"Baseboard and Batten" in a Day

Jim Cox
by Jim Cox
7 Materials
8 Hours

Updating my living room to a wider baseboard and adding some wall trim while I'm at it.

Here's the before shot of my 'TV wall' in the living room. My big fireplace is outside the shot to the right. One too many people called it a 'man cave' due to the color, so I decided to brighten it up a bit. This old wall is paneling, so I had to take down all the 1/4-round panel trim. I had previously mudded the seams and lines prior to the gray color. Hopefully the new trim going in will hide the irregular edges.

I painted all of the wall and trim before assembly, so I'd have less chance to miss places. Here's 1" quick release tape on top of the old baseboard and it's walnut stain (yuk). I pull the disposable dropcloth up under the tape. this is fast and easy.

Here's the wall after I painted it. I used an electric spraygun, which wasn't really faster, but one solid coat and I'm done. Note the 'Evil Outlet' (circled) up higher on the right side. It was there when I bought the house. It's a junction so I can't just remove it and fill. It will affect my progress, so I'm pointing it out now.

Rip off the old baseboards. This is a younger man's job for sure.

Sand, primer, and paint all of the trim out in the garage. Much easier to paint on waist high sawhorses, then down on the floor or up against the ceiling

I marked my studs in the wall with a small piece of blue tape. I put one nail partially into the 1x6 baseboard at the far end and then leveled before the second nail. These baseboards will ride about 3/8" higher so I can hide cables under them.

After you're happy with the location, use a nail set to put the nail heads below the surface....

...and fill the holes with drywall compound. Sand and repaint as necessary. Here you can see I've already put a 1x4 down the right side of the wall.

After I had a 1x4 on each side and two all the way across the top, it was time to lay out for the next trim. I measured the SPACE between the sideboards, and divided by three. I then marked the distance, and added some blue tape on either side and measured 3" out. Once the vertical 1x4s are in place I won't be able to see my mark, so that's why I added the other two. I measured about eye level, attached a board, and then used my bubble level to make sure the board was vertical.

Here's where that evil outlet came in. I had to put the first horizontal above it, and then chose to center the rest with the space left. Some of you know I hate unsymettrical stuff, but no choice this time. I had 59 1/2" between this lower horizontal and the ceiling trim. I subtracted the 3 1/2" of the 1x4 and divided by two. This left 28" above the lower horizontal board, and 28" below the ceiling trim. It was easier for me to put in the vertical boards first (they are easier to hold when you're working solo!)

Here's all four vertical boards, the full horrizontal board above the evil outlet, and the first upper horizontal board far-right. Only two to go. These came out around 5' each. I bought 1x4s 6' long to make it easier to install, vs buying 8' boards and having to splice here and there.

And finally, cleaned up with seasonal decorations in place. Holler if you have questions, and please comment if you have an idea or tip that will make this easier for someone else.

(Now to clean up all the clutter on the mantle...)

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  • Gail Gail on Dec 01, 2019

    Excellent tutorial. Good explanation and pictures to go with. Doable. So i know it is not a outlet, it's a junction box, but can you not cover it with wall. Can junction boxes not be behind walls? Aren't they in attics etc? Inquiring mind......

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