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Old 11-18-2006, 11:24 AM   #1
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Baseboard Question in New Home


I have a question about baseboards. are the baseboards in your house suppose to 'move'?
I just moved into a new house and there are several places where the baseboards can be pushed slightly and they move. I'd say about an 1/8 of an inch or so in and out. I discovered this on a section of the kitchen floor - we have porcelin tile in the kitchen & bathrooms - where the grout from the tile meets the bottom of the baseboard. It was cracked, and when I pushed on the baseboard, the crack grew wider as the baseboard moved. I've also noticed this where there is carpet. I'm thinking that when the floor is mopped, water or moisture is going to get on that crack, get under the baseboard, and that can't be a good thing.
I can't remember if this was the case at my previous home - a rental. We had carpet and vinyl and I don't think I ever checked. As far as I know, the baseboards are nailed to the frame of the house, through the drywall. What I can't figure out is why there are long sections of the baseboards that feel solid as a rock - no movement at all, and there are a dozen or so places that the baseboards do move.
According to the builder, the baseboards will flex and this is normal, but I just wanted to see if anyone had any opinions. It just doesn't make any sense to me that most of the baseboards are solid while a few move.
Also, in the kitchen, there are a few areas under the cabinets that are doing the same thing. The boards under the cabinets are different, but again, some are solid and some move.
I don't know if I'm being too picky or what.
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Old 11-18-2006, 06:48 PM   #2
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Baseboard Question in New Home


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Originally Posted by BusterPercheron View Post
I have a question about baseboards. are the baseboards in your house suppose to 'move'?
I don't know if I'm being too picky or what.
Simple answer: NO.

Longer answer:

If there are areas where the baseboard is moving, it is because it was not nailed properly. When installing baseboard, nails are placed through the baseboard on the top areas AND the very bottom areas.
The nails placed into the bottom areas of the baseboard are supposed to go into the bottom wall plate, which is easy because it runs continuously along the very bottom of the wall (on newer homes).

Anywhere the installer puts a nail there, it will go in and pull the baseboard tight, if they hit it right. The installer is also supposed to put another nail (on the top area of the baseboard to pull that top side of the baseboard in... tight... to the wall.
These nails (placed higher on the baseboard) are supposed to hit the studs. However, since the studs are placed 16" on center, if someone has is not paying attention ....then those nails may have simply missed hitting a stud. When that happens, you end up having the problems that you are commenting on.

So, yes, the nails have missed hitting any wood. They may be there....But they are not attached to anything that would hold your baseboard 'tightly' to the wall.

Solution: Get a stud finder and go around and re-nail the baseboard into the studs that were obviously missed.

Good Luck.

Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 11-19-2006 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 11-18-2006, 10:26 PM   #3
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Baseboard Question in New Home


Thanks for the fast response.

I guess I've got to have a talk with the builder on monday.

The toe kicks under the cabinets are doing the same thing in a few places. I don't know what it looks like under there - how the toe kick is attached, so I'm not sure if anything can be done there. Is there any way to tighten up the toe kick so it won't move, or am I pretty much stuck with it?
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:31 PM   #4
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Baseboard Question in New Home


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Thanks for the fast response.

I guess I've got to have a talk with the builder on monday.

The toe kicks under the cabinets are doing the same thing in a few places. I don't know what it looks like under there - how the toe kick is attached, so I'm not sure if anything can be done there. Is there any way to tighten up the toe kick so it won't move, or am I pretty much stuck with it?
Those should be attached with somekind of liquid adhesive and brad nails.
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Old 11-20-2006, 01:25 AM   #5
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Those should be attached with somekind of liquid adhesive and brad nails.
The only thing is, there are spaces between the boards where there is nothing to nail the toe kick into. I think it's in those places that it is flexing. I would have to remove the toe kick to see, but I'm guessing that the boards used are pretty thin.

Maybe a flexible, adhesive caulk where the toe kick meets the grout on the floor would work..?
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Old 11-20-2006, 06:16 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by BusterPercheron View Post
The only thing is, there are spaces between the boards where there is nothing to nail the toe kick into. I think it's in those places that it is flexing. I would have to remove the toe kick to see, but I'm guessing that the boards used are pretty thin.

Maybe a flexible, adhesive caulk where the toe kick meets the grout on the floor would work..?

In that case, you could just get some 3/4" thick wood 'fir' boards....ripped down to match the width you want. Nail them in as a backer board 1st. Then install a finished toe kick over that.
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