Guest Pose by Rheney Williams
I love cutting corners. Before you misunderstand and take that to mean that I support substandard work, allow me to explain: I love cutting actual corners. In the process of remodeling our kitchen, we knocked down a wall and the only remaining project is enclosing the outer edge of the new wall with baseboards.
And for that, I need to use my miter saw…which brings us to today’s tutorial: How to construct custom baseboards with a few simple tools that absolutely anyone can use.
There’s no doubt that the star of this show is a miter saw. I have a 10″ compound miter saw and although you can use a handheld saw with a miter box, my mighty miter is one power tool that has proven its worth time and again over the course of our home renovation. In addition to a means of mitering your edges, you’ll also need:
- Baseboards, primed and cut to the appropriate lengths
- Shoe Molding, primed and cut to the appropriate lengths
- Brad Nailer (or hammer and small nails)
- Paintable Caulk
- Painter’s Tape
- Scraper (optional)
- Skewer (optional)
- High-quality trim paint
Even though the miter saw is this workday’s workhorse, we all know that a professional-looking paint job can make or break your big reveal, so I’ll also share some of my trim painting secrets along the way! Begin by mitering the edges of your baseboards at 45 degree angles (to form a 90 degree corner when combined) and make sure that the inside length of each board (the side touching the wall) equals the length of the actual wall from edge to edge. The outside length of your boards (the side you can see and paint) will necessarily be longer to allow for the mitered edges.
Once you have your boards and shoe molding in place, attach them to the wall using a brad nailer or hammer and nails.
Now that everything is prepped, begin filling the gaps with caulking. Apply a thin bead along the major meeting points (top of board/wall; top of shoe molding/board; along all mitered edges) and fill in any nail holes.
To perform my pro-secret #1, use the pointy tip of a skewer to apply caulk to any tricky spots, especially gaps in the mitered corners, and to scrape out any caulk that remains in the beautiful details of the trim.
Using a slightly damp paper towel, wipe down the edges and smooth the caulk into the surface of the baseboards.
Once the caulk dries, you can implement pro-secret #2: Run painter’s tape along the floor directly adjacent to the bottom of the shoe molding. Instead of smoothing the tape edges down with your fingers (or ruining a perfectly good manicure!), use the sharp edges of a scraping tool to virtually eliminate the possibility of paint bleeds under the tape.
Paint the baseboards using a semi-gloss paint designed for trim; my trim paint is extra-white and looks amazing when it dries.
And all that’s left to do is carefully remove your painter’s tape and check out those ultra-crisp lines!
I can’t tell you how much of an impact this simple DIY project has on the completed kitchen! In fact, rather than trying to put it into words, I’ll just let the picture speak for itself:
To minimize and mask the imperfections on my walls, I went with a matte finish (a washable flat) in smoky gray. When paired with the bright, subtle shine of the gleaming white baseboards and beautiful cherry oak hardwoods, the entire picture is one of sophisticated contrast that epitomizes today’s color palette.
Indeed, the professional results we achieved with the baseboards, coupled with the color combination used in the room (gray, white and dark hardwood floors) makes this newly-encased wall a feature that you could find in any high-end home. And just think – you can do all of this yourself!
Rheney Williams writes about her DIY house projects for Home Depot. Rheney has been keeping herself very busy this past year implementing her home improvement designs for her home in Charleston, S.C. For a complete selection of saws available at Home Depot, including the compound miter saw Rheney used on her baseboards, you can visit Home Depot’s power saw page.