Author Topic: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first? (Read 89120 times)

Matt

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Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« on: October 17, 2012, 02:15:05 PM »
I am replacing the trim in our home and will be putting in new carpet. The question I have is, do I lay the carpet first then replace the trim or do I remove the current trim now, lay new carpet, and then install the new trim?

twa2w

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2012, 02:58:35 PM »
Lay the carpet first, then the trim.

TomTX

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2012, 03:40:23 PM »
The "proper" method is:

1) Remove trim
2) Lay carpet
3) Replace trim
4) Caulk/touch up trim.

The commercial carpet-layer's lazy-ass method is

1) Lay carpet
2) Add quarter-round to base of existing trim
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Matt

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2012, 05:09:02 PM »
The "proper" method is:

1) Remove trim
2) Lay carpet
3) Replace trim
4) Caulk/touch up trim.

The commercial carpet-layer's lazy-ass method is

1) Lay carpet
2) Add quarter-round to base of existing trim

Thanks, that's what I was looking for. My brother in law is going to help me with this since he has a background in carpentry and he said the same thing. I questioned it because I was recently in son unfinished homes and noticed the trim was already installed and the carpet guy said that he always puts the trim first then the carpet.

englyn

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2012, 05:30:46 PM »
The advantage of trim then carpet is if the carpet wears out before the trim, you don't have to remove the trim when you replace the carpet.

Another Reader

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2012, 05:33:32 PM »
That's because the builders want the painters in once to spray the walls and do the baseboards. Otherwise the painters would have to come back and they would have to keep the enamel base board paint off the flooring. Which they won't.

paddedhat

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2012, 04:46:30 AM »
I'm not sure where some folks dream up their "Advice" ?

In particular, there are a few odd comments about the need to remove base when recarpeting. Fact is, 99% of the time, baseboard remains in place for the life of the building. There are applications (like student housing) where the carpet gets replaced a dozen times without disturbing the moldings. As for adding a molding, (it's actually shoe molding and designed for the application, not quarter round) it is used when installing hard flooring in remodeling. If you run into a situation where it is being used to cover poorly installed carpet, you need to fire the installer, not assume that it's some standard "lazy-assed" technique. Personally, I have never seen a shoe molding used in a carpet installation. It is frequently removed from a hardwood floor, when the hardwood is being carpeted over.

In the last twenty five years of building homes for a living, I have NEVER seen, or heard of, a professional builder, trim carpenter, or flooring contractor who waited until carpets were installed before trimming a house. It has nothing to do with some sort of desire to cut corners, or painting issues. The most common, and fastest way to do baseboard, door jambs and door casing is to sit everything tight on the subfloor. The drawback of this method is that the carpet ends up being cut flush with the edge of all the trim. I prefer to properly space the base, door casing and jambs off the floor to allow carpet to be tucked under everything. Typically this is done with small scraps of 1/2" thick material. When it comes to hard floors, IE, hardwood, laminate, tile, vinyl etc.... I install the flooring first, then trim tight to it. There are many legitimate reasons to do construction work in the proper sequence. If you care about doing quality work and not wasting time, you paint the walls, then install the hard floors, cabinetry, doors, and trim. Carpet layers should be the very last trade on the job.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2012, 05:02:29 AM by paddedhat »

gecko10x

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2012, 07:21:37 AM »
Carpet layers should be the very last trade on the job.

This makes no sense to me.

I agree with TomTX.

Another Reader

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2012, 09:24:54 AM »
Carpet is always the last trade in on new construction because the other trades will ruin the carpet. Something will get spilled or dropped, muddy boots will walk across it, or it will have to be pulled up to fix something else. Paddedhat is the expert, because he builds houses for a living.

Retrofit is a different matter. It depends on what the builder or last flooring person did and what material you are using.

paddedhat

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2012, 10:31:05 AM »
Carpet layers should be the very last trade on the job.

This makes no sense to me.

I agree with TomTX.


Well....... Mr. Tom's "advice" is to remove moldings as the first step. So try this, find a flooring contractor and schedule them to replace all your home carpeting. When they step out of the van in morning, tell them that YOU know how to do the job right, and that they WILL be tearing all the baseboard out of the home, and nailing it back up before they leave. I would love to be there to see how they react. I would expect something along the lines of, "are you high?" would be about as polite as it gets. All I can tell you is, with well into the eight figures worth of work in my rear view mirror, as I wind this career down, I work real hard at working smart. It's more profitable, less stressful, and a lot easier on the body. Consequently, tearing trim out for no logical reason, or installing carpet before the house is complete isn't gonna' happen. You're free to follow any internet expert you chose to. But I would maybe stop at the carpet store and run this by a real pro. Don't be too hurt if they giggle. Good luck.

