What’s under your feet (or how you get around) is as important as anything when it comes to the house. That’s why this fall, we collaborated with The Home Depot on an A-to-Z guide that will give you the confidence to make the flooring choices you’ll love. Read the manual from A to Z here.
While it’s probably not the first detail you think of when embarking on a flooring project, crown molding – whether for walls, floors, windows, or doors – helps a room become the focal point. more refined version of herself. Shoe moldings and baseboards, two types of moldings, secure the perimeter of a room and help create a clean, finished look between the floor and the walls.
But there are a dizzying number of options out there that can lead to choice paralysis if you’re not careful. So here’s a quick guide to the role moldings play in flooring and how to select a style that’s right for you from The Home Depot collection. Read on now, and you’ll be less likely to worry about those final steps when the time comes.
Shoe molding: pay attention to the “expansion play”
Shoe molding is the simplest (and most basic) type of basic molding. It acts as a joint between the floor and a wall and covers the all-important “expansion space”: a small vertical space that allows the floor to inhale and exhale – relatively speaking – without bending against the wall and without get damaged. (For more information on hardwood floors, see letter H!)
Also referred to as the “base shoe” because of its position (you guessed it!) At the shoe level, this functional and flexible wood trim is found in most hard-floor rooms, whether it’s on the floor. Be it laminate, hardwood, tile or luxury vinyl.
In addition to filling in the expansion space and providing a buffer for any furniture that might collide with walls, shoe moldings fill in the spaces where the baseboard and floor don’t quite match. (And since baseboards can be quite ornate and sometimes lack straight lines on the bottom, this happens more often than you might think.)
Shoe molding, which is usually nailed into a baseboard using finishing nails and never in the wall, comes in a wide range of styles, shapes and sizes. Which style is best for you depends on the overall design aesthetic of your home. A simple, straightforward quarter-round base shoe (named because it looks like a quarter-cut off an ankle shank) will do the job, but the more ornate shapes of pre-cut shoe moldings are more stylish and can range from arts and crafts style at colonial and beyond. More importantly, the base shoe is taller than it is wide, ensuring it doesn’t protrude too far into the room while filling the expansion space. On average, it stands about ¾ “to 1” in height and ½ “in width.
The molding material also plays a big role in the overall finished look of a part. Molding in medium density fibreboard (MDF) is an inexpensive solid wood alternative that is primed, but needs to be painted (not stained) to give your space a complete look. It’s very flexible, so if there are any uneven spots on your baseboard, or even on the flooring itself, this might be a good choice.
Solid wood molding generally comes in two camps: pine (a softwood), which is relatively inexpensive and can be stained or painted, and hardwood (ash, oak, or walnut are common choices), which can also be stained or painted. If you’re feeling awesome, try an unexpected finish, like painting the trim to match the walls instead of painting it traditional white, or staining it to match the floors.
But whatever you choose, don’t forget to paint or stain your shoe molding (and trim of any type) before you install it.
Plinths: they bring drama
If shoe molding is the subtle element, discreetly adding a protective finishing touch to your space, baseboards are eye-catching that can completely change the feel of a room. The plinth serves a similar purpose to shoe molding (connecting the floor area to the wall), but it is much taller and often more decorative. Often working in tandem with shoe molding (but sometimes on their own), baseboards can not only add character to a room, but also help tie it in with the design identity of other parts of the home.
The most important factor to take into account with your baseboards is how they will feel in conjunction with other elements of the space. For example, if you have high ceilings in an older house and want to match that awe-inspiring feel, go for a plinth this high with a colonial design. Do you live in a more modern space? Plinths are all the rage, adding a polished look without drawing too much attention.