Flooring installers have used quarter rounds to finish floorings for years; unfortunately, many critics have argued that they make the baseboards look a bit thick. It has forced some homeowners to rethink the idea of using quarter rounds to finish their floor. So after thorough research, we created the following guide on how to install flooring without quarter round.
Quarter rounds are the convex moldings that hide the gap between the baseboard and the flooring. Unfortunately, quarter rounds can end up defacing your newly remodeled room if not done correctly. Luckily, there are numerous ways you can finish your floor without reducing the floor area or making the baseboards look thicker.
Just because it has been a norm for finishing our floors; doesn’t mean that you have to use it every time. In this article, we will show you how to install your flooring without quarter rounds. We’ll even show you what material you can use instead of quarter rounds.
Installing Flooring Without Quarter Round
Contractors have used quarter-round moldings to hide the gap between the floor and the baseboards for years. It means that they had to leave a small space between the edge of the flooring and the wall to account for any imperfection and then cover it with baseboards and quarter moldings. And this reduced the overall floor area of your house.
When done correctly, quarter rounds can help enhance the overall looks of your home. But if it differs in color, then it can make the entire design look cheaper. Fortunately, there are several ways you can finish your flooring without reducing the floor size of your living room.
It means installing the flooring without quarter rounds. And the good thing about this is that it works with a wide range of flooring options, including laminate and wooden flooring. But you have to be ready to remove the baseboards before you start installing your flooring.
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Install Flooring With Baseboards Only
Baseboards can help tie the style and theme of your home together. They help transition wall material to floor material and hide any imperfection of the flooring. And without baseboards, most houses would look poorly made and cheap.
Baseboards are a great addition to your living room, and they can help protect the wall from abrasion, kicks, and furniture while serving as a decorative molding. And if installed correctly, baseboards can help enhance the room décor.
So when installing your flooring material, you should do the following:
- Remove the Baseboards
Before you even start the installation process, you should remove the baseboards around the perimeter of your living room. Make sure you remove the air return duct or heating resistors that may mount on your floor. (3)
You can start from one end of the room and slide your pry bar between the wall and the baseboard. And gently remove it from the wall while working your way to the other corner of the room. Make sure you number every baseboard piece so that you may know where each piece goes when reinstalling them. (4)
Remove all the nails on the baseboards and vacuum or sweep the entire floor.
- Prepare Your Floor
For proper installation, your home’s sub-floor must be clean, smooth, and flat. Plus, you can install some flooring materials like laminate over an existing covering like sheet vinyl. If your floor has unevenness or damages, then you may have to remove it before installing a foam sheet for laminate flooring.
If you’re laying vinyl flooring on a concrete sub-floor, you should fill all the cracks with a concrete patcher. If you’re laying your flooring on a plywood sub-floor, then you should fill all the depressions with a floor-leveling compound of your choice.
- Test Fit Your Flooring Material
Instead of measuring a medium or small room, you can lay the planks down and see how they fit on the floor. Arrange the planks side-by-side by interlocking the side joints. And to avoid extra damages, you should avoid walking on the planks if the joints are not correctly interlocked.
Test-fit the first row of your planks along the wall’s length and make sure they fit perfectly. And if you have to make a few alterations, you should try and ensure that the planks are roughly the same size. To guarantee this, you can start arranging the planks from the center of the room, leaving a 0.25-inch gap between the walls and the flooring, which you will fill with spacers.
Cut your planks to size before you start installing them.
- Add an Underlayment
Most flooring manufacturers recommend that you should add a vapor barrier before installing their flooring material. When using laminate flooring, a vapor barrier can serve as a thermal barrier and help absorb sound while making it easier for you to walk. It can also help cover the minor bumps and gaps on the underlying floor.
- Install Your Flooring
Trim the tongue of the planks that will be on the edge of the walls using a circular saw, table saw, or a sharp utility knife. Lay your first row along the long wall with the trimmed edges facing the wall. You can start from the right and work towards the left side of the room.
Place the spacers between the wall and flooring to help maintain the gap while installing your flooring.
- Reinstall Your Basement Molding
Once you have finished installing the planks, you can remove the spacers from the room’s perimeter and install your baseboard moldings. Make sure the baseboard molding hides the spaces along the walls. You can even repaint your baseboard molding, making sure that it matches the flooring.
Use a Shoe Molding Instead of Quarter Rounds
Instead of finishing your floors using quarter rounds, you can give your walls more latitude by adding shoe moldings. Shoe moldings and quarter rounds are interchangeable, but the main difference between the two is that the shoe molding’s profile is a bit squat. Shoe molding can help hide any imperfection on the intersection between the floor and baseboard.
Since shoe molding is smaller and flexible, it can easily meander with your home’s floor and hide unevenness with more ease than the baseboards. It is the best finishing option available; all you have to do is follow the above floor installation procedure. And after you have reinstalled your baseboards, you can finish the floor using shoe moldings.
What Is the Function of a Quarter Round?
A quarter round is a strip of wood generally pressed between the floor and the wall to help cover the gap left between the flooring and the baseboard. The quarter round hovers over the gap without blocking the space that the contractor leaves.
What Can I Use Instead of Quarter Rounds?
If you don’t want to reinstall the quarter rounds, you can cover the gap with baseboards or/and shoe molding. When installed correctly, the baseboards can do the job perfectly. On the other hand, shoe molding is a perfect replacement for quarter rounds.
Do I Need Quarter Rounds for Vinyl Flooring?
Quarter-round molding works perfectly with challenging surface installations; therefore, it’s not the best option for vinyl flooring. Quarter rounds cover the space between the baseboard and flooring perfectly, and it sits evenly on hard surface flooring. Vinyl flooring works perfectly with baseboards.
Flooring materials tend to expand and contract with weather changes; therefore, contractors always leave a small gap between the wall and the flooring to cater to this issue. But this gap has to be covered to protect the floor’s edges. And if you don’t want to cover the space with quarter rounds, you can either use shoe moldings or baseboards.
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