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Old 03-09-2015, 08:35 PM   #1
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When to install base molding?


My living room has carpet and a very small tiled area near my fireplace. When the house was built, they installed the base molding first and then installed all the flooring (I have tile, carpet and wood).

I am in the process of replacing the base molding and also the carpet and tile. How should I install the base molding? From my research, it seems like the most common way to install base molding and carpet is to leave a 5/8 to 1/2 gap so the carpet installer can tuck the carpet under.

How should I install the base molding for the tile? I would think installing it after is the better option for tile. If so, I would also think I should do the same for the carpet so the base molding all the way around is even.
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Old 03-09-2015, 09:13 PM   #2
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It all depends on the installation method of the tiles, the layout and if the various types of flooring share common walls. For carpeting, the base should be installed first. It's also fine to install the new base in the tiled areas first if you have common areas. Both could be shimmed ⅜ - " or so. The tiled areas should also receive shoe moldings to cover the expansion gap and give it the finished look.

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Old 03-09-2015, 09:34 PM   #3
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Technically, base where carpet is to be installed is not supposed to be raised. Tack strip is made so that when the carpet is tucked in, it locks the carpet in between the base and strip. But in practical application, a raised base works fine. So whatever looks best to you.
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Old 03-09-2015, 09:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by rusty baker View Post
Technically, base where carpet is to be installed is not supposed to be raised. Tack strip is made so that when the carpet is tucked in, it locks the carpet in between the base and strip. But in practical application, a raised base works fine. So whatever looks best to you.
I honestly couldn't tell the difference unless I was down on the floor and tried pulling the carpet up. I really want to do what is the best method. Maybe the best is to ask what the installer would like (though I would think they can work with raised or not).


Here is where the carpet and tile meet. You can kind of see that the base molding wasn't raised and they put grout against the molding. I'm not a huge fan of shoe molding which is kind of why I wanted to put the base molding on after the tile was installed. Then I could put it flush on the tile. Though like I said above, I want to do what is correct.

If I put the molding on the sub floor for the carpet, I assume I would do the same for the tile as it needs to be even. Then would I still use a shoe molding for the tile? Wouldn't a shoe molding look weird on that small strip of molding and not go along the entire room?

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Old 03-09-2015, 09:43 PM   #5
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Jaz is a pro. Don't take his advice lightly. I don't.

But, I just did all the flooring in my house, and left the baseboards til the end. I wanted to make sure I had proper room for expansion between tile/wall, and didn't want a wide caulk joint seen, or covered with another molding.

When I installed the base over the carpet, I applied enough pressure so it appeared tight to the pile. My tile elevation was very close(a 1/16" lower than top of carpet), and I caulked the bottom of base to tile joints so it looked seamless.

Less than a year after the new carpet/tile/base was installed, all the carpet had to be replaced, along with the pad, under warranty(long story). I was worried the defective carpet would be difficult to remove. To my relief, it wasn't much harder to remove than if it were next to(not under) the base, and the new carpet was able to be tucked back under the base.

If your tiled area is small, I wouldn't worry about base going in first. With larger areas, and how you want it to look when finished, installing the base afterwards can be an option.

If the base goes on afterwards, and is to be painted, prepaint them so you're only touching up nail holes in the faces, and the top caulk joint at base/wall.
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Old 03-09-2015, 10:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JazMan View Post
It all depends on the installation method of the tiles, the layout and if the various types of flooring share common walls. For carpeting, the base should be installed first. It's also fine to install the new base in the tiled areas first if you have common areas. Both could be shimmed ⅜ - " or so. The tiled areas should also receive shoe moldings to cover the expansion gap and give it the finished look.

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When you say the molding should be install first for carpeting, do you prefer a gap to tuck the carpet under or flush with the sub floor like rusty is saying?
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Old 03-09-2015, 10:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h22lude
When you say the molding should be install first for carpeting, do you prefer a gap to tuck the carpet under or flush with the sub floor like rusty is saying?
That depends on the type of adjacent floor coverings and in the case of tiles, how they're installed, (the method). Is this a suspended wood subfloor or a slab? You want the top of the base to be at the same level of course, without having to rip some of it down. So tell us what you're using and the thickness variance once installed.

