Most carpeted rooms have a border around the walls made from baseboards or tiles. The baseboards often match or contrast the carpet’s color and can improve the room’s aesthetics. However, installing baseboards with carpets requires precision, so do you really need baseboards if you have carpet?
You need to install baseboards even if you have carpets, as the baseboards protect the wall when vacuuming. They also keep the carpet in place and prevent it from getting damaged around the edges.
This article will explain why you need to have baseboards with floor carpets and the benefits that baseboards have for the carpets and walls. I’ll also explain how to make baseboards fit in with your interior decor and whether they should be installed before or after the carpet.
Why You Should Have Baseboards With Floor Carpets
While some interior design styles have rooms without baseboards, it’s still advisable to install them in carpeted rooms. Baseboards essentially provide a border between your room’s floor and the wall and have many benefits. When installed properly, they can enhance a room’s interior design.
The main reason you should have baseboards installed, even if you have carpets, is for safety. The baseboards will provide a layer of protection between the carpet and the wall and prevent damage to the wall from vacuuming. Without baseboards, the wall paint at the carpet’s edges will slowly chip away, and you’ll need to repaint the wall more often.
Most rooms will already have baseboards installed, and you can install the carpet underneath them. However, it’s often best to install new baseboards when adding floor carpets to a room, as you may need to paint the baseboard to match the carpet’s color.
While you could take extra care when vacuuming if your room doesn’t have baseboards, it’s not always easy to do so. You may also leave the edges of the carpet to avoid the wall paint, resulting in a dirt build-up.
So, if you’re installing floor carpets in a room, make sure the room has complementing baseboards to protect the wall.
When You Don’t Need Baseboards With Carpets
While baseboards help protect the walls in carpeted rooms, there are some instances when you don’t need to have them. Many modern homes don’t have baseboards, which may seem out of place if you only have them in certain rooms.
You don’t need to have baseboards if you have a tiled border around the walls or if the walls are tiled. Unlike paint, tiles won’t get damaged, so you can vacuum around the carpet’s edges without worrying about affecting the wall. Tiles are also more permanent unlike paint, which needs to be repainted after a few years.
In rooms with tiled flooring, you can install a tiled border around the wall to protect the paint. This border often looks better than one made from baseboards and can fit in with your home design if you have similar tiling in other rooms.
So, if you already have a tiled border protecting the wall, there’s no need to install baseboards, even if the room has carpets. The same goes for a room where a part of or the entire wall is tiled.
Other Benefits of Baseboards
Apart from protecting your walls from getting damaged when you’re vacuuming, baseboards have many other benefits. They’re also beneficial on wooden and tiled floors, can hide defective walls, and can enhance the room’s aesthetics.
Here are some of the benefits of baseboards:
They Protect the Wall From Damage
While walls in carpeted rooms are at risk from damage by vacuum cleaners, walls in rooms with wooden or tiled floors are also at risk of getting damaged. The wall can get damaged when the floors are mopped or if water spills on the floor.
Baseboards protect the part of the wall that’s most likely to get damaged by spills and water, which is why you’ll see them in most houses.
Baseboards Protect Hardwood Flooring
Wooden flooring can expand and contract when exposed to water or moisture. When you install a baseboard around the edges of the floors, you’ll protect them from getting damaged when they expand. The baseboard edges give the hardwood flooring space to expand and contract without going out of place.
Baseboards Enhance Your Home’s Interior Design
While baseboards have many practical uses and are sometimes a necessity, they’re also beneficial for enhancing your home’s interior design. They come in multiple designs, and you can paint them any color to match or contrast the wall’s color.
Baseboards Hide Wall Defects
If your walls aren’t perfectly straight, you can use baseboards to make them look straight. While you can’t trim the wall down to straighten it, you can adjust the width of the baseboards in the room to match the wall’s lining. While it may seem like a small addition, it can significantly improve your home’s value.
How To Install Baseboards With Carpets
Installing baseboards with carpets is slightly complicated as you’ll have to ensure that the carpet fits perfectly under the small gap between the baseboard and the floor. It’s much easier if you’re installing baseboards and the carpet together. However, if the room already has baseboards, you’ll have to adjust them to match the thickness of the carpet.
When installing baseboards with floor carpets, you’ll have to follow different installation techniques depending on whether you’re installing the baseboards before or after the carpets. Let’s look at what you should do in each case:
When Installing the Baseboards Before the Carpet
If you’re installing the baseboards before the carpet, you’ll have to leave a gap between the baseboard and floor so that the carpet can be attached to the trim strips. You’ll have to be very careful when installing the carpet in such cases, as the baseboard will get damaged if you push the carpet too hard against it.
When Installing the Baseboards After the Carpet
When installing the baseboards after the carpet, you’ll have to take care not to damage the carpet. Most interior designers recommend installing baseboards before the carpet to reduce the risk of spilling paint or caulk on the carpet. However, if you don’t have much choice, you should paint the baseboards before installing them to avoid accidental spills.
If the Room Already Has Baseboards
If the room already has baseboards installed, there’s no need to remove them when installing the carpet (depending on the carpet’s thickness). Simply roll the carpet under the edge of the baseboard trim. If there’s not enough space, you can shorten the baseboards slightly, but you’ll need a carpenter to do so.
How To Make Baseboards More Appealing
Baseboards are naturally designed to give a neat look to rooms, but you can do much more with them. You can paint the baseboards to provide contrast or match them with the carpet or wall color. You can also consider installing stone or tiles instead of wooden baseboards.
However, the most cost-effective way to make baseboards more appealing is to paint them. When painting baseboards, sand them down smoothly to prevent flaws from showing. If you can, get primed baseboards, as they’re easier to paint and don’t require sanding.
Also, try to use oil-based paints on the baseboards to prevent water damage. Oil-based paints are also easier to clean and last longer than water-based ones. Lastly, take special care to clean the baseboards before painting for a smoother finish.
While most people prefer to match the baseboard with the floor or carpet’s color, you can try different combinations to match other home decor items.
Here are some of the best paints for wood baseboards:
- Rust-Oleum 1974730 Painter’s Touch Latex Paint. Made for all types of wood surfaces, this premium latex paint will give your baseboards a semi-gloss finish.
- THE ONE Paint & Primer. Made for all types of wooden surfaces, this paint and primer combination can be used both indoors and outdoors and is also waterproof.
- Majic Paints Interior/Exterior Satin Paint. This all-purpose paint can be used on various surfaces and is ideal for refurbishing baseboards and other wooden furniture.
When To Replace a Room’s Baseboards
Baseboards will usually last around five years before they need to be repainted or polished. As long as the wood is in good shape, you don’t need to replace the baseboards. However, moisture and water may damage the baseboards over time, and you’ll have to replace them eventually.
You’ll need to replace a room’s baseboards when:
- The wood becomes soft and damp.
- The baseboards are cracking and can’t hold their original shape.
- You’ve repainted the baseboards several times, and flaws have become more visible.
- The baseboards have gone out of fashion, and you want to replace them with a new design or different material.
Baseboards not only add to the aesthetic appeal of interior decor but are also effective in protecting the wall from damage. While you won’t have to worry about water damage if you have carpets, you’ll still need baseboards to protect the wall when vacuuming.
So, unless you have tiled walls, it’s best to use baseboards with carpeted floors.