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  1. #1

    Default Installing base molding w/2 different floor heights

    I’m installing the base molding in our new home (& making the shoe molding- ok, I’m a gluten for punishment!). Our living & dining room is hardwood floor (Kahrs) and the kitchen is ceramic tile. The height difference between the 2 floor mediums is 3/8”. In addition, there is a ¼ inch or so gap between the tile floor and the bottom of the drywall – the builders raised up the drywall to account for the installation of the radiant floor heat and tile floor.
    With that brief setup, here are my questions:
    1. How should I install the base molding with the 2 different floor heights? I’ve already installed some base molding along the tile floor but have come to a screeching halt as I figure out how to transition the molding from the tile to the wood floor. Someone suggested ripping the base molding for the wood floor so the height becomes the same as the base molding for the tile floor, which doesn’t seem to agree with me. I would think that would look funny, comparing the base/shoe molding of the tile floor with that of a room with wood floor. I don’t have a good handle on how to approach this and wanted to get your thoughts.
    2. How do I cut the base molding on outside corners so that there’s not a noticeable gap at the miter (because we ALL know that all corners are EXACTLY 90 degrees, right? Not!) And how do you account for cutting the base molding on an outside corner where the floor may have a small rise or fall over the run of the molding? So not only does one have to get the miter correct, but cut it at some angle so that it again fits without a noticeable gap at the miter. This occurs in kitchen on the tile floor.
    3. The base molding is oak and the kitchen cabinets are maple. As I go around the kitchen to install the shoe molding, do I put oak shoes against the maple cabinets or do I need to make maple shoes? If I have to make maple shoes, when an oak shoe meets a maple shoe at an inside corner, seems to me it wouldn’t look good? Suggestions?
    4. When installing the reducer molding (the transition piece from the tile floor to wood floor), does this molding get installed first (going from wall to wall) or does the base molding go in first and the reducer then go between the base molding?

    Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Installing base molding w/2 different floor heights

    1. If the base between the rooms is continuous, then rip the base so it sits at the same height for the hard wood. If there is a cased opening that separates the rooms I raise the base in each room to the height of the flooring in that room. You did not ask but in the carpet areas keep the base at 3/8 (1/2" if thick carpet) to allow the carpet to be tucked under the base. Also be sure to paint before your carpet is installed.

    2. Add 1 degree to the outside corners, so a right angle gets two 46 degree miters. If by chance you are cheating and mitering the inside corners as well, try subtracting 1 degree. The idea is to keep the front profile of the base tight.

    3. I hate the look of "all oak", I will try very hard to get the builder not to do this. Order the shoe from the cabinet company for in front of the cabinets, run your oak shoe on the walls. It looks natural where it intersects when it is done.

    4. Intall your base first and cut the reducer to the base. Cut it perfect because your shoe will probably stop at the reducer and start again at the other flooring height. It will look better if you can make the reducerperfectly flush at both floor heights and run the shoe over the reducer. Take your time and use a backer on the fence of your miter saw to protect the little peices and your fingers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    Default Re: Installing base molding w/2 different floor heights

    I'll give this a go...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Woody
    1. How should I install the base molding with the 2 different floor heights? I’ve already installed some base molding along the tile floor but have come to a screeching halt as I figure out how to transition the molding from the tile to the wood floor. Someone suggested ripping the base molding for the wood floor so the height becomes the same as the base molding for the tile floor, which doesn’t seem to agree with me. I would think that would look funny, comparing the base/shoe molding of the tile floor with that of a room with wood floor. I don’t have a good handle on how to approach this and wanted to get your thoughts.
    The suggestion to rip base 3/8" is the correct approach. Your eye will follow the top edge. It will not look funny.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Woody
    2. How do I cut the base molding on outside corners so that there’s not a noticeable gap at the miter (because we ALL know that all corners are EXACTLY 90 degrees, right? Not!) And how do you account for cutting the base molding on an outside corner where the floor may have a small rise or fall over the run of the molding? So not only does one have to get the miter correct, but cut it at some angle so that it again fits without a noticeable gap at the miter.
    There's no magical all-in-one formula, you'll simply need to adjust your miters (+/- .5 degrees or so) per corner. Test shorts will be helpful here.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Woody
    3. The base molding is oak and the kitchen cabinets are maple. As I go around the kitchen to install the shoe molding, do I put oak shoes against the maple cabinets or do I need to make maple shoes? If I have to make maple shoes, when an oak shoe meets a maple shoe at an inside corner, seems to me it wouldn’t look good? Suggestions?
    Oak shoe. (<that's a period) However, you should not put the oak base on the cabinets, I assume they already have a maple kick. Butt your base into the cabinet kick, run your shoe full perimeter.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Woody
    4. When installing the reducer molding (the transition piece from the tile floor to wood floor), does this molding get installed first (going from wall to wall) or does the base molding go in first and the reducer then go between the base molding?
    Base first, transition(s) to follow.

