[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.
The baseboard nailers don’t have to be perfect, but they shouldn’t be sloppily installed either.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Apply wood glue to all the contact surfaces, including both mitered faces, and then glue and nail the wrap in place.
Nothing special about wrapping the baseboard around the center pedestal box.
How to Install the Baseboard Cap Molding
Again, install the long, inner pieces first. No coping necessary. Yet.
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.
I’ve got the left side piece figured out, now I’ll follow the same process but with the short end.
Review When making little pieces like this the order of operation is:
- Cut the cope on a long piece of molding
- Hold the cope in place to test the fit
- Make adjustments to the cope for a better fit
- Hold the cope in place again
- Scribe the outside miter
- Cut the outside miter
Glue the two mitered faces together.
This was a good fit so I didn’t even need to shoot any 23 gauge micro pins into it.
A cope joint is a strong joint, but it should still be glued.
Wrapping the baseboard cap around the center pilaster pedestal is the same as the previous steps, but there are two copes instead of one.
Assemble all the pieces together.
Glue all contact surfaces.
Install it. Stand back. Congratulate yourself!
And that’s how you install a Neoclassical wainscoting treatment — the kind found in the grandest buildings known to Western architecture — for $137.00.
This is the end of WAINSCOTING-109 Part 5: Wrapping the Baseboard
Posts in This Series
Related Posts & Molding Patterns
- Our Molding Makeover: The big picture of what we’re up to.
- Our Kitchen Molding Makeover series.
- PILASTER-104: Step by step installation post.
- PICTURE RAIL-108: Step by step how to install.
- BASEBOARD-110: Step by step how to install.