If it's a wooden subfloor, we'll need details about the framing and subfloor. It might also help if you told us your location to get an idea of construction and weather conditions.

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Old 03-09-2015, 10:45 PM   #8
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H22lude:

I can't comment on the floor tiles, but your carpet installer will be using a tool called a "wall trimmer" to cut the carpet to fit up to the walls in your room. Here's what a wall trimmer looks like:



The flat plate on the front end of the wall trimmer is called the "shoe" and it slides along the walls of the room to cut the carpet a predetermined distance short of the wall. (The carpet trimmer can be set up to cut the carpet past the wall, too.) The whole idea here is to cut the carpet a uniform distance from the wall as you install it so that you get a uniform stretch in the carpet when you stretch the carpet up to the wall. The installer should be using a power stretcher to stretch the carpet instead of a knee kicker.

So, you need a smooth surface on the wall where the shoe of the wall trimmer can slide along to cut the carpet to fit the room. You have that now with your baseboard molding. If you remove your baseboards, you don't know what's behind them, and you may very well not have a smooth surface for the wall trimmer to slide along. Or the bottom of the drywall or plaster could be higher up off the floor so that the shoe of the carpet trimmer could slip under the drywall or plaster. So, if it were me, I would leave your baseboards on for the carpet installation. The installer can stretch the carpet up to your baseboards so that you can install a shoe molding over the cut edge of the carpet, or he can cut the carpet a bit longer and simply tuck the cut end of the carpet down in front of the baseboard (which is the way it appears your existing carpet was installed).



You have exactly the same kind of baseboards as I have in my building, only mine are painted. When I installed carpeting in my living rooms, I would nail down the tack strips about an inch from the baseboards and cut the carpet between 3/8 and 1/2 an inch short of the baseboard. (Typically, tackstrip is nailed down closer than that to the baseboard.) Then I'd install the carpet by stretching it up to the baseboards. Finally, I'd install shoe molding in the depression between the tack strips and the baseboards. I liked doing it that way because it gave the edges of the carpet an "upholstered" look that you can't get if the shoe molding is sitting on top of the tack strips.
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Old 03-09-2015, 11:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nestor_Kelebay View Post
H22lude:

I can't comment on the floor tiles, but your carpet installer will be using a tool called a "wall trimmer" to cut the carpet to fit up to the walls in your room. Here's what a wall trimmer looks like:



The flat plate on the front end of the wall trimmer is called the "shoe" and it slides along the walls of the room to cut the carpet a predetermined distance short of the wall. (The carpet trimmer can be set up to cut the carpet past the wall, too.) The whole idea here is to cut the carpet a uniform distance from the wall as you install it so that you get a uniform stretch in the carpet when you stretch the carpet up to the wall. The installer should be using a power stretcher to stretch the carpet instead of a knee kicker.

So, you need a smooth surface on the wall where the shoe of the wall trimmer can slide along to cut the carpet to fit the room. You have that now with your baseboard molding. If you remove your baseboards, you don't know what's behind them, and you may very well not have a smooth surface for the wall trimmer to slide along. Or the bottom of the drywall or plaster could be higher up off the floor so that the shoe of the carpet trimmer could slip under the drywall or plaster. So, if it were me, I would leave your baseboards on for the carpet installation. The installer can stretch the carpet up to your baseboards so that you can install a shoe molding over the cut edge of the carpet, or he can cut the carpet a bit longer and simply tuck the cut end of the carpet down in front of the baseboard (which is the way it appears your existing carpet was installed).



