How to Install Shoe Molding

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Baseboards in a house sit at the same height on the wall regardless of the flooring. Carpet, tile and wood floors all come in different heights, so with the transition from carpet to another type of flooring, the gap between the bottom of the baseboard and the flooring often becomes more apparent. The most common method of hiding the gap is by installing shoe molding against the baseboard and directly onto the flooring.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint or stain
  • Shoe molding
  • Miter saw
  • Protractor (optional)
  • Pneumatic nailer
  • Stainable/Paintable caulk or putty
  • Paint or stain the molding and allow it to dry completely before installing.

  • Measure the first wall for the length of shoe molding needed.

  • Make the first mitered cut. If two walls meet at a standard 90-degree angle, set your miter saw for a 45-degree cut. If you are making a cut for an outside corner, the inside of the cut should match the length of the wall to the corner, or you will come up short. If the angle measures anything other than 90 degrees, use a protractor to measure the precise angle of the wall and compare the measurement to the protractor chart for the exact miter saw settings.

  • Place the molding against the baseboard and flat on the floor. Attach the molding to the floor using a pneumatic nailer and one-inch finishing nails. Space the nails approximately 12 inches apart.

  • Measure the remaining walls and install the remainder of the shoe molding.

  • Fill nail holes with stainable or paintable wood putty or caulk, and fill in gaps in the corners. Allow the putty or caulk to dry completely.

  • Touch up the nail holes and cracks with the paint or stain you used on the molding.

Tips & Warnings

  • Shoe molding can be nailed to the baseboard, but if the floor shifts a gap may appear between the shoe molding and the floor. Shoe molding can be nailed by hand, but the molding is far more likely to split than if using a pneumatic nailer.
  • Always wear safety glasses when operating power tools.

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