How to Bend a Baseboard

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If you are remodeling, chances are you own an older home, many of which were built with crooked squares or other devices that result in straight walls being inexplicably curved. Modern building materials are precisely engineered. Installing straight baseboards on a curved wall requires steam, by way of a steam chamber, to alter the course of your baseboard along a curved wall.

Things You'll Need

  • Steam
  • Steam chamber (PVC pipe, plywood box or Sonatube)
  • Plastic bags
  • Duct tape
  • Hammer
  • Finish nails
  • Tea kettle
  • Hose
  • Clamps
  • Baseboard

How to Bend Baseboard

  • Make a steam chamber. Whether you use a PVC pipe, or you build a box from plywood, make a chamber that will contain the length of your baseboard. If you use PVC pipe, enclose the ends with plastic bages and duct tape. If you make a plywood box, nail it together with a hammer and a few finish nails that you can remove easily. The box doesn't need to be fancy, just large enough to hold your trim. A Sonatube with trashbags duct-taped over the ends will work just as well.

  • Saturate the chamber. Some surgical hose connected to a tea kettle will work, if your chamber is close to your kitchen. Remember that steam entering the chamber will quickly condense into water. You need a vent for the steam to pass through.

  • Steam the baseboard and allow it to enjoy its personal sauna for two to four hours. The board should come out of the chamber feeling like a piece of linguine al dente.

  • Mount the baseboard directly to the curve you're conforming to, if possible. Otherwise, you will need to clamp the baseboard to a jig that imitates the wall's curve. The baseboard will dry and hold its new form.

  • Make relief or "kerf" cuts into the back of the baseboard, if the trim is particularly thick. Make these shallow cuts evenly but closely spaced on the backside of your trim.

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