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gluing baseboards

Welle's picture

We are installing a maple floor through out our home. We are considering cutting and prefinishing the baseboards then gluing them in rather than nailing. Does anyone have any experience with this? Thanks . . .

ring's picture

(post #74436, reply #1 of 19)

I suggest you post the question on "breaktime", and describe exactly what the walls are made of.


Pondfish's picture

(post #74436, reply #2 of 19)

I'd hate to be the person some years down the line who needs to remove a baseboard that was glued to the wall. 

The only time I use glue with trim is in putting a little at the ends when joining corners.  Is there a reason why you are considering glueing them? 

Recommending the use of "Hide Signatures" option under "My Preferences" since 2005
Recommending the use of "Hide Signatures" option under "My Preferences" since 2005
Welle's picture

(post #74436, reply #3 of 19)

We can cut and prefinish the baseboard while the floors are being professionally installed. We wanted to save the time that it would take to fill, sand and refinish after the installation. (The walls are painted sheetrock.)

JohnWW's picture

(post #74436, reply #8 of 19)

I agree with the first poster, if the trim has to be removed in the future, the work will be very difficult and will quite possibly destroy the sheetrock.  You will also have the same problem while you are doing the installation, you won't be able to shift and adjust the fits. 

Another problem is that the trim will have to be clamped to the wall while the glue sets, how would you do that?  Walls aren't nearly flat enough to have the trim just fit perfectly, the wood has to be pulled in to follow the wall's contours.  You may also discover that the precut trim may not fit a few weeks later when you go to actually install it, especially if this is in new construction that is still settling and shrinking.

You can stain and put one coat of the finish on the trim before you install it.  When you are ready to install the trim, cut it to size, touch up the raw edges, and nail it in place carefully.  Then put on a final coat of finish.  Nail holes are better off filled with a wax crayon from Minwax after all the finishing has been done.

John W.

John White Shop Manager for FWW Magazine, 1998 to 2007

kesac's picture

(post #74436, reply #15 of 19)

Tack them in with a 23 ga. pin gun, and you'll never need to refinish anything.

How were you planning on holding the things in place until the glue grabs?

What will you do when those moldings don't fit quite the same with the new floor in place, as they did with it out?

Rich14's picture

(post #74436, reply #16 of 19)


Construction adhesive grabs right away. It's possible to reposition for a while, but all that's necessary to "glue" them in place is a few seconds of finger pressure. They won't move unless you really insist that they do. After a few minutes no repositioning is possible.


kesac's picture

(post #74436, reply #17 of 19)

Well, wish you luck.  There are lots of things people do that I have never seen, and they work well.

I don't know how well construction adhesive works on drywall.  I have used it for linoleum and paneling, but it has been years since I have done either of those things, and they probably have more adhesives now than I have ever imagined.

Tightbond does make an adhesive for doing molding, and it tacks real quick for putting your coped joints together,and your miters, but I have never tried it for sticking the molding to the wall.

Rich14's picture

(post #74436, reply #18 of 19)


"There are lots of things people do that I have never seen, and they work well."

Yes, and I wish I had had a pin gun instead for the job we used the construction adhesive. But I was pleased with the way it turned out, especially under kitchen cabinets where the only "wall" to put the baseboard against was a stretch of thin, flexible hardboard. The adhesive solution turned that nightmare into a piece of cake.

There are lots of "solutions" that technology has provided that simply didn't exist when a lot of us learned the basics.


kesac's picture

(post #74436, reply #19 of 19)

Glad it came out well.

matt3138's picture

(post #74436, reply #4 of 19)

Welle, I built a new house last year and intalled all the baseboard and casing myself.  I primed and put the first coat on the trim prior to the installation.  After the installation, I filled the holes (don't go crazy with the nails), lightly sanded, then finish coat of paint.  This was a good comprimise.  Next time (next lifetime) I would install all the trim prior to priming the walls/ceilings and spray everything. Hindsight is still 20/20.

I think you will find that no matter how flat and straight you think your walls are, that you will still need to nail spots to compensate for bows and hollows in the sheet rock.

How will the trim stay in place while the glue dries?

My $0.023 (CDN)


Welle's picture

(post #74436, reply #5 of 19)

Good point about keeping the baseboard in place while drying . . .

