When we refinish or install a hardwood floor, we replace the baseboard molding. Baseboard molding installations are finished off with a small piece of molding that covers the gap between the bottom of the baseboards and the floor. There are two types of molding that can be used – base shoe or quarter round. So what’s the difference?
Both Types of Molding Are Very Similar
Base shoe and quarter round are almost identical. In some situations, they can be used interchangeably, but they both have their own specific uses as well.
Quarter round (shown in two sizes in the picture on the left and the right) is exactly as its name implies, one quarter of a round dowel. It has a 90° angle on the backside with a perfect quarter radius on the side that shows. The quarter round comes in a variety of sizes, which makes it versatile enough for a wide range of applications, as well as an ideal solution for eliminating the gap between trim and moldings and to fill corners.
Base shoe also has a 90-degree angle on the backside, but the front of base shoe is slightly more square and does not follow the radius of a circle like the quarter round does.
Does the Base Shoe Need to Be Removed before Refinishing or Installing a Wood Floor?
Yes, it should. There are a couple of reasons why you should remove the base shoe before installing a new floor. It is most likely that the existing base shoe molding has been in place for quite some time, so it may be dented or damaged in places. Plus it probably has several layers of paint on it from over the years. More importantly, however, removing the base shoe will allow you to butt the new flooring up to the wall. If we are refinishing a floor, and the base shoe is left in place, it will prevent us from getting the sander along the edge of the existing floor.
Should the Base Shoe Match the Trim Color or the Floor Color?
This is really a matter of preference. Traditionally speaking, the base shoe color should match the trim color, however, the choice is ultimately up to the homeowner. We suggest matching with your trim color to add contrast and emphasize the beautiful stain color of your hardwood floors.
Related Read: Everything You Need to Consider When Choosing a Stain Color for Your Hardwood Floors
Do I Really Need Baseboard Molding?
One of the most common questions people ask is if they really need the base shoe, or if it’s just an add on. The answer is a simple yes. Without it, there is typically a gap between the trim and flooring, which is not only unattractive but makes it extremely easy for dirt and debris to build up under the base trim. At SVB, we give you your choice – you can remove the existing shoe base on your own, purchase pre-primed replacements from SVB, stain it, and install it yourself. Or you can leave this tedious task up to us. We will remove the existing shoe base, and stain and install the new base shoe.