Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
Casing and baseboards are sometimes confused in their differences as well as their similarities. When remodeling, they easily get confused because of their appearance. They both hold decorative qualities and can be made of similar materials.
Casings and baseboards are both used as transitional pieces to conceal gaps at joints with wall surfaces. The main difference is that casings are used at window and door openings, while baseboards are used at the junction with the floor. There are also differences in the size between casings and baseboards. Casings are slighting thicker than base molding.
Whether you are new at home renovations or remodeling, don’t worry because there are plenty of resources and alternative methods to using casings and baseboards. Casings and baseboards can be interchangeable, but understanding the difference will help you prepare and get you exactly what you are looking for in your project!
The Difference Between Casing and Baseboards
If you accidentally use casing in place of baseboards, your project is not ruined. Typically there are some insider details when choosing a baseboard since there are some differences.
Baseboards should be already two inches taller than any casing molds are wide. However, the baseboard should be about an 1/8th inch thinner than casings, so when the casing and baseboard meet, it makes for a nice connection.
For instance, when the baseboard is not thinner than the casing, you will have to cut the casing, so the end of the baseboard creates a shadow line at the joint connection.
Baseboards are also commonly known as base molding. The purpose of a baseboard or base molding is to amplify the decor and beautify your home. They conceal the joining areas between the wall and the floor.
All they do is give the room that extra finished look hiding any blemishes. A small detail can go a long way with just a simple base molding.
Materials Baseboards Are Made From
Baseboard are typically made from small strips of wood, but not limited to fiberboard, polyurethane, and also materials that can stretch around the perimeter of the room. Baseboards cover the areas and spaces that the floor joint could not cover as well as in front of the doorways.
Prices of these baseboards can vary depending on the designs and make of the material used for the molding. The more detail to the design or intriguing patterns will cost more money. However, it is your preference. Maybe you enjoy a laid back classic look, or you prefer a more elegant design.
The other type of molding is case molding. The confusion, whether it is similar to base molding is that they can be used in home improvements. Case Moldings are also known as “trim.” This molding is used to border the outside of the doors and windows. They are known to highlight the border of doors and windows.
Materials Case Molding Are Made From
Case molding is also made from materials baseboards that are made of: wood, polyurethane, or fiberboard. The most popular product for casing is wood. Wood gives a more classic style that makes the room feel timeless.
The only downfall to wood products is that it can attract termites. The other products, microfiber, and polyurethane are not as classic looking as wood, but they do not provide the issues like wood does with termites.
Pricing for these materials are more costly than wood, but they can be painted and give a wrap resistant texture. The more detailed the design on any of these materials for molding will cost more in general.
Alternatives to using baseboards are materials called base blocks. Base blocks are thicker than casing but taller than baseboards.
How to Choose the Right Size Molding
When deciding on a size of molding and particular style, it comes down to three factors:
- Personal preference
- Size of the room
- Height of ceiling
There are resources that can help you choose the best size for your home.
Some of those resources include google engines and home project stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot. The great thing about these resources is there are videos online for step by step installation of baseboards. If you prefer to talk to an experienced professional, online resources can help you find a professional that installs molding to save you the hassle and confusion.
Additionally, you could also speak to a home improvement representative for questions regarding size baseboards or casing you may need specific to your project’s needs.
Tools Required to Successfully Complete a Casing or Baseboard Style Project
Every home project requires a certain set of materials and tools from start to finish. All of these tools play an important role when installing baseboards or casing. The tools needed for installing baseboards and or casings include:
● Miter Box, Saw or Back Saw
● Coping Saw
● Finishing Nails
● Finishing Nailer
● Nail Set
Miter and Back Saw
The saws such as the miter and backsaw allow for the perfect angled cuts. The coping saw has a thin blade that allows you to get that perfect curve at the end of the molding to fit flush against the other pieces.
Finishing Nails, Nail set and Finishing Nailer
If you are utilizing a finishing nailer, you will not be needing a hammer. Just keep in mind that spring actions staplers should not be used because they can damage the molding.
Another important tip includes that finishing nails can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The more commonly used size or finishing nails are anywhere from an inch and a quarter to an inch and a half. If the molding will be exposed to outdoor conditions, make sure to use stainless steel for the best results.
A nail set is used for the purpose of driving the nails below the wood surface without damaging the molding.
Other Items to Consider Having on Hand
Other items you may want to include during your home project safety goggles, dust mask, and gloves. Safety goggles may seem obvious, but sometimes they get overlooked when doing home projects. Don’t let your ego get in the way. It is always neat to take safety precautions and protect your eyes, hands, and even your health. Without taking the necessary precautions,
Additional Steps After Molding Installation
If you are curious about what is next after you installed your baseboards, maybe you would like to know that painting or staining is applicable. You can paint or stain them to pop or draw attention to the door or go with a classic stain look to make it blend well.
Supplies for Painting or Staining
When it comes to painting or standing molding, there are a few supplies you will need in addition to the installation of molding prep. Those supplies include:
● Drop cloth
● Paint or stain
● Paint brush
● Wood putty
Dropcloth to obviously catch any paint or stain from making contact on your floor in case any substance drips. Sandpaper to smooth all the material for a clean paint job and rags to clean up and paint or stain. A paintbrush is a vital tool here and wood putty to fill and spaces or blemishes to make for a clean surface.
In Summary: Casing and Baseboards
When questioning the difference between casing and baseboards for your home projects, remember it is okay if you already completed the projects and used one instead of the other. Prior beginning tour project, a simple way to remember the difference ultimately comes down to the size difference between the two.
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