Baseboard will have a clear finish matching the floor, so the wall/baseboard spray is not an option . . .

and you are right about the walls not being straight . . .

Well - guess gluing is not a viable option - or it would have been done before now.

Thanks for all your responses.


cleanwater's picture

(post #74436, reply #6 of 19)

A local trim pro that I worked with recently nails & glues nearly 100 % of the time.  Following his advice, I glued and occassionally nailed an addition that I recently built. 

Unfortunately last year during Huricane Ivan, the addition partially flooded forceing me to remove the baseboard moulding which came off very well (actually better than the sections that had been nailed.

My not be standard practice everywhere, but at least two guys in Central Pennsylvania do it (-;

Family Man

Welle's picture

(post #74436, reply #7 of 19)

Good to know - as a matter of fact, this floor replacement venture is the result of Hurricane Charley. At least this could help minimize the efforts. What glue do you recommend?

JeffB's picture

(post #74436, reply #9 of 19)

I agree with John W., walls are not straight, and many baseboards aren't straight, so you will have to use some nails.  I would suggest you prefinish and glue/nail and use a colored putty for the nail heads.  I have put down a fair amount of baseboards and you are going to want to be able to take them up in the future.


mike4244's picture

(post #74436, reply #10 of 19)

In your case I would use panel adhesive and a few brad nails to install the trim. The adhesive should be put on in dime sized dots on the back of the base. Check to see if their are shallow spots in the wall, hold the trim up to it. Only spot the adhesive on the straight or high spots,about 16" O.C. and 1" from the top and bottom.

I rarely glue baseboard, with your base I would not hesitate to glue.


Rich14's picture

(post #74436, reply #11 of 19)


"gluing" the baseboard with construction adhesive, you will have no problem "clamping" the baseboards in place. In many installations, using adhesive is the only way as the "wall" has little integrity and there is nothing to nail against. Construction adhesive "grabs" very well, almost immediately.

Baseboards adhered with construction adhesive can be removed if needed. But a little patience is needed and a sharpened tool such as a stiff "putty knife" or similar sharpened thin wedge will do the job. If you get too aggressive, you will pull off the paper surface of the sheetrock.

We had a job consisting of white plastic baseboard on a maple floor. It looked great, but there was no adequate way to hide nail holes. The stuff doesn't get painted and caulking simply didn't match the plastic white. Construction adhesive worked nicely, and it went very fast. We used a zig-zag bead all along the back of the baseboard. We also adhered quarter round to the baseboard in the same way.


Welle's picture

(post #74436, reply #12 of 19)

We appreciate all the responses - we will continue this discussion in breaktime, which is apparently where I should have posted this to begin with . . . sorry, my inexperience is showing.
It turns out that the so-called professionals who were laying the maple hardwood floor are too busy bidding other jobs to finish ours, so we fired them this am. We have a deadline - we are in a neighbor's home and have to move out a week from Sunday. We have to do the sanding, filling, and finishing ourselves now. We urgently need information regarding the following:
Our floor is clear maple. We expect to start with 80 grit sandpaper & then move to 120. We have a water based filler from Timbermate USA that is 10-15% water for maple-beech-pine 16#. We need info on a water based finish that will not color - we want this floors to be as clear as possible, no yellowing. Can anyone advise us as to products and procedures?
Many thanks, moving to breaktime -

Rich14's picture

(post #74436, reply #13 of 19)


Yes, breaktime is the place to find the information you need.

If you have never sanded a hardwood floor yourself, doing a job with such a deadline could become a disaster. Learning is best done under conditions where you can go slowly, with instructions and have room to make mistakes. Good luck!

Most water-borne finishes will not yellow maple. I have used Varathane Diamond water-borne with very good results on all kinds of maple porjects, but not floors. It is very hard, when allowed to cure for at least several weeks (cover walk areas with carpet after allowing the floor to harden for at least 24 hours), then allow it to cure before subjecting it to wear. The Varathane product gives beautiful results and is very easy to use.

I'm sure you will get lots of other suggestions about a suitable finish at Breaktime.


Welle's picture

(post #74436, reply #14 of 19)

Thank you for you help, Rich. I'll need it!!