gecko10x

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2012, 12:33:00 PM »
Well....... Mr. Tom's "advice" is to remove moldings as the first step. So try this, find a flooring contractor and schedule them to replace all your home carpeting. When they step out of the van in morning, tell them that YOU know how to do the job right, and that they WILL be tearing all the baseboard out of the home, and nailing it back up before they leave. I would love to be there to see how they react. I would expect something along the lines of, "are you high?" would be about as polite as it gets. All I can tell you is, with well into the eight figures worth of work in my rear view mirror, as I wind this career down, I work real hard at working smart. It's more profitable, less stressful, and a lot easier on the body. Consequently, tearing trim out for no logical reason, or installing carpet before the house is complete isn't gonna' happen. You're free to follow any internet expert you chose to. But I would maybe stop at the carpet store and run this by a real pro. Don't be too hurt if they giggle. Good luck.

I didn't really mean to say that you are wrong. And I'll modify my response to be: If I were re-doing the carpet in my house, I would attempt to remove the molding first, right or wrong.

The reason I feel this way is because nearly every time I've seen carpeting installed with molding on, one or both of the following happens: 1) the act of installing the carpet destroys the molding, or 2) it looks like shit afterward because of a poor fit between the new flooring and the old molding. That said, however, I've never been able to personally remove molding without damaging it and/or the walls. And I completely understand your position, I've just never seen it turn out well. Maybe Probably I've only experienced shitty installers.

Also: I most likely don't know what the ^*&$ I'm talking about. This is just my personal opinion.

Matt

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2012, 01:03:06 PM »
So I guess my question is a little different now since there are opposing views on the sequence and I've already removed the trim from the rooms that will be carpeted; what is the best practice from this state?

paddedhat

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2012, 01:17:03 PM »
I can see where having a few horrendous installations might lead you to believe that there is a better way. However, trying to pull baseboard isn't heading in the right direction. First, as you noted, pulling old trim without screwing up the trim, the wall, and your good mood, is almost impossible. The best trick, if you have to pull trim, is this. Take a sharp utility blade and score the joint at the top of the base, where it meets the wall. This will keep the paint on the base from tearing a big chunk of wall paint off. Now you need two 6" drywall taping knives, and not ones you are fond of, because they will look like shit, shortly. Drive and pry the first knive down behind the base. Now drive another one in front of it, so they are both at the same spot. Now you can drive a flat bar (wonderbar) between the knives and pop the base off the wall. The knives act as shields and keep the pry bar from hurting the wall or the base. The problems of doing this to a large job, like a whole house, are numerous. First, there will be damaged pieces of trim that need to be replaced. Second, in older houses, as in over 40-50 Y.O. the trim will be drier than a ghost fart, and a lot of it will splinter as it's being removed. Third, you may be involving yourself in a real mess, uneccessarily disturbing lead paint that didn't need to be touched. Forth, you created a whole bunch of work reinstalling the trim, and two complete sets of nail holes to fill. If the bottom line is that all this work and risk is to make the carpet install look better, you need to upgrade your installers. It has been twenty years since I had to have a "coming to Jesus" meeting with a carpet installer about shitty work. I use a family owned store, they know that they are only allowed to send their two best crews, and everybody knows there will be hell to pay if the job is not totally squared away. OTOH, if you stumble down to the big box store and order carpet from some pimple faced kid who is more worried about answering the next text on his phone, well that's called a self inflicted wound. Because they are going to send in the clowns when it's time to install. It's all they know. they pay peanuts, they get monkies, and you get screwed. If you ever end up with a job that has anything more than minor scuffing to the trim, or less than tight fits at any wall, doorway, or step, hold the check until they learn how to do the job correctly. wouldn't be the first time that an entire job was torn out, and redone, before the dog even got a chance to pee on it. Good luck.

paddedhat

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2012, 01:30:23 PM »
So I guess my question is a little different now since there are opposing views on the sequence and I've already removed the trim from the rooms that will be carpeted; what is the best practice from this state?
LOL, now you have gone too far. Carpet, nail the trim back as best you can, and take a blood oath to never speak of this again. Seriously, if the trim is real brittle, you may need to do a lot of pre-drilling if you are hand nailing it back it. Take a large channelock (water pump) pliers, and use it to pull the nails out through the back of the trim. Trim the most visible areas first, that way if you run out of material due to damage, you may be able to use a different style in a closet or smaller room. Watch for long nasty splinters, old trim can be a bitch. BTW, not to be too harsh on a few of the 'stashian bros. here, but next time, there are forums where professional tradesmen hang out, and they will answer your questions. Good luck.

