How to Measure Baseboard Correctly
Written by Milan Jara on 20th Oct 2022
When it comes to how to measure baseboards, there are a few methods to try. We provide the best tips to ensure you receive accurate measurements.
While measuring your trim before cutting, even professionals will make mistakes. It is important to take your time. You will need to be sure that you do careful measurements and recheck those measurements to be sure that you don’t waste baseboard moldings. We provide some easy tips on how to measure baseboards.
Begin by Inspecting Trim Tools
First, you should ensure your measuring tools are accurate. If you have someone assisting you, measure with just one tool while the other person measures using another. Then, you can compare your results to see who is the most accurate.
The hood of a tape measure slides back and forth by 1/8”, which is the precise thickness of your hook. You will receive the same measurement no matter whether you butt it or hook it. Test it using some scrap pieces to ensure your measurements are similar both ways.
Levels can frequently go out of proper alignment. By putting the level on a flat horizontal surface, note the bubble’s position. Then, flip your level over. If your bubble is not in the same position, you may require a new level. Conduct the same test holding the level against a vertical surface to ensure you receive reliable plumb lines.
How to Measure Baseboard
There are several steps to measuring baseboards accurately. The best method to ensure accuracy is to measure twice and cut once. However, other tips will help you to get the job done accurately.
- Choose the baseboard. This is important because it allows you to determine the thickness and length of your desired baseboard, as various options are available.
- Measure the walls. Measure the location where you want to install baseboard molding. You will need to do an accurate drawing and label your measurements. You can save on baseboard costs if you only replace the baseboards that need replacing since the ones in a closet may still be in good condition. Measurements need to be in inches.
- Determine how you are tackling inside corners. Figuring out baseboard length involves more than just measuring the inside wall. You must decide whether you are doing a coped joint or mitering at a 45 degree angle; coped joints provide the best results. Ending baseboards for stairs may require additional consideration.
- Enter measurements into Excel. Excel is better than Google Sheets as it can handle fractions.
- Account for extra length that you may need. You will need to measure the narrowest part of your baseboard style for coped corners. You can make your overall measurement shorter by the thickness of your butted joint.
- Adjust measurements if you need to. This may involve looking at your sketch and deciding what lengths will require more for coping an inside corner and mitering an outside corner. In Excel, you can automatically add this to your original measurements.
- Assign the measurements to the baseboards. Create a new spreadsheet. You must copy your calculations to the new one using the paste function. Only paste your values. Begin with the largest measurements and assign them to a different baseboard. Be sure to label each board and which wall of the room they will be installed on. Once you have only smaller measurements left, begin filling them in with your leftover pieces.
- Print out your measurements. Once measurements are assigned to individual sticks and printed, order a few extra. Set what you have next to your miter saw or miter box and cut the miter joint on your new baseboard. Label the pieces on their backs after cutting, along with the room they go in. You will need to consult your diagram for the locations and to see what needs mitering and coping.
After this, you should have what you need and can begin baseboard installation.
Proper Baseboard Trim Installation
Work methodically to be sure that each board is measured and marked in the same way. When using your tape measure, call each measurement out to your assistant. Make sure if you use a carpenter’s pencil, you sharpen it to get clean lines. Many prefer using a standard pencil to draw lines, while others create marks with a knife.
Rather than drawing a single line, use a “v.” The point of the v should indicate the exact location for your cut. Use a square to draw lines through the v, then mark your waste side using an “x” to ensure the right side of the line is cut.
Measuring Using Sixteenths of an Inch
Calculating sixteenths of an inch is a tedious job that can frequently result in mistakes. For measurements that are 14 3/16”, some will say, “14 and one-quarter minus”. This indicates 1/16 short from 14 1/4. Another term is “14 plus a quarter and cut your line”. This suggests the person should cut the entire width of their line (that is 1/8” wide).
While making a mark for a cut, utilize the most straightforward method to decrease the likelihood of errors. The best thing to do is hold your piece against the wall and then mark it instead of using a tape measure. This works well should one end of the piece end by an outside corner. However, it won’t work if you need to measure from inside to inside the corner.
Before holding your piece in place, examine it to be sure the uncut end is square. You cannot count on boards to be square cut from a factory.
Hooking Your Measuring Tape
If whatever piece you are using is cut at an angle on the edge that you aren’t cutting, hooking your tape measure to it can be difficult. To overcome this, lay your wood baseboard trim piece along your 1-by. The end should be even with the edge of the 1-by. Then you can hook your measuring tape to your 1-by instead of the angled edge.
Using Story Poles
If you are looking to install molding like a chair rail or wainscoting around the middle of your walls, you want to ensure all pieces are the same height. You can do this by creating level lines. However, this is very time-consuming. So, assuming your floors are somewhat level, using a story pole for installing baseboard molding may be easier.
You can create story poles using baseboard trim or a scrap piece of lumber. Mark it according to the height of the molding that is to be installed. Hold your pole in position, mark your wall at several points or the ends of the wall, then snap chalk lines between your marks.
By keeping some of these tips in mind, you will be able to learn how to measure baseboards. You will receive accurate results and eliminate waste. Additionally, if you take your time, you will have your baseboards installed in record time, and it will cost less than if you hurry through the process. Slow and steady will always win this race.