baseboard on wainscoting

[This is part of our WAINSCOTING-109 Installation Series.]

How to Install the Wainscoting Baseboard

This baseboard has its own pattern number and installation post here at BASEBOARD-110, where you’ll find the material list, prices and step by step tutorial showing you how I installed it on a normal wall.

But since there is so much wrapping to do around these pedestal boxes, I thought I’d show you how I installed it on the wainscoting.

Install the Nailers

By layering the 1/2″ thick mdf flat-stock on top of these mdf nailers of the same thickness, what I end up with is a 1″ thick baseboard for a price that’s barely worth calculating.

These nailers are about 1-1/2″ wide, but you can make them however wide you want.

how to install wainscoting molding

how to install wainscoting molding

how to install wainacoting molding

The baseboard nailers don’t have to be perfect, but they shouldn’t be sloppily installed either.

how to install large baseboard on wainscoting

Start in Blind Corners

When I’m wrapping moldings around corners, I almost always start in the “blind” corner, and then work my way out.

Use Liquid Nails along with 18 gauge brad nails to hold the flat-stock mdf in place.

how to install wainscoting baseboard molding

Design Note: Baseboard Plinth Block Reveal

That little 1/8″ step between the plinth block and the baseboard is called a reveal.  When designing your baseboards and plinths, make sure you allow yourself reveal space like that.

That reveal space gives you some wiggle-room when the walls and door jambs are uneven.  If you baseboard is designed to be flush with your plinth block, it may end up sticking out beyond the plinth block (called proud), and you don’t want that.

I mean, really, what would the neighbors think?

how to install wainscot baseboard

Wrapping the flat-stock mdf around the bottom of the pedestals is pretty straight forward.

Cutting the small corner pieces is easier if you cut it out from a long-ish board like the one seen below.

how to install moldings

easy to install large baseboard

Below  Since I have to bring the miter saw blade down on top of the mdf, then I need to freehand sketch the scribe mark from back to top.

how to install moldings

But wait, my miter saw isn’t capable of cutting the flat-stock standing up against the fence!  I totally forgot to check that before buying this used, 12″ Rigid miter saw.

I don’t really like this miter saw anyway, but this limitation gives me a firm reason to reject it as an acceptable saw for installing moldings with.

I suppose I should write a post about what features to look for in a miter saw that you’ll use to install moldings with.

12" compound miter saw

I used my table saw to cut the miters because it seemed to be the safest and most precise way to go about it.  I’ve been at this a long time and still have all my fingers.  Don’t want that to change.

how to install large baseboard

Apply wood glue to all the contact surfaces, including both mitered faces, and then glue and nail the wrap in place.

how to install wainscoting baseboard

Nothing special about wrapping the baseboard around the center pedestal box.

how to install moldings

pilaster column pedestal

How to Install the Baseboard Cap Molding

Again, install the long, inner pieces first.  No coping necessary.  Yet.

how to install baseboard moldigns

Below  Here I’m testing the cope joint fit.  If no adjustments are necessary then I can scribe where to exactly cut the outside miter at the other end of this molding.

how to install moldings

I’ve got the left side piece figured out, now I’ll follow the same process but with the short end.

how to install moldings

Review  When making little pieces like this the order of operation is:

  1. Cut the cope on a long piece of molding
  2. Hold the cope in place to test the fit
  3. Make adjustments to the cope for a better fit
  4. Hold the cope in place again
  5. Scribe the outside miter
  6. Cut the outside miter

base cap molding

baseboard cap molding

Glue the two mitered faces together.

baseboard cap

This was a good fit so I didn’t even need to shoot any 23 gauge micro pins into it.

baseboard cap

A cope joint is a strong joint, but it should still be glued.

baseboard cope joint

large baseboard

Wrapping the baseboard cap around the center pilaster pedestal is the same as the previous steps, but there are two copes instead of one.

large baseboard

Assemble all the pieces together.

base cap molding

Glue all contact surfaces.

cope joint

Install it.  Stand back.  Congratulate yourself!

large baseboard cap molding

large baseboard molding

And that’s how you install a Neoclassical wainscoting treatment — the kind found in the grandest buildings known to Western architecture — for $137.00.

kitchen wainscoting

This is the end of WAINSCOTING-109 Part 5: Wrapping the Baseboard

Posts in This Series

1.  How to Install WAINSCOTING-109 Part 1

2.  WAINSCOTING-109 Part 2: Installing the Rail Cap & Edge Molding

3.  WAINSCOTING-109 Part 3: How to Make the Pedestal Boxes

4.  WAINSCOTING-109 Part 4: Wrapping the Bed Molding

5.  WAINSCOTING-109 Part 5: Wrapping the Baseboard

6.  WAINSCOTING-109 Part 6: Prepping for Paint


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