Matt

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2012, 02:16:24 PM »
So I guess my question is a little different now since there are opposing views on the sequence and I've already removed the trim from the rooms that will be carpeted; what is the best practice from this state?
LOL, now you have gone too far. Carpet, nail the trim back as best you can, and take a blood oath to never speak of this again. Seriously, if the trim is real brittle, you may need to do a lot of pre-drilling if you are hand nailing it back it. Take a large channelock (water pump) pliers, and use it to pull the nails out through the back of the trim. Trim the most visible areas first, that way if you run out of material due to damage, you may be able to use a different style in a closet or smaller room. Watch for long nasty splinters, old trim can be a bitch. BTW, not to be too harsh on a few of the 'stashian bros. here, but next time, there are forums where professional tradesmen hang out, and they will answer your questions. Good luck.

LOL, it's all good. The plan in the first place was put new taller molding in place of the existing throughout the house (laminate and tile in all other areas) so I'm not worried about salvaging the old stuff. I just happened to be replacing the carpet in the bedrooms which lead me to the whole 'chicken or egg' question.

Also I will be borrowing air tools when we start putting the new stuff up.

paddedhat

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2012, 06:21:41 PM »
I use the 5-1/4" wide finger jointed, pre-primed stuff. It's priced right, and looks great when it's nicley painted and caulked. Have fun. I would still install the new stuff before carpet and space it off the floor 1/2". Nothing looks cleaner that a carpet job where all the base, door legs and jambs are held up a bit, and the carpet is tucked under. Good luck. BTW, be a good 'stash and shop hard for trim. My local lumber yard gives me prices that make the big box stores seem crazy. In some cases I pay less than half of the shelf price at Home Depot. Good luck.

TomTX

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2012, 09:26:26 PM »
*shrug*

Apparently I touched some professional pride.

I have had flooring replaced in two houses - but the existing trim was old, cheap and beat-up already (I've never owned a "new" house)

I pulled the trim myself.

I touched up paint.

Flooring guys did their thing (hey, at $0.99/sq foot for labor, it's not worth doing tiling myself, and they did an excellent job.)

I then installed new trim.

It bugs me that the part of my house which was tiled previously, had the trim TILED IN PLACE. The bottom edge of the trim is apparently flush with the slab, and they just grouted the tile to it.
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paddedhat

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2012, 01:35:28 PM »
*shrug*

Apparently I touched some professional pride.

It bugs me that the part of my house which was tiled previously, had the trim TILED IN PLACE. The bottom edge of the trim is apparently flush with the slab, and they just grouted the tile to it.


Swing and a miss, my friend. Pride has nothing to do with it. I have issues with anybody wasting time, or doing things in a less than professional manner, because they decided to follow well meaning, but incorrect, advice offered by other amateuers that believe that they are experienced enough to make incorrect statements about how a task should be accomplished. Building and remodeling are both extremely complex processes that we, as a society, tend to be relatively ignorant of. Curiously, we tend to quite dismissive of those that actually do the work, or manage the process. Amateuers and DIYers watch the "flip this house" shit on TV to validate their perception that it's all a breeze and there is little in the way of skill, experience or knowledge required. Professionals watch to see the arrogant and clueless slowly roast as they come face to face with their dwindling savings and painfully absent skill set. Like a lot of pros, I have no issue offering my experience. take it or leave it. If I see somebody passionately advocating something that's just plain stupid, I'm going to respond. A lot of folks get themselves hurt, financially, when it comes time to reap the rewards of their efforts, because their finished product is inferior to the work of real craftsmen. You may have taken a look at MMM's pics. of his rehab work. Fact is, there are damn few that dabble in the world of flipping, rehabbing, etc..... that do that quality of work.

I flipped a place recently, because it was an estate property, and there was too much to be left on the table by dumping it, "as is". A month of work and $7K, netted an additional $37K in my pocket. The most interesting part of the process was the Realtor's comments before and after the flip. She was luke warm to the idea, and wanted to list the place immediately. After the flip she was slack jawed during the walk thru. The issue? She flat out stated that she has absolutely no faith in anybody who claims to be capable of doing a fast roll over flip. She stated that the vast majority of those claiming to be in the business either take 10X longer than they claim they will, or do absolute shit work, making a house real tough to sell. From her standpoint, it's tough to watch a lovely older home become a tough sell because all the new cosmetics look like shit, with poor quality workmanship that makes a potential buyer wonder what might be hidden behind the wavy tile joints, sloppy painting, and the crooked trim?

Your comment about your tile work illustrates my point. A pro pulls the base and undercuts the jambs before laying the new tile substrate, and tile. A pro also installs carpet properly and neatly, without tearing all the base out of the house, as there is no need to. A pro has no need to try to hide shit work behind quarter round. So, you are correct about professional pride. It's in the finished job, not in the advice thread. Good luck.

