Learning how to make your own baseboard will not only add elegance to a home, it is a very economical and easy to do task. This accomplishment also will bring with it a great sense of pride of ownership. It is almost a sin to have a beautiful home without the finishing details baseboards provide to complement it. This is a simple project that can be finished from beginning to end in a single weekend and can transform a home.
Step1. As in most projects, planning and measuring are everything. Begin by measuring and tallying up the total number of feet you will need, plus an extra foot or two, to be on the safe side. Construct simple drawings to account for each of the angles needed to install and join baseboards. Keep in mind that all walls may not be built to exact dimensions, so 45 or 90 degree angles may have to be sanded and adjusted to fit uneven corners.
Step 2. Search for, and mark, stud locations on walls directly above baseboard installation points. Make some sample pieces utilizing the cuts you will need for rooms and use these to begin the first baseboard installation. Begin at the far end of a room, working your way all the way around the room, back to the beginning piece. Dry fit all the pieces to insure a tight fit for the inside and outside corners.
In the event of a room being longer than the baseboard length, an adjustment must be made. Connect two pieces of baseboard through the means of what is called a “scarf” joint. This is accomplished by joining two lengths of baseboard by gluing them together. First make a 45 degree angle cut at the joining ends of each piece of baseboard. Apply glue to each end, clamp the pieces as tightly together as possible and allow each to dry.
Bring all the pieces to a workbench and sand with 100 grit sandpaper. Most baseboard is already finished; therefore not a lot of sanding is required. Wipe baseboard pieces with a clean, dry cloth and apply stain with a brush. Let stain dry, as per manufacturer’s instructions, and then apply a 50-50% coat of varnish and mineral spirits. Wait 24 hours, and apply a final coat of 100% varnish. Do not apply varnish to mitered, end pieces as these will be glued.
Step 3. When all the pieces of the baseboard for a room are varnished and allowed to dry, begin attaching them to the walls with the one inch finishing nails. Affix a drill bit approximately the same size as the finishing nails and drill a hole through the baseboard and into the wall stud. Drive a finishing nail into the baseboard, and continue driving nails approximately every 12 inches all around the room. A nail gun and air compressor would simplify this job immensely.