Are you wondering if a baseboard is really necessary? Should you take the time to replace the old baseboard or install a new baseboard? In this guide, we’ll talk about why baseboard is so important to the overall look and health of your wall.
Baseboard is necessary for several reasons. Baseboard helps frame a wall and makes it pleasing to the eye. Baseboard also helps hide imperfections in the base of the wall. Finally, baseboard protects the wall from damage and gives you the option to change the look if needed.
Let’s look at the nuances of baseboard in more depth. We’ll talk about some of the main purposes of baseboard, and then go into specifics about how baseboard improves an entire room. By the end of the guide, you’ll see baseboard in a whole new light.
What is the Main Purpose of Baseboard?
Before we talk about the small stuff, let’s look at the big picture. What is the whole point of baseboard anyway? By learning the principles behind baseboard, you’ll be in the best position to improvise, and problem solve when troubles arise. So, with that said, let’s look at the three primary purposes of baseboard.
Here are the three main purposes of baseboard:
- Baseboard is pleasing to the eye Baseboard hides imperfections
- Baseboard protects the wall from damage
Let’s talk about these three things in more depth.
Baseboard is Pleasing to the Eye (And Gives a Room More Character)
In the first case, baseboards provide a point of interest to an otherwise boring wall. Baseboards give you a lot of options to customize the wall to your liking. There are many different types of baseboards. We’ll talk more about these different types of baseboards and how you can use them to increase the overall aesthetic appeal of a room.
Aside from making the wall “look nice” the baseboard serves other purposes as well.
Baseboards Hide Imperfections of All Kinds
There are a lot of people who buy homes that are already built – most people don’t realize that many walls and floors have minor imperfections. These imperfections could range from an irregular slope of the wall, or the space between a wood floor and the edge.
Regardless, baseboards help to hide these imperfections and make the wall look smooth, clean, and professional.
Let’s talk about one more way that baseboards provide value to a home.
Baseboards Protect the Wall (Plaster or Drywall)
Along with hiding imperfections and improving the style of a room, baseboards also protect the wall from dents and dings. What do we mean?
Well, think about all the items that come close to walls – furniture, vacuums, people and their shoes – if there was no form of protection, the wall could end up badly dented and bruised – with no easy way to provide repairs.
With a baseboard, it’s relatively simple to remove the board and add a new one if it becomes damaged.
Alright, now that we’ve talked about some of the broad reasons for baseboards, let’s pull out the magnifying glass and explore a few more details.
More Specific Reasons Baseboard is Necessary
We know that baseboards are necessary. Now, let’s look at some more concrete examples of what would happen to your wall if you didn’t have baseboards. As you’ll see, there are more downsides than you might expect.
Note: there are some walls that won’t use baseboards. What types? Brick walls might not have baseboards, concrete walls may not, and unconventional walls, such as a log cabin look or shiplap. Of course, baseboards are partially a stylistic choice, so this may vary.
Five reasons baseboards are necessary:
- Baseboard Gives the Wall a Nice Frame (And provides style options)
- Baseboard Protects Against Water Damage
- Baseboard Protects the Wall from Kicks and Vacuums
- Baseboard Helps Hold Down Carpet
- Baseboard hides the edges of wooden floors
Alright, now let’s look at these things in a little more depth. Also, if you’re curious, you can learn more about the difference between baseboard and trim and moulding
Baseboard Gives the Wall a Nice Frame (And Provides Many Style Options for Homeowners)
Think of your wall as a person. The baseboard is like the shoes or jewelry. Of course, baseboard accomplishes much more than just being an ornament, but it’s important to realize that the type of baseboard you choose will have a large impact on how the room looks and feels.
All you need to do is take a trip to your local lumber yard to find out that there are a lot of different types of baseboards and trim, and each one has pros and cons. You should also keep in mind that there are different definitions of baseboard, and that on top of baseboard, you might want to think about shoe moulding and the type of crown moulding you have.
So, as you choose the type of baseboard and trim you want for your room, consider the overall feel and atmosphere of the space. Look at the ceiling and consider the type of crown moulding (if there is any). Also, ask yourself questions about practicality. In some rooms, nice baseboards might be futile.
All to say, style is a big part of why baseboard is used in rooms. With that said, style isn’t everything.
Baseboard Protects Against Water Damage
Now onto some practical reasons for baseboard. Let’s consider water. Here’s the thing about water – it’s one of the most dangerous substances. Water can quietly cause rot and decay. Not only that, but water and excess moisture can lead to mold and fungus.
What do baseboards have to do with water? Well, baseboards provide protection from water in one main way – by preventing the water from seeping into the edges of the wall or floor. Whether you spill something on the ground, or something splatters against the wall, the baseboard (when properly installed) can direct this water away from the side of the wall, preventing absorption into the cracks.
With the baseboard, you have the opportunity to clean up the water before it causes more problems. With that said, water isn’t the only thing that baseboards provide protection from.
Let’s talk about other common issues.
Baseboard Protects the Wall from Kicks and Vacuums
Think about when you’re vacuuming a floor – usually you try to press the vacuum all the way to the wall to clean up all the dust. If you didn’t have a baseboard in place, it would be much easier for the vacuum to damage the drywall.
However, it’s not just vacuums. There are also many other subtle ways installing baseboard provides protection. Have you ever been trying to push a piece of furniture against the wall and wondered: why can’t I get it flush? It’s likely because there’s a baseboard in place. While this can be a little annoying, the baseboard helps prevent gouging the drywall with furniture.
Finally, there is sometimes larger baseboard at the entrance and exit of homes. This helps protect the walls from kicked shoes.
But what about the baseboard? What if it becomes damaged? Baseboard is usually made of more durable material than drywall. Not only that, but baseboard can be easily replaced – replacing a wall is a pain.
Baseboard Helps Hold Down Carpet
Baseboard also helps secure and hide the edges of carpet. It does two things. First, the baseboard gives you somewhere to tuck the edges of the carpet (making the edges nice and clean). Not only that, but the baseboard actually helps hold the carpet in place over the tackboard.
If you’ve never worked with carpet, then you might not know that there’s often a strip of tackboard around a room. This board has little nails that poke up and grip the carpet. If you step on the edge of the carpet, you can actually hurt yourself. Thankfully, most people aren’t stepping near the edge of the carpet, but if they are, the baseboard is there to provide some protection.
Baseboard Helps Hide the Edges of Wood Floors
Last, good baseboard helps hide the edges of a hardwood floor. Even in you have a skilled carpenter, there is often a space left between the wood floor and the wall. This space gives the floor room to expand and contract with the season.
The baseboard helps hide these exposed edges, and, if you do happen to make a small mistake, the baseboard can make everything look alright again.
Now, let’s go over a few final thoughts on why baseboard is needed.
Final Thoughts: Why is Baseboard Necessary?
Is baseboard necessary? In most cases, yes, some kind of baseboard or trim will be needed to make the wall look clean and to protect it from water and damage. However, the style of the baseboard is really up to the owner of the home, and the type of baseboard depends on the level of protection that you need.
Baseboard might seem like an extra hassle, but it can save you a lot of headaches in the long run. If you take the time to properly install the baseboard, it can provide a pleasing, protective frame to your room that will last you a long time.