Is it cheaper to build your own baseboards? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 06-09-2017, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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Is it cheaper to build your own baseboards?

I want to replace the base boards in my house (originals are fine, just too many layers of paint, damage, etc.).

Its too expensive to replace them with already profiled base boards - and im looking for something a bit more simplistic (4"-4.5" rectangle boards w/ a simple profiled piece of 1/2" quarter round). I have access to more than enough router bits to do the quarter round profiling.

Does anyone have any tips or advice?

thanks
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post #2 of 17 Old 06-09-2017, 12:15 PM
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It costs less to buy the baseboards. The mill can do it much more efficiently and consistently than you can.

For comparison, here's a typical baseboard.

https://www.menards.com/main/doors-w...4447334360.htm

Here's a piece of 1x4. You'll need to work it to get what you need.

https://www.menards.com/main/buildin...4444782792.htm
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post #3 of 17 Old 06-09-2017, 12:49 PM
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You might consider MDF base molding. It's cheap and looks good when painted. It's just not suited for wet locations.
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post #4 of 17 Old 06-09-2017, 01:41 PM
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I agree with Steve. If you're painting, MDF is hard to beat from a cost perspective. And it's really easy to cope cut.
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post #5 of 17 Old 06-09-2017, 03:15 PM
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Depends on how much you value your time. I did the math on it a long time ago, can't remember the exact figures but in terms of materials, !among your own vastly won out on the price front, but its a time consuming exercise. Something like MDF you have to factor in the time and effort lugging that full sheet around, cutting it down into 4 inch or whatever strips and then routing the profile in. Nothing difficult by any stretch, but you figure it'll take about 20 minutes for each 8 foot length of molding.

Personally I'd rather spend my time over my money, so I've got no issues adding an extra few hours to a job if it means saving some money. You may value your time more

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post #6 of 17 Old 06-09-2017, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Something like MDF you have to factor in the time and effort lugging that full sheet around, cutting it down into 4 inch or whatever strips and then routing the profile in.
...and not to mention all of that MDF dust! Not good for you to breathe.
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post #7 of 17 Old 06-09-2017, 06:13 PM
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...and not to mention all of that MDF dust! Not good for you to breathe.
Forgot to mention cleanup time then! To be fair though, you should be wearing breathing protection any time you're making dust, no matter what it is. MDF isn't any better or worse than sawdust once its in your lungs

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post #8 of 17 Old 06-10-2017, 09:03 AM
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What is your time worth per hour? Buy the baseboard. Remember the manufacturer runs hundreds of feet per hour on automated machinery.

A diamond is how coal reacts under pressure.
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post #9 of 17 Old 06-10-2017, 09:14 AM
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I believe what you call base board is what we call skirting in UK. DIY stores offer dense foam covered in variety of finishes to match existing wood work.
Very easier to put in place and back usually channelled to take wiring. Here is a company offering MDF

http://skirtingonline.co.uk

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Last edited by johnep; 06-10-2017 at 09:17 AM.
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post #10 of 17 Old 07-12-2017, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epicfail48 View Post
Depends on how much you value your time. I did the math on it a long time ago, can't remember the exact figures but in terms of materials, !among your own vastly won out on the price front, but its a time consuming exercise. Something like MDF you have to factor in the time and effort lugging that full sheet around, cutting it down into 4 inch or whatever strips and then routing the profile in. Nothing difficult by any stretch, but you figure it'll take about 20 minutes for each 8 foot length of molding.

Personally I'd rather spend my time over my money, so I've got no issues adding an extra few hours to a job if it means saving some money. You may value your time more
Yeah I guess it all depends on what do you want to keep more of. Time or money. I would spend the $$$ then the time. Pretty much how I do anything these days.
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post #11 of 17 Old 07-18-2017, 02:05 PM
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My guess is you will create more waste cutting your own wood than you will save in price. That said it might be fun to give it a whirl. You can create a unique pattern that only you will have in your home and that could be very cool. I say get a piece of lumber and give it a try. If it works well then go for it. Might turn into a milling business for you. Who knows.

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post #12 of 17 Old 07-26-2017, 12:20 PM
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No mater what material you choose, buying material at retail will cost you more than buying the moldings. Spend your time learning how to cope the inside corners.
I buy my materials through industrial distributors and run a nice molder and I can not produce moldings for the price of the big box stores.
I buy a few thousand board feet at a time, molding companies buy rail car loads at a time. I run my molder at 35'/minute they run theirs at 500'/minute using automated ripping and feeding systems.
If you decide to make your own base, are you going to put the backout cut in it so you will get a better installation?
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post #13 of 17 Old 07-26-2017, 10:25 PM
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I've made my own moldings in the past, but only because I wanted to, I had the rough sawn wood left from building cabinets or vanities for the room I was redoing. It's not cost effective, but in my case, I made some 5" tall base and 3" casing from some real nice ash. Made my own profiles to look sort of like a custom colonial molding. They turned out nice but it's definitely a lot of work, several setups and some sanding to boot. We have a local mill shop that makes a pretty good variety of nice moldings, that's where I usually go.
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post #14 of 17 Old 07-27-2017, 12:11 AM
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If you already have the equipment, or need enough moldings to justify buying whatever equipment you don't have, AND you have access to affordable rough cut lumber then there is no reason not to make your own moldings.
I pay, on average, $2-2.50 a board foot for locally grown 4/4 hardwoods like cherry, red oak, maple, walnut, ash and popular. Big box stores sell 3 1/4 inch pine baseboard for about $1.20 a linear foot, oak $1.50. I could get 3 linear feet of 3 1/4 molding out of a board foot, so yes, material wise you can make it cheaper. Probably for half the cost.

Your rectangular moldings would require a jointer, planer, table saw and router table.

But there are plenty of other reasons to make your own moldings, especially if you invest in a molder. The inexpensive moldings from big box stores are less then 1/2 inch thick, by making them yourself you can control how thick you want them and by varying the thickness of various moldings you can create dramatic effects in your room.
By making them yourself, you have far more choices in woods, not just pine and oak or PVC.
By making them yourself, you have far more choices in profiles when making your own molding, in fact, if you want to exactly recreate existing moldings, or something you've seen elsewhere, you can have custom knives made.
By making the moldings yourself you are in complete control, so why not?


In woodworking there is always more then one way to accomplish something.
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post #15 of 17 Old 07-28-2017, 12:55 PM
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"I could get 3 linear feet of 3 1/4 molding out of a board foot"
Lots of luck with that! Reality check.... Rough lumber does not come straight! Even FAS does not come defect free! This grade is made from the worst face in rough sawn and from the best face in planed. The rip saw blade takes 5/32 out. Blanks are ripped 1/4" over to allow a bit of molder straightening and to remove the saw marks. There is always end trim lose! Some boards will curve too much in ripping to be used! Some lumber will be inclined to have chip-outs that make pieces in useable. Add up the loses and you will get about a 50% yield. How do I know? I've made moldings commercially for 30 years.
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post #16 of 17 Old 08-08-2017, 09:47 AM
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Speaking of quarter rounds, I tried the mdf kind. It had a tendency to split when I nailed it in. I switched back to pine. Just an FYI for a DIY.
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post #17 of 17 Old 08-08-2017, 04:20 PM
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Buy it.

A diamond is how coal reacts under pressure.
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