You have exactly the same kind of baseboards as I have in my building, only mine are painted. When I installed carpeting in my living rooms, I would nail down the tack strips about an inch from the baseboards and cut the carpet between 3/8 and 1/2 an inch short of the baseboard. (Typically, tackstrip is nailed down closer than that to the baseboard.) Then I'd install the carpet by stretching it up to the baseboards. Finally, I'd install shoe molding in the depression between the tack strips and the baseboards. I liked doing it that way because it gave the edges of the carpet an "upholstered" look that you can't get if the shoe molding is sitting on top of the tack strips.
Ha ha ha, I hope you were trying to be funny.
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Old 03-10-2015, 06:31 AM   #10
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That depends on the type of adjacent floor coverings and in the case of tiles, how they're installed, (the method). Is this a suspended wood subfloor or a slab? You want the top of the base to be at the same level of course, without having to rip some of it down. So tell us what you're using and the thickness variance once installed.

If it's a wooden subfloor, we'll need details about the framing and subfloor. It might also help if you told us your location to get an idea of construction and weather conditions.

Jaz
It is a suspended wooden sub floor. I don't know the height difference yet as I have not picked out the carpet and padding. I know that is a big question mark. I was assuming the height of the carpet would be higher than the tile.

I live in Rhode Island so we get really cold winters and hot summers.

My living room is a step down so the carpet and tile are the only type of flooring in that room. The step up is where my hardwoods start.
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Old 03-10-2015, 11:01 AM   #11
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The main item is the ceramic tile, they're permanent where carpeting isn't. Since you're on a wooden floor, you'll be installing either a membrane or concrete backer board under the tiles. That'll raise the height from " to ⅞" or more if they're doing a 'mud-job', (very doubtful).

If the tiles end up too high just simply shim the carpet a little. How old is the house and have you checked if the framing and subfloor is stiff enough for tiles? I know you've had tiles, just a good time to make sure. Are the new tiles ceramic/porcelain or something else?

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Old 03-10-2015, 11:18 AM   #12
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The main item is the ceramic tile, they're permanent where carpeting isn't. Since you're on a wooden floor, you'll be installing either a membrane or concrete backer board under the tiles. That'll raise the height from " to ⅞" or more if they're doing a 'mud-job', (very doubtful).

If the tiles end up too high just simply shim the carpet a little. How old is the house and have you checked if the framing and subfloor is stiff enough for tiles? I know you've had tiles, just a good time to make sure. Are the new tiles ceramic/porcelain or something else?

Jaz
The house was built in 1987. How would I check the stiffness? There are tiles there now but as yo ucan probably see from the picture, the grout is coming out. I don't know much about tiling but I would think that is because the floors is either not level or not stiff enough and was shifting.

I'm not sure what the tiles will be. I haven't looked into what would be best. Is there one product better than the rest for this application?

Also, am I correct in assuming the tile would be installed first and then the carpet?
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Old 03-10-2015, 12:24 PM   #13
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You're correct, carpet is the last to be installed.

Upon closer observation, I now see the old grout doesn't look so good. If grout is coming out, there's movement, it wouldn't come out by itself.

The house isn't that old so I'm guessing the framing should meet min. deflection standards of no more than L360 deflection. The problem is likely the subfloor or method/technique. Let's see.

Tell us the size of the joists, their on center spacing and measure the span to the inch. See if they're stamped with species and grade. All this is done from the basement or crawl of course. Then what the subfloor layer (s) is and thickness etc. Tell us how those old tile were installed if possible.

I recommend ceramic/porcelain tiles usually. Natural stone tiles require a stiffer floor which you probably don't now have. Post pics whenever possible to make it more visual for us to better understand.

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Old 03-10-2015, 05:36 PM   #14
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The joists are 2x10 (the actual size was 1-1/2"x9-1/4"). The are 12" apart from center. I couldn't see if they were stamped with anything. Most of my basement is drop ceiling and it is very tight against the joists. The small room with my boiler and water heater doesn't have a drop ceiling and that just so happens to be right under my fireplace.

My carpet is still installed so I couldn't see that subfloor but I do have a few stairs that I ripped up and that is about 3/8". But again, I don't know if that is what is under my living room carpet.
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Old 03-10-2015, 06:26 PM   #15
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Ha ha ha, I hope you were trying to be funny.
So, Rusty Baker, what do you find so funny about my post?
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