How to Install Vinyl Baseboard Trim

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Vinyl baseboard
Vinyl baseboard (Image: Modern Asian inspired hallway with bamboo floors image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com)

Vinyl baseboard trim is an inexpensive, resilient and attractive solution to seal the joint of your flooring against the wall. Unlike wooden baseboard and trim, vinyl is waterproof and won’t warp due to the weather. In addition, it is easy to install using some baseboard adhesive and a utility knife. Vinyl trim is best suited for high traffic rooms, like kitchens and recreation rooms.

Things You'll Need

  • Vinyl baseboard trim
  • Base adhesive
  • Utility knife
  • Square
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • notched trowel

Choose the right vinyl baseboard for your room. Most moulding will be four inches high and about 1/4-inch thick. For carpeted flooring, use the rolled base vinyl trim, which has a straight bottom edge. For all other floors use the cove trim, which has a base that is slightly flared out away from the wall.

Lay your first piece against the first corner. Start with the corner of the longest wall and butt it up tight to the wall. If the end needs to be cut, see section 2 below for cutting around corners.

Remove the moulding from the wall and lay it face down on a piece of wood or workbench. Using your notched trowel, cover the back of the baseboard with base adhesive. Make sure the entire surface that will be touching the wall is covered but don’t lay it on too thick. The trick is to hold the trowel at about a 45-degree angle while spreading the adhesive.

Press the vinyl trim up against the wall and press firmly all along the base to secure it to the wall. If the trim sticks out too far you may be using more adhesive than necessary. Use your hands and press along the length of the vinyl trim, making sure it is even with the ground.

Step back and look for bumps and rises in the vinyl baseboard. Adjust it as necessary before moving on to your next piece, moving along around the walls and corners of your room.

Cutting Strips

Cut strips using a square for ends and joints. Lay the trim piece where it is supposed to go and mark the length with a pencil. Lay the vinyl baseboard face down on a board or workbench. Lay the square down so it is next to the pencil mark. While holding the square down firmly, score the moulding several times with a utility knife until you’re all the way through. Glue the strips and check for straightness once you are done cutting.

Fold vinyl trim around outside corners with your hand. Outside corners don’t need to be cut all the way through because the moulding forms easily around the outside. Once the vinyl baseboard is folded in the right place, use a utility knife to cut about half the thickness of the trim off the outside crease on the outside of the vinyl baseboard. This allows the trim to fold nicely around the corner of the wall.. Glue and attach the trim once it is cut.

Cut the vinyl baseboard so it fits neatly into the corner of inside joints. Measure the length of vinyl that needs to be cut to fit against the wall. Lay the vinyl face down and cut the trim using a utility knife and square. You don't have to cut all the way through the baseboard in one try. Use several strokes of the knife scoring a little more each time until you cut all the way through. Glue the vinyl in place at that point. For the adjacent side of the inside corner, cut the vinyl baseboard trim to fit the shape of the already glued piece. You can estimate by looking at a piece of trim and use trial and error until you get it right. Glue the other piece together at the joint when it is cut and fits nicely.

Make a template for inside corners after you have made one successful cut. You can do this with a piece of thick paper or cardboard.

Work your way around the room cutting and gluing according to the steps above until you are finished. Try to make sure outside corners have lengths of trim on each side, and don’t need to be cut close to the corner.

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