Molding Options – Quarter Round Vs Shoe Molding

During home renovations many homeowners choose to make dramatic changes in the home, from complete kitchen renovations to adding multiple new rooms. Oftentimes, however, the small things can have a large impact. It’s this attention to detail that can help save you money in this sluggish economy, which is why making the right decision the first go around is important.

Some homeowners choose to install baseboard along with door and window trim, because it helps cover gaps and does look more attractive (in most cases). When doing so, the question arises as to whether to use quarter-round or shoe molding. You may come across the same issue perhaps, and not really even see a difference between the two options. After a glance and some thought, you’ll quickly realize that there are differences between these two baseboard options.

Many professionals prefer base shoe molding, partly because it looks more elegant than quarter-round. Additionally, the quarter round baseboard is shaped like a semi-cylinder (hence its name) so it can be difficult to drive a nail through it and into the baseboard. The lack of a flat nailing surface can be a large problem for installers; the molding is more susceptible to splitting or hammer dents if you’re not using a pneumatic finish nailer.

In contrast, base shoe molding is sleeker and it has a broad vertical surface that makes it easier to nail. This, along with its elegance mentioned above, is why shoe molding is the most popular or the “default” choice for contractors. That said, any contractor worth working with will be able to professionally install the baseboard you want. Don’t opt for shoe molding if your set on quarter round.

Quarter round molding is typically ¾” x ¾” with a ¾” radius profile, but you may be able to find different sized quarter molding. Quarter round molding isn’t all bad. Some positives include its flexibility, which makes it useful for working with a wavy floor, and it’s bulky, so is great for covering large gaps between the floors and the baseboards.

If you don’t have a contractor, here are a few tips…

If you opt for shoe molding, when installing it be sure to nail it to the baseboard, not the floor. This will allow the floor to expand and contract freely, with no added stress to the molding.

Since the size of molding being installed will vary from one home to the next, it wouldn’t be prudent to recommend a nail size. However, for most trim jobs a size 4d nail works great.