Should You Install Baseboards Before or After Carpet?

February 21, 2022
by The Finished Space

Are you installing carpet and baseboards in your home? If so, you’re probably wondering which you should install first. Surprisingly, there’s not a straightforward answer to this question. In fact, there’s quite a bit of back and forth from the experts.

So, let’s take a look at all the things you need to know about installing baseboards and carpet in your home.

The Importance of Baseboards in Rooms with Carpet

Source: Cresco

Before we dive in, it’s important to understand the roles that baseboards play in a home with carpet. Like other moulding and trim, baseboards are aesthetically beautiful and help add proportion to any space. However, they also serve many other critical purposes.

For one, baseboards help protect your wall from physical damage from vacuums and other objects. Without them, your wall is more susceptible to damage, including water damage.

In addition, baseboards help keep dirt from falling in the tiny cracks between the wall and floor (I.e., the places even the best vacuums can’t reach). Additionally, they help hide crooked walls and other unsightly blemishes. Carpet also has a tack strip that can be painful if stepped on, and baseboards help cover that line.

Do You Install The Baseboard Before Or After Carpet?

Source: Home Repair Ninja

Clearly, there are many reasons to install baseboards in rooms with carpets. However, the question remains: Do you install the baseboard before or after the carpet?

Well, it depends. Most contractors prefer to install the baseboards first. However, it can be done the other way around, and there are arguments to be made for both choices. Installation is simpler for whoever installs first. So, if you have different people installing your carpet and baseboards, they’re likely to have different opinions.

Being able to do both is great because sometimes you aren’t getting new carpet and baseboards at the same time. Sometimes you’re just doing one or the other. The fact that you have options is really an excellent thing for homeowners.

Ultimately, you can do either, but here are some important things to keep in mind with both methods. Let’s talk about how each technique works and some tips for getting it right.

Tips for Installing the Baseboards First

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When it comes to constructing walls, the drywall is always installed with a one-inch gap at the bottom to protect it from wet floors. So, when you install the baseboards first, you simply install the baseboards with the bottom edge equal to the drywall. Doing so ensures there’s plenty of space for the carpet to come in afterward. To be super sure you have the right amount of space, you can measure the gap with your carpet’s edge.

Installing the baseboards first makes it much easier to stain and paint your baseboards because you don’t have to worry about getting any stain or paint on the brand-new carpet.

If you choose to install your baseboards first, be sure to:

  • Leave a gap for the carpet. (Use a spacer if you need to.)
  • Paint or stain your baseboards before installing the carpet.
  • Add protection (like painter’s tape) to your baseboards to keep them from getting damaged during the carpet installation.

Following these tips ensures you get the best experience when installing the baseboards first.

Tips for Installing the Carpet First

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If you want to install your carpet first, there are some things to keep in mind. Installing the carpet first makes the job much easier for your carpet installer. They simply lay the carpet right up against the wall. However, there are several best practices you and your carpet installer will need to know if you go with this option, including:

  • It’s much more challenging to paint and caulk baseboards if there’s already carpet. So be sure to pre-paint before installing the baseboards.
  • Take extra care to make sure the tack strip is even. If it’s uneven, it can cause your entire baseboard (and wall) to appear crooked!
  • Make sure to use a level when installing the baseboards. Sometimes different areas of the carpet can have slightly different heights, so if you rely on the carpet as your only indication of whether the baseboard is straight, you might accidentally install it crooked.

Keeping these best practices in mind helps ensure you have the best results when installing the carpet before the baseboards.

Choosing the Perfect Baseboards

Whether you install your baseboards before or after your carpet is a matter of personal preference based on what makes the most sense for your project. For example, if you aren’t installing new carpet, you’ll have to install the baseboards second.

Either way, you’re going to need beautiful baseboards to complement your space. 

That’s where we come in. At Metrie, we specialize in creating beautiful baseboards and finishing touches for any room.
If you aren’t sure which baseboards you like best, check out Option {M} today, our design tool to help match popular design styles with gorgeous finishing touches.