GIMME SHELTER- New shoes: Quarter-round finishes floor job
Q: I had my old floors refinished, but they removed and discarded the shoe molding. How do I go about replacing the shoe molding?
A: Replacing your shoe molding is fairly simple, but you can mess it up if you don't take your time and do it right. Poorly cut joints and warped or cracked sections of molding can be unsightly and detract from the beauty of your newly finished floors.
First, you'll need to measure all your baseboards to determine how much shoe molding– also called quarter round– you'll need. If you're going to paint or stain the shoe molding, it's a good idea to do that before you get started. You'll also need a miter box and handsaw, a coping saw, a big box of 6-penny nails, a hammer and nail punch [also called a nail set], and some wood putty.
Now, just pick one section of baseboard and begin laying down the molding like train tracks. For longer sections, where you don't have a single piece of molding to fit, use your miter box and handsaw to make a mid joint run by cutting two opposite 45-degree angles and sliding them together. On the exposed ends near door casings, cut the end at a 45-degree angle away from the door casing. On outside corners, cut the end of the molding at a 45-degree angle that meets at the corner. On inside corners, cut the end of the molding at a 45-degree angle that meets away from the corner.
If your inside corners aren't perfectly square, which can be the case with older houses, you can also make a tighter joint by butting one piece against the opposing baseboard, cutting the end of the other piece at a 45-degree angle, and removing the curved back of the cut with your coping saw. Done carefully, the other piece should butt up neatly against the piece flush with the baseboard.
As you lay down the molding, nail it down at an angle into the floor with your 6-penny nails every two feet or so. If your floors are uneven, don't sink so many nails that it forces the molding to follow the contours of the floor. Keep the shoe molding level and it will give the illusion your floors and baseboard are on plane. Finally, just sink the nails with your nail punch and fill in the holes with wood putty.
PHOTO BY DAVE MCNAIR