After installing the baseboard moldings, it’s common to finish off with a small piece of molding that covers the gap between the floor and the bottom of the baseboards.
You can use one of 2 types of moldings: a shoe molding (also known as a base shoe or 1/8-round molding) or a quarter-round molding.
The two look pretty similar but the quarter-round is usually larger, as it’s a full one-quarter of a round dowel, and it’s the one we will be addressing in this article.
A quarter-round is a long trim of flexible lengths of wood of oak, hemlock, pine, MDF, or even polystyrene.
It gets this name because of the fact that when you look at it from the end, it appears to be a full one-quarter of a full circle with both flat faces the same width.
It works great for trim purposes where you’ve replaced your carpeted floors with tiles, woods, laminates or even concrete and you need something to cover up the gap between the baseboards and the replacement floor.
It’s a great alternative for removing and re-hanging your baseboards.
1. Measure the length of your room
- To start off well-prepared, make sure to carefully measure alongside the base of the walls where you want to attach the molding with a measuring tape and a pencil.
- This helps you estimate the total length you would need for the room(s) you’re working on.
- Make sure to leave an extra foot or two for any possible errors and to use it as scraps to get more accurate angles.
2. Pre-finish the trim
- It would serve you well to finish the long trim pieces before you measure, cut, and install them.
- You can paint it or apply stain and varnish. This would make the process easier than if you wait until you nail the pieces in place.
- Buy stain-grade hardwood molding that is the same kind as your baseboards or floors.
- Once the stain has dried, coat the piece with varnish and let it dry before you install it.
1. Measure the quarter round molding
- After you’ve prepared well, start measuring the length of each quarter round molding.
- Keep these measurements on the back side of the molding.
- Start from an inside or outside corner at the ends of each room.
- It’s better to mark each piece of molding with a straight line using a tri-square.
- Mark a vertical line down the sides of the extra piece of the wood.
- This vertical line helps you determine which side of the line should be cut.
2. Cutting the quarter round molding
- Begin by positioning one of the ends of the molding inside your miter box, in the same manner, it would be installed through the base of the walls.
- Hold the mold securely against the miter box’s wall, align your hand saw with the vertical lines and marks you left during the previous step.
- Make sure the rounded edge is facing up and forward.
- As you make the cut, don’t forget to cut on the sides along with the vertical line while sitting outside this line so that your measurement is as accurate as possible.
- Keeping your thumbnail right on the line and dragging your handsaw towards you so that you start with your first cut.
- Make your way cautiously and slowly up until you get a deeper groove. This helps you finish the cut in a quicker way.
3. Move along the alignment angles
- When you finish the first cut, use the scrap piece of the molding to secure the next piece you’re going to attach to it in order to have an appropriate angle.
- To get this, set the extent of your molding above the scrap piece and mark a line on it.
- This line should align with the angle of the first length. Then, cut the scrap onto the scrap until the marked line.
- Place both the pieces on your floor and check that the length and scrap pieces match exactly.
- If they do, use the scrap molding to cut the next attaching length of your molding.
Minimizing the Installation Time
- Using an electric miter saw makes your cuts easier but leaves you with a huge amount of chipping after the cutting process.
- The cuts you required for a quarter round molding aren’t that many, using a miter box with a miter hand saw would give you the same precise results but with a smaller mess to clean.
- Using an air compressor and a pin nailer would make the process much easier.
Home trim projects typically require long lengths of quarter round to complete.
When you’re cutting a long piece of quarter round, having a partner to help you would be very useful.
They can hold one end of the quarter round to stop it from moving during the cut or falling after.
Using a workbench or a clamp would be helpful in keeping your quarter round stable with no wiggling and movement.
The fact that you’re using a power tool means you should be extra cautious and pay attention.
Make sure you’re familiar with the tool before you start making cuts. Use it on small scrap parts and read the user manual thoroughly.
Wear ear protection, eye protection, and work gloves.
Learning how to cut a quarter round with a miter saw isn’t a complicated process, it just requires some basic knowledge of the tool and how to use it.
Straight cuts are a breeze. Corner cuts may be a bit harder but using the 45-degree angle cuts would render them easy.