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TOPIC: Baseboards and expansion gaps

Baseboards and expansion gaps 02 Jul 2014 12:03 #10837

Hi, Me again.

I am in Los Angeles, inland and getting ready to install 3/4" pre-finished white oak in mid July.

I really do not want to remove the baseboard because they are completely attached to the house. Even the original floor which I am tearing out was installed after the baseboards. Tearing these out will create a lot of headache with the plaster and paint, etc.

1. So, will just using quarter rounds be enough to hide the expansion gap?

2. If I am installing in the summer, do I need as much expansion gap because if anything I should expect the wood to contract?

3. Is los angeles, as susceptible to expansion and contraction? I have no heating or cooling in my house.

I do not want to account for the ridiculous 3/4" expansion, only to have my floors contract and expose gaps near the quarter round. By having 3/4, you need to be covered 1.5" total. That is too much for me who does not want to remove and reinstall baseboards.

Thanks for your input.

Baseboards and expansion gaps 02 Jul 2014 14:46 #10839

  • JIMMIEM
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Depends on the width of the shoe molding (quarter round). You could undercut the baseboards to provide some of the expansion gap. Rent an undercut saw or you can use an oscillating multi tool to do the undercut.
Flooring should be acclimated to the midrange (annual average) moisture content of your location. That way expansion and contraction will be minimal throughout the year. Provide whatever expansion gap your flooring manufacturer recommends no matter what time of year you do the install. LA has moisturer content swings from 8% to 13% so acclimate to 11%. 3/4" on the walls parallel to the flooring. Expansion toward the walls at the ends of the rows is negligible. Removing baseboards is usuallly not that difficult. They are usually attached with finish nails. Unless there is something different about your baseboards.....try one and see how it goes....but if you're ok with the look of the shoe molding then go that route.

Baseboards and expansion gaps 02 Jul 2014 15:20 #10841

Thanks for the response. Sounds like you are saying that even though I am installing in the middle of summer, I should account for the wood to expand even more so, by leaving the max expansion gap?

Baseboards and expansion gaps 02 Jul 2014 16:33 #10842

  • tdmac
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Please Note: Base shoe is 1/2" wide x 3/4" tall and is the original industry standard!! ....Quarter round is 3/4"x 3/4" , a quarter of a circle, or 1/2 x 1/2" . these are NOT base shoe!

Baseboards and expansion gaps 02 Jul 2014 17:43 #10844

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Acclimate the flooring to the MC midpoint for your location. Leave the recommended (3/4") expansion gap and the floor should be ok in all seasons. If you install it at max mc then you'll have gaps when the flooring shrinks in low humidity season. The

TDMAC....thank you for the quarter round/base shoe clarification.

Baseboards and expansion gaps 02 Jul 2014 18:34 #10845

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10-4 Jimmiem

Baseboards and expansion gaps 04 Jul 2014 12:19 #10874

  • dbwatson
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ohal3000,

Rule of thumb for wood floor expansion - expansion gap should equal thickness of flooring.

I don't believe that Tom likes quarter round for covering the expansion gap.

Baseboards and expansion gaps 04 Jul 2014 13:00 #10876

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DB, agreed, quarter round is UGLY:whack:. If the climate demands that 3/4" expansion gap, then just cut the sheet rock up 1" use a 5/8" thick base & then base shoe. that will give a 2-1/8" wide expansion gap! . Many folks and pro's don't thing about the sheet rock.;) That is an easy gift for extra expansion :applause: Now in our climate we rarely have an expansion situation!! shrinkage in our summers of 18% rh& maybe 60% in the winter unless the fog sets for a few weeks.

Baseboards and expansion gaps 05 Jul 2014 00:10 #10878

Sanding next to a quarter round can easily damage it when the edger wheel that rides against the quarter round allows the sanding disc to make a groove at the floor line.
A base shoe with a flat edge keeps the spacing so the disc doesn't make a groove.
Even if it is pretty, it's the wrong way to trim a floor that will need to be sanded.
Pete
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