DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Flooring > Carpet installer asked me to install baseboards down to subfloor?




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Old 07-31-2009, 02:11 AM  
shortskoolbus
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Default Carpet installer asked me to install baseboards down to subfloor?

Hi guys,

Hope you can help me out on this.

The carpet guys asked me to install the baseboards all the way down to the sub floor. I know on most new construction this is the way it is done, but isn't it better to leave a gap to allow for the carpet to be tucked in under it?

I asked him if he was sure that i should install the base boards down to the subfloor and he kept saying yes, even when i asked him isn't it a better finish to have the carpet tucked under...

Is it easier one way or the other for the carpet installer, and is he just trying to get out of doing more work?



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Old 07-31-2009, 10:36 AM  
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Do you have a baseboard that requires a separate shoe molding (also called a "quarter round" or "carpet strip") that is installed in front of the baseboard, or is it a single piece baseboard?

Here's how your floor is probably built:
IN THE BEGINNING there were the floor joists,
over top of the floor joists they installed a 1X6 fir lumber or 3/4 inch plywood SUBFLOOR
then they built the stud walls on top of that subfloor
then they installed 1/4 to 3/8 inch underlayment sheets within each "room"
then they put drywall or plaster on the walls (and did everything else)
then they installed the baseboard to cover any gap between the underlayment and the walls
then they installed the flooring (carpet linoleum tile, etc.)
then they installed the shoe molding to cover the gap between the floor and the baseboard


There are different ways to do this. Newer houses typically use a single piece baseboard. On new construction, that single piece baseboard is installed about 1/4 to 3/8 inch above the underlayment first before the carpet is installed, and that's simply to save money. That way the carpet installers install the carpet and tuck it under the baseboard, and so they don't have to call the carpenter's back to install the baseboard. That saves money because the travel and set-up time for the carpenters to come back would take a half day, so you're paying a full day's wages for a half day's work Also, the advantage to that is that you don't have sawdust from the saw station being tracked all over the brand new carpet.

However, if this isn't a new house, and is old enough to have a separate baseboard and shoe molding, then the installation would be done differently.

In that case, if it wuz my apartment block, I'd install the baseboard to the wall on top of the 5/16" fir plywood UNDERLAYMENT I have in my building, and then nail the tack strips down about 3/4 inch in front of that baseboard. Then, I'd staple the underpad down to the underlayment in that room and install the metal naplock strips wherever there's a transition to a different flooring material (typically in the doorways). Then I'd stretch the carpet over the underpad and hook it on the tack strips. Then I'd install the shoe molding over the gap between the cut edge of the carpet and the baseboard.

And, the reason why you install the baseboard of a two piece baseboard/shoe molding combination first is so that you have something to slide the "wall trimmer" against. A wall trimmer is a tool you slide along the wall to cut the carpet to the shape of the room (which isn't always rectangular). And, the wall trimmer is designed in such a way that you can set it up to cut the carpet shy of the baseboard so that you can stretch it up to the baseboard, or to cut the carpet past the baseboard so that you can fold the carpet under itself to make something called a "perfect edge" where you just leave the carpet like that without installing the shoe molding.

So, if your carpet installer is doing things the way I would say is right, then:

1. You're mixing up the subfloor with the underlayment. He's asking you to install the baseboard on the underlayment, not the subfloor.

2. You have a separate baseboard and separate shoe molding, not a single piece baseboard.

If you have a single piece baseboard that doesn't have a separate shoe molding you install afterward, then I don't like the installer's idea of putting on the baseboard first either. I'd wonder what he's going to do with the cut edge of that carpet. Does he just plan to leave the cut edge in front of the baseboard? That would not be kosher in my books.



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Old 08-06-2009, 08:54 AM  
Big Red
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I always do this the way the carpet installer said. I've heard that some carpet installers,today, say to mount baseboards ontop of carpet. I think that's just wrong. In the future, another carpet may be thinner---or thicker---then the baseboards have to come out. I prefer baseboard with a shoe molding. It just looks more finished than baseboard without the shoe. The carper installer will tuck the carpet between the shoe and the tack strip for a finished edge.

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Old 08-06-2009, 05:41 PM  
tmhremodel
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agreed... the base should go down first, then the carpet.. the confussion people sometimes have is, with tile or stone the base should go on AFTER, with carpet before..
much cleaner look.

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Old 08-06-2009, 08:30 PM  
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Originally Posted by Big Red View Post
I always do this the way the carpet installer said. I've heard that some carpet installers,today, say to mount baseboards ontop of carpet. I think that's just wrong. In the future, another carpet may be thinner---or thicker---then the baseboards have to come out.
Of course not. The pile of carpet is compressible. Even the cheapest carpet are a good 1/4 inch thick. You will not see that 1/8 inch gap if you put your baseboards in first and have them 3/8 inch off the floor. I you go to a 5/8 inch thick carpet, you still won't have any trouble squeezing the pile down to fit under that baseboard.

