Do Baseboards Have to be Removed to Install Laminate Flooring? | Ep. 160

Installing laminate flooring
It’s possible to install laminate flooring without removing baseboards.

Laminate flooring is a cost-friendly way to update the look of your floors, but when installing it, you have to take into account the space it needs against baseboards. 

This type of flooring floats on top of the floor’s surface, so over time, it will expand and contract with changes in temperatures. Before installing it, you need to leave a quarter-inch gap between the floorboards and the wall.

Normally in a remodeling situation, you don’t have the opportunity to put laminate flooring down before installing baseboards because you’re just removing the floor and utilizing the same baseboards. 

And you don’t have to remove baseboards to install laminate flooring. All you need to do is purchase some molding to cover the gap between the flooring and the baseboards. You have two options to choose from. 

Shoe molding is ​a thin strip of molding that finishes out the look of baseboards and will cover the gap needed to let the laminate floorboards breathe. You can also use quarter-round molding if you want a more curved piece to top off that gap, but it will not be as flush to the baseboard as shoe molding.

Whichever molding you choose, be sure to paint or stain it before you install it.

If you want brand new baseboards along with your new laminate flooring, install the flooring before the baseboards.

Just as you do with the molding, paint or stain the baseboards first and then install. This will give them plenty of time to dry while you install the laminate flooring.

Once the baseboards are dry, you can now install them along the wall over the quarter-inch gap.

Skip to [21:22] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Podcast.

Also on this episode:

  • Best Base for a Plastic Shed
  • Get Granite Countertops without the Sticker Shock
  • A Caller’s Trick for Painting Doors

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Simple Solutions

Easy, Accurate Inside Measurements — Taking inside measurements with a measuring tape requires bending the tape and then making an educated — but not always accurate — guess at the distance between the two surfaces. Here’s an easy, accurate way to take inside measurements:

  • Use a binder clip to clamp a credit card to the tape.
  • Take the measurement and slide the card up against the inside surface.
  • Straighten out the tape measure and read the dimension where the tape crosses the edge of the credit card.

Watch: Easy Way to Take Accurate Inside Measurements 

Hinge Mortise Trick — Here’s an easy, accurate way to cut hinge mortises

  • Secure the hinge to the door with two screws for use as a cutting template.
  • Align a wood chisel with the edge of the hinge and strike it with a hammer to establish the outline of the mortise.
  • Remove the hinge, chisel out the waste wood and then permanently screw on the hinge.

Watch: How to Cut Mortises for Door Hinges With a Chisel 


Question of the Week

Q: I want to expand my master bathroom. On the other side of the bathroom wall is a half-bath, so I’d like to combine the two spaces to make one large master bath. Is that advisable and, if so, how difficult a project is this?

A: When combining a master bath and half-bath, keep your resale value in mind. While a nice master bathroom is a great selling point, losing a bathroom will drive that resale value down, so talk with a real estate agent before you start anything.

Get a design from an interior designer or architect to show what the renovation floor plan would look like, and consult with a contractor to take a look to get some prices.

You don’t want to end up with an awkward floorplan just so you have a nice master bathroom. One nice thing about this situation is the plumbing is already there, so you probably won’t need to run new plumbing. Get a preliminary plan and price.

If it looks good and you feel good about it and you won’t hurt your resale value, go ahead.


Further Reading


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