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What height to install base molding?

March 21, 2012

The finished portion of my basement will be about 800 square feet when I’m done, and I tiled about 250 square feet.  The tile is almost a half-inch above the cement floor in my basement, so this posed an interesting question/problem for me…  What height should I install the base molding?  I spoke to a general contractor friend of mine, and we spoke about a few options:

  • Install the molding flush with the tile floor and at that level (a half inch) everywhere.  This was my preferred approach, and seemed pretty straight-forward.  My friend thought I was nuts for even considering it, but I read elsewhere that this was an acceptable practice — that it would give the carpet installers something to tuck the carpet under and that they actually prefer this method.
  • Install all the molding flush with the immediate floor.  This would create the need for the molding to “step up” at a few locations where the tile starts/ends along a wall.  My friend wanted me to do this — though I could never wrap my head around how I was supposed to treat corners.
  • Since I only had a few transitions, I thought about installing the molding level with the unfinished cement floor, and ripping the bottom of the molding so that the tops remained level.  This felt like a lot of extra work for an unsatisfactory look.

In the end, I decided to go with my first instinct and install the molding flush with the tile and a half-inch above the unfinished floor.  The carpet is scheduled to be installed in a couple weeks (we pushed it back b/c we’re about a week behind schedule) so we’ll see how it works out with the carpet.  Worst case, I figure I can hide any gaps with a shoe mold.

I’ll let you know how it works out!


From → Interior Design

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