    Best of luck.


    Cheers, Wm

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Installing base molding w/2 different floor heights

    Gentlemen, with all due respect, The questions being asked sound like a DIY'er. I thought this forum was to be kept as a professional only basis. If I am wrong about Ron Woody being a DIY'er, I apologize. The answers to the questions were very good, but I'd like to see these forums stay PRO only.
    Gene
    If it looks right, it is right

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Installing base molding w/2 different floor heights

    I understand your thought, I don't mind answering a few questions. But a few things come to mind:

    1. On the job I have no problem sharing information with customers or other trades, I sure like it when people help me out. 2. The only people who respond are those that don't mind taking the time to do it and the ones that don't want to even read it can go to the next topic. 3. Sometimes the DIY starts a topic and the discussion that follows is informative to the pro's here. 4. I can relate to before I became a carpenter and did not know this simple basic stuff.


    William:

    If you had cherry cabinets (dark), oak flooring (natural), and painted base would you still suggest the oak? What about cherry cabinets, tile floor, oak base?

    That stripe created by the oak shoe at the base cabinets looks out of place to me.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Installing base molding w/2 different floor heights

    Quote Originally Posted by Trim Carp

    William:

    If you had cherry cabinets (dark), oak flooring (natural), and painted base would you still suggest the oak? What about cherry cabinets, tile floor, oak base?

    That stripe created by the oak shoe at the base cabinets looks out of place to me.

    Yeah I believe I misread the situation, I was thinking the oak floor was in the kitchen.

    So, my new answer for #3 would be...no oak base below the cabinets (over the maple kick), butt the oak base into the kick, mill/install a 1/2"X1-1/4" maple shoe below the cabinet (butted into oak base), then butt 1/2"X 3/4" oak shoe into taller maple shoe flat.

    NO stripes. ;-)

    Cheers, Wm.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Installing base molding w/2 different floor heights

    Meangene,How'd you get the name?Are we gonna be a bunch of cranky old farts who never share uor tricks to the young guys or the home-owners who want to learn? How'd you learn it all?I say if we have someone who wants to learn,then let's all help and share the knowledge.Or we could keep it to ourselves and complain cause the quality of construction in this country is going downhill.share the knowledge,we can't take it w/ us.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Installing base molding w/2 different floor heights

    In our area, I've never seen base shoe applied below cabinets. Base and shoe end at the cabinet, and the cabinet and/or toe kick are scribed to the floor.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Installing base molding w/2 different floor heights

    linkvtile, Because you are new to this site you may not understand that this is a topic that has been kicked around before. Most Pro's agree to not let these threads get cluttered up w/DIY'er questions. There are other forums for this like Breaktime.

    I learned what I know by working in the trades. I have no problem sharing knowledge w/other carps. in the field or on this forum. I am neither "mean" or an "old fart",I would like to see this site stay Pro's only.

    As it says @ the top,"JLC Online, Where Contractors go to work on the web."

    How do the rest of you guys feel about this?
    Last edited by meangene; 10-15-2005 at 11:26 PM.
    Gene
    If it looks right, it is right

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Installing base molding w/2 different floor heights

    I don't mind Ron Woody's question. I quess because I have a different answer.

    I would cut a 45 (like for joining 2 pieces of molding) at the point where the height difference happens and just slide both sides down to the appropiate floor.

    I did this with 4" high molding at a 3" step. It looked good. (Noone looks at the molding anyhow.)

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Installing base molding w/2 different floor heights

    Quote Originally Posted by George Roberts
    (Noone looks at the molding anyhow.)
    You should hope with techniques such as that.

    Cheers, Wm.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Installing base molding w/2 different floor heights

    Wm.Gotthardt ---

    I simply gave a method which is quick and that I believe looks better than ripping the bottom off.

    One could put 3 mitered pieces together - the high floor piece, a vertical piece, the low floor piece, but some people don't like that.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Installing base molding w/2 different floor heights

    Meangene,

    I think perhaps you are too pro for the rest of us. I wonder just how good you are? My guess is; (with your attitude) not as good as you think!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Installing base molding w/2 different floor heights

    Meangene,

    I think perhaps you are too pro for the rest of us. I wonder just how good you are? My guess is; (with your attitude) not as good as you think!

  15. #15

    Default Re: Installing base molding w/2 different floor heights

    First off, I am very appreciative of all the replies to my post....thank you!!! Second of all, yes, I'm a DIY'er. I thought what better place to go to get answers to my questions than from the pro's. And I am eager to learn how to do this myself. If I stepped on someone's toes by entering this site as a DIY'er, my apologies. I do enjoy woodworking & spend many a Saturday as a 4H Woodworking leader. Thanks again for the "positive" contributors!!

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