Matt

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2012, 02:27:18 PM »
ehh, I guess there are different techniques that are arguable. For instance these excerpts from contractortalk:

This...
Good - baseboards first, set on sub-floor - pad and carpet but to baseboards. (best method for rentals)

Better - baseboards first, set 3/8 above subfloor or whatever required depending on carpet and pad, carpet tucked under base when installed.

Best - carpet installed first, base applied last over carpet for absolute best look.

and this...
We install 1000 + yards of carpet a day, and Mike's insight is spot on IMO.

Plus, walls and base can and do get scratched during carpet installation, so install your base last for best results.

then there is this...
Never even thought of doing base over carpet by deliberate choice!

Absolutely stunned to see so many who would even consider it normal?



TomTX

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2012, 05:50:44 PM »

Your comment about your tile work illustrates my point. A pro pulls the base and undercuts the jambs before laying the new tile substrate, and tile. A pro also installs carpet properly and neatly, without tearing all the base out of the house, as there is no need to. A pro has no need to try to hide shit work behind quarter round. So, you are correct about professional pride. It's in the finished job, not in the advice thread. Good luck.

I guess I've never seen a pro do the work around trim. I always see a shit job hidden behind quarter round, or very sloppy undercutting, or tiling 1/2" up the trim.

I'm pretty OCD about getting it finished right, particularly with painting.
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paddedhat

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Re: Baseboards/Trim and Carpet - Which one comes first?
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2012, 04:32:48 AM »
There is an interesting technical issue with baseboard on modern construction that I would be willing to bet that most DIYers never thought about, until the installation starts looking like shit, as you're nailing it up. Most material is 3-1/4" tall. most base gets air nailed to the bottom of 1/2" sheetrock, and most sheetrock is installed with the tapered edges run horizontally. Typical instructions call for two #6D finish nails per stud in the flat face of the material to attach it to the rock. If done this way, you will end up with a shit job, as the base will tilt into the rock taper and leave a big, ugly gap at the top. Professional trimmers that I hire, do it differently. they place the material on the proper spacer blocks (if it gets carpet), locate the studs, then toe-nail the base to the studs. They use one #8D nail per stud. It is placed high up on the base, typically in the decorative routing at the top (the ogee of the bed mold if you're a real geek about this) This technique allows the material to suck tight to the wall, and stay tight, ABOVE the tapered rock edge. This technique involves a great deal of downward pressure on the gun as you pin the base tightly to the wall. Frequently you have to take a wonderbar, and pry a bit of upward pressure on the bottom of the board to free up your spacer blocks, to remove them. Now IMHO, it's absolutely impossible to do this on soft carpet and pad, and get a top quality job. Obviously, I haven't tried, just as I wouldn't listen to somebody advocating the installation of the interior doors before the sheetrock goes up. Naturally, if you are installing taller base, like 5-1/4" or 1" x 6" stock, you have enough wall contact above the taper, and you can face nail the material without issue.

Another issue is deciding you are going to paint a project. I use a few painters that have some mind blowing skill. Like being able to cut a dead straight line in, for 15-20 feet, without stopping, and doing it a few hundred times per house. They use a whole set of techniques that are honed over years of practice, and I doubt that I would ever master. A new home interior goes like this.

The house is rocked, taped, spackled, and finish sanded.
The tiled floor areas are covered with a layer of red rosin paper, stapled down, edges taped with duct tape.
Except for tiled areas, ALL trim and doors are fully installed.
They caulk the edges of all trim, tight to the sheetrock.
After properly taping off and covering windows, and removing the interior doors, they spray and roll the paint on the walls. At this pointed the trim already had a factory coat of primer, and the paint they use (Sherwin-Williams) is listed as a suitable primer and top coat for walls and trim. After clean-up, they them hand paint all the trim and cut in all the edges where the trim meets the sheetrock. I then do the tile work and install the missing trim, tight over the tile. The doors are spray painted and reinstalled. The carpet is installed last, and there is no additional trim used to cover any gaps in any flooring. The work is so nice that I have had another paint contractor accuse me of lying about the price, and the fact that the trim was all hand painted as a last step. The entire interior is seemless, without a visible joint anywhere. This may be an unusual process in many areas of the country, but I'm a few hours out of NYC, and it is apparently the old school way of doing the work, from back in the day when most painters were Greek, and many never bothered to learn English. The interesting part is that is can be extremely fast and efficient.

I guess it truely is whatever works for you, and however it's done in your local area. But there is a method to my madness, and I'll put the work of my guys up against anybody, at any price bracket of new construction. Good luck.