How to Fix A Large Gap Between The Baseboard And Floor
Living in a poorly-finished house can be pretty difficult, especially when you start noticing that there are sanitary issues afoot. One of the bigger problems that can arise is a gap between a baseboard and a floor. Along with being a visually jarring issue, gaps like this can become a safe haven for critters like bedbugs and roaches. So, what can one do?
A large gap between the baseboard and the floor usually happens as the house settles and joints sag. It’s not something you should put up with, though. The best way to fix a large gap between a baseboard and floor is to use caulk, a gap fix system, or to readjust your baseboards.
Though many people think of this as a solely aesthetic issue, but it’s not. This guide will explain why this problem is one that you should strongly consider working on this weekend, and how to fix it with ease.
What’s So Bad About Having A Gap Between The Baseboard And Floor?
A gap between a baseboard and a floor seems like a fairly minor issue, and to a point, it is. It’s not going to cause your house to light on fire. However, it still can cause a slew of other issues. These problems below are why people should focus on fixing the baseboard and floor’s gap:
- It’s an aesthetic drag. Let’s face it, that gap doesn’t look good. If you’re looking to sell your home, it could remove some value.
- The gap makes it easy for pests to find a home you can’t reach. Do you have a roach problem? Maybe an ant problem? The gap between your baseboard and floor could be giving them a way to get inside your home or hide from you. Fixing it will make exterminator calls more effective.
- That gap can also be increasing your heating bills. The gap acts as a major loss for insulation, which means that you’ll pay more for heating and for your air conditioning.
What Can Cause A Floorboard And Baseboard Gap?
The most common reason for a gap to start showing itself between a floorboard and baseboard deals with the house’s age. As homes age, their joints and structures start to sink and settle. This causes baseboards and floors to sink unevenly, which in turn, causes gaps. However, that’s not the only reason why this could happen.
Water damage, poor construction practices, and even removing the carpeting in a room can also cause a gap to occur. As a result, it can be hard to figure out what caused it. Then again, the reasons why aren’t as important as making sure that the gap gets covered up.
Is Having A Gap Against Building Codes?
If you’re looking to sell your home, getting your gap covered up is a smart move due to the increase (or preservation) in the value it offers. If you don’t want to cover that gap, you don’t have to. It’s exceedingly rare to hear of a building code that mandates a gap to be covered up. So, you won’t have to worry about that.
How Much Does Fixing A Gap Between Your Baseboard And Floor Cost?
The cost of fixing your gap will vary based on the method that you use as well as the size of the room you’re looking to fix. It’s possible to fix an average-sized room with a couple tubes of caulk, which will cost around $40. If you choose to go for a more expensive route, the estimate that you get will mostly be based on the materials of your choosing.
How To Fix A Large Gap Between Your Baseboard And Floor
A large gap between your baseboard and floor may seem like a major hassle, but don’t panic. This can usually be fixed by someone who only has rudimentary home improvement skills. In fact, it’s a great DIY project for anyone who is just getting their toes dipped into the home improvement world.
Here are some of the easiest ways you can fix that gap…
- Use caulk to bridge the gap. If you’re looking for a remarkably quick fix, then just grab some caulk and use it to bridge the gap. This works well on noticeable gaps, but if they are excessively large, you may need to try another fix.
- Install additional molding between the baseboard and floor. Quarter rounds are the most common rounds to use, but it’s possible to get molding that is larger, such as shoe molding. To install it, you need to use wood glue to put it in its place. This method comes with the added perk of looking visually pleasing.
- Add insulation to the area. Insulation is one of the first things that’s lost due to the gap, and the easiest way to bring it back is by installing it near your baseboards. A quick fix method to accomplish this is to use weatherstripping—the same stuff you’d use around a window or door. If you are okay with less-than-stellar results, foam insulation can also work.
- Replace the baseboards. Using a putty knife to pry away the boards that are already there, then glue on a base that’s slightly larger than what you’re currently using. This will prevent you from needing to do a repaint, but also will cover the gaps pretty quickly. This is a good option if you are looking for a streamlined-looking solution.
- Consider using a specialty product. There are companies out there making specialty products specifically for covering gaps from a floorboard. One of the more common choices is Instatrim, which is designed to be a flexible, fast-installing trim that covers up the gap while providing a sanitary option.
How much space should be between the hardwood and the baseboard?
Since hardwood can expand and contract, a little leeway can be a good thing–to a point. Having around 1/2 inch of space between the two before molding is added is ideal. If no molding is there and you’re just adding a baseboard, then it’s best to try to keep things tight.
During a floor installation, what goes first, baseboard or flooring?
Ideally, you will remove any old baseboards you have before you install a new floor. Then, once the floor has been installed, you should install a brand new batch of baseboard.
Should you use grout underneath baseboards?
Baseboards and grout really don’t mix. If you are going to use anything, it’s better to use caulk. Grout is better for tiling and should not be used for projects involving hardwood. It can harm the quality of the wood.
What kind of caulk should you use to fix a gap between the baseboard and floorboard?
Not all caulks are alike, so you should pay attention to the type of caulk that you’re using. The best type of caulk for filling gaps between the baseboard and floorboard of a house is paintable latex silicone caulk.
Do baseboards need to be removed to install tile?
As much as it may seem like an easy task to install tile without removing baseboards, it’s generally accepted that baseboards should be removed prior to installing a new tile floor. Once the tile is installed, a new layer of baseboard can be installed on top.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.
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