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The Great Baseboard-Grouted-Into-Tile Conspiracy

How to Make a Simple, Big Baseboard With Materials From Lowes Home Improvement

 

Lee From Green Valley, Arizona Asks:

Q Dear Ken: I have removed the ho-hum deteriorated baseboards in my great room and ran into an issue with the tile.  The tile installer grouted the border tiles to the existing baseboard and it took considerable time removing it.  The baseboard is now gone and there is a space where the old baseboard was set down into the tile.Can you tell me where I can get baseboard in Tucson  that will rest on the existing tile with a 1 inch gap between the wall and the tile?  I am trying to avoid having to re-grout the tile in the space.  I am interested in something more substantial than what they have at Lowes or Home Depot, and will have to match my southwestern decor.

Thanks for any help you can give me.
A  Dear Lee: It’s a tile-industry conspiracy, I tell you — this grouting the baseboard into the tile.  Arizona is the only state I’ve worked in where the tile guys do this, and they seem to have every builder convinced that this is how it’s done.  I’ve chiseled many feet of grouted baseboard out myself, and so I sympathize with the work you’ve already done.
As luck would have it, however, you need not look beyond your neighborhood Lowes for the answer, because they stock an affordable solution to your problem.
Let’s take a look at two solutions:
BASEBOARD-103
1. Three-Piece Baseboard: To cover the one inch gap between the wall and tile edge where you removed the old baseboard, you simply create a baseboard buildup large enough to cover that gap.  BASEBOARD-103 is just such a buildup.  It is normally made up of three pieces (I did not use a base shoe in this living room installation, but you could and that would get you your 1″ coverage) and would cover your gap nicely.
Victorian style architecture is common here in Arizona, and was built alongside southwest ranch style homes.  You could therefore justifiably install BASEBOARD-103 to cover the gap just as I used it to cover the same kind of gap in a Phoenix ranch home a few years back, and still maintain a southwest design theme.  Take a look at the DIY page for this baseboard and you’ll see what I mean.
However, installing a baseboard that large would require you replace all the door trim that the baseboard runs into as well.  Since you didn’t say anything about the door trim, I’ll assume you don’t want a baseboard that big.
  
BASEBOARD-H-100
PZ Feldman Ranch House
2. BASEBOARD-H-100 is another style that would fit your southwest decor, and cover the floor-tile gap as well.  This design is about 1″ thick and about 12″ tall, and comes from the PZ Feldman Ranch House in Dudleyville, Arizona, just 10 miles north of Mammoth.
Best thing about this design is that Lowes carries a really affordable, 3/4″ thick, pre-primed, MDF flat-stock board you can use to make this baseboard.
Lowes usually has quite a number of lengths and widths to choose from, and I’ve used some of the wider ones for Craftsman style baseboard projects.  The 4″ wide material is FS-003 that I’ve used for all kinds of different patterns in the Pattern Book.
To make the baseboard:
  1. Select the height material you want.  You may have to bevel the end of the baseboard where it butts up against your door trim if the door trim is thinner than the baseboard is thick.
  2. Install a 1/4 round base shoe like PM-006 to make up the remaining gap between the baseboard and grout.
  3. Fill the nail holes with spackling, let them dry completely and then sand flush with the molding surface.
  4. Apply a unifying coat of primer.  Sand the entire new baseboard.
  5. Apply two coats of whatever color trim paint matches your decor.  Oh, and don’t forget to add Flotrol to your trim paint.  You can read more about how to paint moldings here.
Good luck with your baseboard project, Lee. Let us know how it turns out.

Update from Lee

I do have one picture of a finished wall.  Hope it is sufficient.  Thanks again.  I am not an experienced diy guy when it comes to this type of work.  I do have a compound miter saw which made the job pretty straight forward.  Hardest part was nailing the brads as I do not have a nail gun.   Thanks again for all your help!
A great southwest style baseboard.
Contributed by Lee

Lee, your baseboard project came out great. Thanks for sharing your project with us.

Cheers,
Ken

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