September 17, 2004 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Wood trim/baseboards: I would like to replace all of the baseboards in my rental unit. It seems that the baseboards currently in place are made of two seperate pieces (a taller bottom bit(7 1/2") and then a more ornate top piece(2 1/2")). I would like to do as little work as possible, so I am wondering where I could purchase single piece baseboards that incorporate the above two elements (10" tall)? The local Home Depot doesn't seem to carry this.
posted by sharksandwich to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Pry off a section of your current baseboard and take it to your local lumberyard (usually only open 8-5 MF, possibly until noon Sats.). They will likely have a much better selection of moldings than Home Depot.
posted by luser at 9:00 AM on September 17, 2004

What luser said. Also check in your yellow pages for trim or molding manufacturers. Be prepared for sticker shock. A single piece base board 10" high is going to be seriously expensive even if made from MDF or polyurathane. A stain grade base board 10" high is going to run you upwards (and beyond if you want an expensive wood) of 10 dollars a foot. A two piece base base is cheaper than a one piece.It would probably be 1/2 to 2/3rds the price to do it in two pieces.

Because your replacing all your trim you can elect to not bother trying to match the original profile. Make sure the new molding is at least as high or higher as the original though otherwise you'll need to replace casing as well.

What ever you decide the slacker way to put up base board is to prepaint/stain and install with an air nailer. I'm pretty fond of my Bostich brad nailer/stapler combo unit. You might want to consider the Paslode airless in an apartment. The closer you can get your saw to the room the fewer steps you'll have to take.

Inside corners should be coped not mitred. Once you get the hang of it is actually easier and more forgiving of mistakes.
posted by Mitheral at 10:11 AM on September 17, 2004

Mitheral and Luser have this question dead to rights.

I'll add that this era of baseboard is in two pieces for a reason and I would be surprised that you can not find the two pieces of which it is comprised: in-stock that is. Otherwise look for a hardwood supplier/planing mill in your area.

I'm left wondering why though. Could you elaborate on why, as a renter, you are replacing all of this baseboard with something that matches? This Sharksandwish question is fishy! :-)

Google Search: planing mill near Milwaukee, WI Google local. Neat.
posted by Dick Paris at 10:21 AM on September 17, 2004

Response by poster: Well, Dick, two of the rooms have a bit of, ahhh, animal urine blasted onto them. Since the baseboards have also been sloppily painted with at least a half dozen coats, I fugured I would just take the old off and throw down some new (any tenant's feline will zero in on the spot like white on rice, no matter how much scrubbing involved).

My buddy needs some cash, so if I supplied the materials he could do the cutting and air-nailing. But, if the prices listed by Mitheral are correct, I may have to reconsider my options.
posted by sharksandwich at 10:33 AM on September 17, 2004

Wow, I was all set up to come in here with all the answers, but luser and especially Mitheral with the coping hint have answered it astoundingly well. AxMe gold, here.

I will agree that you can find better wood at a contractor's or woodworker's supply shop. If you were in Portland I could reccomend two places, where I get my wood supplies. However, I will say to look for names like "Elmer Studd's Contracting Supply" and "Woodcrafters" over "Megacorporate Home Improvement Warehouse ... where prices are LOW LOW LOW!". The parking lot of your ideal wood supply store should be filled with battered pickup trucks that should've gone to the boneyard aeons ago, and have beds full of nails and assorted battered but indestructable tools.

Are you planning on painting or staining? If you're painting you can use MDF and save a lot of money. To do a *really* cheap job, do it in multiple steps. i.e. build a 9.5 inch base out of slices of MDF, which is cheap as heck. Nail that up. Then put down a fancy pine or MDF edge of some sort along the bottom, and another one of another pattern along the top of the MDF. (I like crennelations along the top, personally.) Since you won't have to cut the MDF base too carefully, you can build up something that's very nice without spending a lot of money for really expensive luxury 10" baseboards or worrying about messing up and/or miscutting that very expensive baseboard. No matter what, though, this will put a ding in your pocketbook that stretches into the $100's.

Oh, and a bit of advice: Measure twice, cut once.

I will second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth the reccomendation of an air nailer. I would not do the job without a *detailing* air nailer. (These nailers are much smaller than your average nailer. Home Despot should have some, as well as some portable mitre box saws, for rent.)
posted by SpecialK at 10:41 AM on September 17, 2004

Sorry about the misreading of "my rental unit". I thought it might be an animal related problem... nothing much to add then. If you are going to paint, I would think poplar would be as cheap an approach as MDF and the sawdust is not nearly as nasty.
posted by Dick Paris at 11:14 AM on September 17, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for all the info, folks...
posted by sharksandwich at 12:10 PM on September 17, 2004

You can probably build up a 10" MDF moulding like SpecialK recommended for 1.50-2.50 a foot. You can get 5 strips of 9" high 8 foot long MDF out of a 4X8 sheet.
posted by Mitheral at 12:18 PM on September 17, 2004

Oh, and when you paint, make sure to paint in an uber-bright white. Even against crappy builder's/landlord's antique soul-sucking white, it adds a sense of space and definition to the room.
posted by SpecialK at 12:39 PM on September 17, 2004

Try vinegar on the animal stained areas first. Then paint over that. It should wipe out any remnants of a smell that is inviting to animals.
This may help you avoid replacing the baseboards.
posted by dness2 at 3:26 PM on September 17, 2004

If vinegar doesn't work, try Anti-Icky-Poo. It has enzymes that actually dissolve the bacteria that hold in the odor.
posted by gokart4xmas at 8:38 PM on September 17, 2004

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