Quote:
I prefer baseboard with a shoe molding. It just looks more finished than baseboard without the shoe. The carper installer will tuck the carpet between the shoe and the tack strip for a finished edge.
I prefer to take the shoe molding out, install the carpet so it butts up to he baseboard, and then install the shoe molding on top of the carpet.

In fact what I prefer to do, which you can see in this photo:



Is nail the tackless strip down a good inch and a quarter away from the baseboard, install the carpet butting up to the baseboard, and then install the shoe molding on top of the carpet. That way you get an "upholstered" look around the perimeter of the carpet.
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Old 08-06-2009, 08:37 PM  
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agreed... the base should go down first, then the carpet.. the confussion people sometimes have is, with tile or stone the base should go on AFTER, with carpet before..
much cleaner look.
What difference does the flooring under the carpet make? If you have tile flooring, you can still glue down tack strips, you can still glue down an underpad, so you can still stretch the carpet over the tile floor.

I'd agree with you if you said: "If you're doing a glue-down install, then you install the baseboards after gluing the carpet down." But, you don't have to glue a carpet down over tile or stone. You can stretch a carpet in over tile and stone too.

At the end of the day, both ways work fine. I personally always install my tackless strips further than normal from my baseboards, stretch the carpet in, and then install shoe moldings over the carpet for an "upholstered" look around the perimeter of the carpet.
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Old 08-07-2009, 07:51 AM  
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The problem with that way is that the baseboard should be permanent to the room. Carpet comes and goes. You should never have to remove shoe molding to replace carpet.

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Old 08-12-2009, 12:04 PM  
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The problem with that way is that the baseboard should be permanent to the room. Carpet comes and goes. You should never have to remove shoe molding to replace carpet.
The baseboard should never need to be removed when replacing the flooring.

That's cuz the flooring is installed UP TO the baseboard, and the shoe molding is installed to cover the cut edge of the flooring.

S'pose instead of carpet, we were talking about installing Peel & Stick floor tiles, or sheet vinyl or laminate flooring or even ceramic tiles. In every case the flooring would be installed up to the baseboard and then the shoe molding would go on top to cover the cut edge of the flooring and the gap between the flooring and baseboard. (It's just that you can't nail through ceramic tiles, so the shoe molding would be nailed horizontally to the baseboard.)

The two reasons why there seems to be some confusion over what to do with carpet are:

1. In new house construction they typically either don't use shoe molding, or install it a quarter inch or so above the floor before the carpet is installed. That's not cuz it's supposed to be done that way, it's cuz it's cheaper to do it that way than to install the carpet and then call back the carpenters to install the shoe molding. It's just cheaper to have the carpenters install the shoe molding a bit above the floor before they leave for their next job, and just have the carpet people slip the cut edge of the carpet under the shoe molding.

2. Carpet installers really don't want to be replacing shoe molding. Shoe molding will often break when you pull it off, and you also have to pull the nails holding it to the baseboard. So, if a shoe molding breaks into several pieces when removed, then the customer is gonna complain that they nailed the shoe molding on in pieces and it looks terrible. But the only option is to start cutting, priming and painting new shoe molding, and that's gonna take longer than installing another carpet. So, shoe moldings are a nuisance for carpet installers, and they try to avoid shoe molding by tucking the carpet up neatly against the baseboard. But, it's not like it should be done that way.

PS: Before the Roberts company patented the tack strips they called "Smoothedge", carpets were installed by actually nailing the perimeter of the carpet down to the floor. These nails were called "carpet tacks", and the reason that competitor's equivalents of Smoothedge are called "tackLESS strips" is because you don't have to use tacks if you use the wood strips. So, without the wood strips, you would HAVE TO use a shoe molding over the carpet to hide the carpet tacks around the perimeter of the room.

(we typically call them "tackstrips" but the correct terminology is tackless strip)
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:05 PM  
robert mccoy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortskoolbus View Post
Hi guys,

Hope you can help me out on this.

The carpet guys asked me to install the baseboards all the way down to the sub floor. I know on most new construction this is the way it is done, but isn't it better to leave a gap to allow for the carpet to be tucked in under it?

I asked him if he was sure that i should install the base boards down to the subfloor and he kept saying yes, even when i asked him isn't it a better finish to have the carpet tucked under...

Is it easier one way or the other for the carpet installer, and is he just trying to get out of doing more work?
let the installer do what he wants its harder to cut ferfect to the base than cut it a 1/2 inch bigger then stuff it under anybody could do that. the real look is rounded .

the real look is rounded at the base and that comes from base to the floor . green horns need it up.
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Old 11-09-2009, 05:18 AM  
jacobvats
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As a designer, I would definitely run your baseboards all the way to the subfloor. If you have a good carpet installer, they will be able to run the tack strips properly and tuck the edges of any carpet (regardless of thickness) and get a nice tight fit to the base. I am going through this right now-- I have had a contractor insisting that 3/8" is the way to go, but I really think you get a better look with no gap. Designers and builders don't always agree!



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