Before & After Bliss: Baseboard Bonanza!

We were busy bees again this past weekend!  And while we got a ton of stuff done, we still didn’t get around to packing away Halloween and delving into the dreaded exciting Christmas decorations.  And if you’re curious why we are *still* sportin’ the Halloween spirit, perhaps this post will give you some insight.  We’re a little slow at Tell’er All About It…in more ways than one 😉

Our biggest project this weekend by far (and there were multiples) was finally installing new baseboards in our family room.  Just like our Office re-do and our beadboard project from a few months back, we are a few steps closer to replacing all of the baseboards in our house.  Still a long way to go, but more is done than it was last week!  Yippity-YI!  What’s scary is that we removed the baseboards back in….oh….September?!?!  We actually removed them the very same weekend that we built a fence in our backyard, rebuilt our decaying front pillars, and began painting the family room.

My MIL lending a helping hand on Labor Day weekend

Yes, we were a little behind, but we are finally back in the saddle again!  Here is our step-by-step tutorial on what we did.  Brace yourself!

Free-basin’: Free the baseboards!  FREEEEEEEEEDOM!!!!!  Obviously, if you are out to attempt this project on your own, then you first need to *remove* your baseboards (photo above) and decide if they need to be replaced or not.  Ours were pretty beat up and not that pretty to begin with, so I was more than happy to begin anew!  And, hey!  The bonus is that if you remove them, then you don’t have to tape them when you go to paint – less work for you!  Score!!  If you want more info on how to remove baseboards, then go to this link where we talk about it a little more in depth.

Stuff’it! (Optional): Mmmm….Stuffing!  So I admit, we lived without baseboards for more time than is probably healthy for small woodland animals or floor-cruis’n children (thank goodness we have neither!), so we started to notice that as the mercury dropped outside, we were getting drafts from the baseboard-less walls.  Oh, the ills our builders hid with baseboards….

After we removed the baseboards, we found a lot of this kind of thing....brr...drafty!

So we decided to buy….STUFF.  Actually GREAT STUFF:

Mmm.....stuffing....how apropos for this week 🙂

It’s really great for filling in gaps and cracks.  Oh, and if you have problems with bees building nests underneath decks and in between planks, this works great, too!  It’s foamy like whipped cream, but it probably doesn’t taste as good – what a shame.  Anyway, we just “sprayed” this stuff into our nooks and crannies.  It’s kind of ugly, but, then again, we’re going to cover it, and if we can save ourselves a few pennies in energy costs (and the environment in energy usage), then I’m all about it:

Mmmm.....Stuffing...

Measure and Cut: Don’t forget, measure twice, cut ONCE! In a few days, J will be writing a Men’s Den post on how to cut the angle exactly right on those tricky corner cuts, detailing how to get the perfect angle even if you fell asleep in your first period Geometry class in High School (you know who you are).  The hardest part was remembering which way to cut the end of each piece — we ended up drawing a picture of each piece before we cut it, to make sure we remembered which way the angled cut went.  One tip: if you have a wall that’s so long, you can’t get a piece of moulding long enough to stretch across the entire wall, cut the ends of the pieces at 45 degrees in a ‘scarf’ joint:

Scarf it down....I'm loving the food puns...

the result looks much cleaner, and is less likely to noticeably separate as the wood ages.

Stay Organized: Be sure to label all of your baseboards on the back (letters, numbers, hieroglyphics – I don’t care) with the same on the wall so you can keep things organized.  When you’re working with a larger room (like we were), then it’s very important to keep all your ducks in a row….mmm….duck can be eaten, too…

Painting: We pre-painted all of our boards Valspar’s Du Jour in Semi-Gloss before we installed them on the walls.  You could wait until your baseboards are “installed” to paint them, however, you’ll need to do a whole heckuva lot more “taping” in order to be sure that your floors don’t get white paint all over them.  We’re kind of lazy, so the fewer amount of steps the better!

Installing/Nailing: Nail guns are your best friend – cha-POW!  Once everything was dry from painting, this step went by really quick.  It’s just like putting together a puzzle because we labeled everything as we went (see photo above).  A little number on the wall and then a little number on the back of the board keeps everything organized and since you’re covering up the walls anyway, who cares if you write on the walls?!  And, besides, it satisfies that childhood urge we all have to write on walls when Mom’s not looking ;-).

Caulking: I say this every time, but git yer mind outta the gutter! I really have a hard time talking about this step without giggling, so I’m just gonna say….caulk can cover a lot of ills as can paint.  But caulking really does finish’er off real nice.  Don’t worry too much about taping and being all “neat” about it.  So long as you have the touch up paint, just go ahead and make a mess and paint over it later.

Touch-Up Painting: J & I went back over everything one more time after the caulk was all dry to touch up the baseboards in white and clean up the walls where needed.  Luckily we had all of our leftover paints, so it was no problem.

Ok, so NOW it’s finally time for the AFTER part of the Before & After Bliss.  You’ve been waiting patiently.  Or if you are like my sister, then you’ve probably skipped all of the “words” up top just to get to the pics – hey, I don’t blame you!!  But here is an older pic after we finished rebuilding a bookcase that shows the baseboards in their smaller-ish glory:

Note the smaller baseboards - just 3.5 inch MDF planks without carving.

And here are some more up close and personal photos of our new baseboards!!!

The loooooooong wall...

Hooray for pretty corners!

...where the past meets the present...

The last pic above gives you an idea of what the old baseboards looked like (on the left) and what the new baseboards look like (on the right).  Our old ones were 3.5 inches and the new ones are 5.5 inches!  Eventually, we will add shoe molding, but that’s for a later date.  Also, I just love the more substantial and more “carved” looking moldings.  They just seem so much more elegant and polished.

So there ya have it!!  What do you think?!  Did we do a good job?!  Are we crazy?  Well, of course we’re crazy….but isn’t buying a home a little crazy to begin with?

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9 thoughts on “Before & After Bliss: Baseboard Bonanza!

  1. It looks awesome, great job!

    Are you going to re-trim around the doors? In the last picture it seems that the baseboard is thicker than the door casing. That’d be a small detail that would gnaw (heh… gnaw) away at me.

  2. Hey, Thad –

    That’s something we noticed, too and we will likely get around to it later. We’re also going to install shoe molding later as well, so that will change things up as well. We may add a plinth later, too, but we haven’t decided.

    L&J

    • Meryl Rose –

      HA HA! Great stuff is….amazingly…GREAT stuff! Isn’t it so great when the name of a product also aptly describes its awesome-ness?!? Thanks for stopping by! We’re big fans of Great Stuff, too! 🙂

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