14-2017 05:38 PM

Yeah. That’s tricky. You might want to use a
rotary laser and jig saw/plane the moldings to
hit the same line all around the room. How
you transition from room to room is something
you’ll have to think through carefully. In theory
the most straightforward way to install is to
the same “flood line” all through the house.
You could end up with 3” tall moldings in some
areas and 5.5” ones in others though. It depends
on how screwy the house is.

Another approach is to snap chalk lines all around
the room at a consistent distance from the floor
low spots and miter the corners (in addition to
beveling) to follow the slopes. You would still be
cutting the molding to follow the high spots.

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Madmark2

372 posts in 425 days


#2 posted 10-14-2017 05:51 PM

The gaps between the top of you trim and the wall will pull in when nailed. Quarter round nailed to the floor will cover the gaps there.

Cut a wedge to fill that large gap, or miter the ends so it fits flat.

Coping the end of your trim will make it fit no matter if the corners are 90° or not.

M

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jerryminer

805 posts in 1278 days


#3 posted 10-14-2017 06:18 PM

Ripper—

I spent decades as a finish carpenter—installing base, casing, etc.

The variations you’re seeing in floors and walls is very common. Rather than relying on shoe mold alone, I would scribe the base to the floor.

As a general rule, I think you’re better off following the general slope of the floor, rather than putting the base on level (having 3” trim on one side of the room and 5” on the other would look bad, IMHO—- better to run the trim “parallel” to the floor).

For “wavy” walls, the trim will tend to “suck in” as you nail it. Remaining gaps can be filled with a good quality caulking.

Inside corners are coped, outside corners are mitered—not always at 45 deg.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

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Rick_M

10623 posts in 2217 days


#4 posted 10-14-2017 06:19 PM

My house is not that bad but did have some issues. On the inside corners it’s probably easier to cope the joints although I did miter mine. I hate quarter round and made my own shoe molding that was .25×1.25 inches. Looks like part of the baseboard instead of something tacked on to fix a mistake. Pro-tip if you make your own shoe molding, use pre-primed trim board and save a lot of time.

Not my house but very similar to what I did, see how much better shoe molding looks.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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Loren

9627 posts in 3484 days


#5 posted 10-14-2017 06:33 PM

The advantage of quarter round is it follows the
curves without scribing. You can put returns
where it meets the door frames to make it look
better.

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Ripper70

613 posts in 745 days


#6 posted 10-14-2017 09:53 PM

Okay. I think I understand the idea behind scribing the moldings to better fit the floor variances. Scribe the contours of the floors onto the base molding and use a jig saw with a slight back cut bevel and then shave with a block plane or sand/file the edges to get a more accurate fit. Correct?

@Loren—It seems as if the chalk line would be the way to go. Allot of the floor variances are not so much a straight line slope from end to end but rather dips and crowns between long runs. I just invested in a DeWalt DWS780 so the cost of a rotary level isn’t in the budget. It’s always nice to have an excuse for buying a new tool, though! :-)

@ Jerry—Jerry, your advice, I think might be better suited for just a general slope, like you mention. I’m assuming I’ll need to cut the molding extra long to accommodate the trim “sucking in” when nailed tight against the walls. I there a way to calculate for this before cutting for length? Also, is there a method for adjusting the miter on an outside corner for such flexing near the end of a run? In other words, if the molding gets forced inward to mate with the wall and the end of an outside corner cut gets pushed outward, won’t the angle at the corner change by getting wider and therefore have to be accounted for?

@Rick—Like you, I like the looks of that flat strip shoe better than the quarter round (which the wife is not in favor of either). Would that also need to be scribed or can a 1/4” thick strip like that flex enough so that it doesn’t need the extra trimming?

I did try to compare a few different trim pieces to substitute for quarter round as pictured below. Would I be making a mistake using something like this or breaking any rules of general carpentry and craftsmanship by doing so? The idea was to use something that could hide wider gaps as easily as smaller gaps.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

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Hermit

139 posts in 1162 days


#7 posted 10-14-2017 10:04 PM

Totally agree with Jerry. That’s the way I’ve always done it as well.

-- I'm like the farmer's duck. If it don't rain, I'll walk.

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Loren

9627 posts in 3484 days


#8 posted 10-14-2017 10:17 PM

A 1” wide shoe trim molding is unlikely to be
coaxed to follow the variances of the floor.

If you use a similar plastic molding, I think
it might follow the curves better. It’s pretty
flexible.

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Rick_M

10623 posts in 2217 days


#9 posted 10-15-2017 12:13 AM

1.25”. My house is sixty years old and I didn’t have any problem with shoe molding following the contours but I don’t know about anyone else. You could always make or buy a test strip.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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JCamp

474 posts in 387 days


#10 posted 10-15-2017 12:16 AM

I don’t think I’ve ever had the option to work on a house that was actually in square. That being said calk is ur friend and can hide a world of mistakes and gaps. Take comfort in the fact that once it’s down and ur funiture and tables and stands and all the other stuff we all hav is moved around no one will see it and after a while u won’t see it either unless u look at it real close

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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jerryminer

805 posts in 1278 days


#11 posted 10-15-2017 01:27 AM



@ Jerry—Jerry, your advice, I think might be better suited for just a general slope, like you mention. I m assuming I ll need to cut the molding extra long to accommodate the trim “sucking in” when nailed tight against the walls. I there a way to calculate for this before cutting for length? Also, is there a method for adjusting the miter on an outside corner for such flexing near the end of a run? In other words, if the molding gets forced inward to mate with the wall and the end of an outside corner cut gets pushed outward, won t the angle at the corner change by getting wider and therefore have to be accounted for?

- Ripper70

Following the contours of the wall won’t change the length requirement of the trim by much—but you could cut your long pieces 1/16” or so longer than the measurement, to be safe.

It can be handy to have a few scrap pieces +/- a foot long, with variations on 45 deg miter cuts to test fit outside corners. There are tools and devices for measuring miters, but sample cuts are pretty simple.

For painted work, it’s better, IMHO, to cut the miter a little extra steep (over 45) so the outside edges meet. A tiny gap at the inside of the miter can be filled.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

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Ripper70

613 posts in 745 days


#12 posted 10-15-2017 02:55 AM


For painted work, it s better, IMHO, to cut the miter a little extra steep (over 45) so the outside edges meet. A tiny gap at the inside of the miter can be filled.

- jerryminer

That’s a gem right there! Thank you everyone for all your valuable advice. It’s much appreciated. I’m going to start making some dust and hope to make some progress on this endeavor soon.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

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TheFridge

8301 posts in 1323 days


#13 posted 10-15-2017 02:58 AM

Screw a level. Cope it. Use alder always.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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Shawn Masterson

1322 posts in 1785 days


#14 posted 10-15-2017 03:07 AM

I agree take the level and put it away. you are in an old house. sometimes you have to cheat things and be a little askew. also coping is the best way to make it work in an old house. Sometimes in an old house you have to do your best and caulk the rest.

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Ripper70

613 posts in 745 days


#15 posted 10-15-2017 04:09 AM



Screw a level. Cope it. Use alder always.

- TheFridge


In my circumstance, no doubt, coping is the way to go. And Alder, I believe, is the obvious choice. Alder is the only wood I’ll have in my shop. Does anyone even bother to use pine baseboards anymore?

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

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