Learning how to cut floor molding can be one of the most frustrating parts of a finishing project. When you look at molding that is already installed, it looks like it should be an easy project to do, but there are little things to watch for throughout the process that can cause problems if you are not careful. Knowing how to use the tools you have and taking the time to measure twice will help you to install them right the first time. You should plan on purchasing additional pieces of molding so you can practice measuring and cutting before you start working on your actual project.
Step 1 - Preparing the Room
Floor molding can be influenced by the smallest pieces of debris or pile of saw dust. To prepare the room for measuring and cutting floor molding, you need to sweep all along the area where the molding will be installed and remove all debris. If there is small debris attached to the floor, such as glue or paint, then use a putty knife to remove it. Be careful not to damage the floor. Wear safety glasses and work gloves to protect your eyes and hands from wood slivers and flying debris.
Step 2 - Measuring Corners
Measuring inside corners is different than outside corners. Measure the distance along the floor as tightly to the corner as you can. With inside corners, the measurement you make will be where the miter cut ends. With outside corners, measure right to the edge of the wall. Your measurement on outside corners will be where your miter cut begins. Measure at least twice for every measurement and, if you have a helper around, have the helper measure a couple of times to confirm your measurements.
Step 3 - First Cut and Marking
Your first cut should be the straight cut at the end of the piece of molding. Use your miter saw to make an accurate straight cut that you can use to get accurate measurements from. Next, mark your first piece of quarter round using a marking pencil. Mark and cut one piece at a time. Working slowly will avoid confusion because when you are dealing with inside and outside corners, it can be confusing to do too much marking, without cutting.
After you make your first mark, line up the piece of molding to see if the mark looks right. If you made the measurement as tightly to the corner as you could, then the measurement should be correct.
Step 4 - Cutting
Practice cutting before you cut something for your real project. Lay the quarter round down on the miter saw table just as the molding would sit on the floor. For outside corners, place the miter blade on the mark and cut out towards the edge of the molding. For inside corners, place the miter blade on the mark and cut in towards the L-shaped edge of the quarter round.