Baseboards for the Basement (also, SNOW!)

There were a lot of projects in the basement where I was worried that we were in over our heads and things would go terribly wrong–hanging doors, painting the floor, putting up the plank wall–but then all of those things went really well.

I wasn’t worried about the baseboards at all. It seemed really straightforward. We just bought pine planks and painted them, and all we had to do was get them to stick to the wall somehow or other.

The wall, in this case, is a combination of drywall on for the interior walls and our cement foundation for the exterior ones. From the beginning, I was a big advocate of liquid nails, while Dave wanted to use screws. I was pretty sure screwing into the foundation would make the house collapse, and Dave was pretty sure liquid nails wouldn’t work right because the boards weren’t entirely straight. He talked to a neighbor who knows about these things, and the neighbor told him that a. our house would not fall down if we used screws and 2. he would let him borrow his hammer drill to make the whole process easier.

To sum up, things did not go well.

Dave cut down all the planks to fit the walls, even doing fancy mitered edges where two boards would need to meet.

I painted the baseboards Ben Moore’s Newburg Green (semi-gloss), same as the walls and the other trim in the room.

All of that went fine.

Then we tried to actually attach them to the walls. The part with drywall was no problem; he attached it with cement screws using his regular drill. But we were foiled at every turn in our attempts to get the boards to fit nicely against the cement foundation. The hammer drill worked okay for awhile–it was kind of pain because you have to drill a hole through the board, then a pilot hole in the foundation, while making sure the two line up perfectly–until the drill bit got bent on the second board.

We tried liquid nails for the next board. Which….worked, I guess. In that it’s still stuck to the wall. But it’s not really flush, and doesn’t look great.

Then Dave tried his regular drill, and at first he thought this was going fine. But apparently he was just having beginner’s luck or had found a soft spot in the cement or something, because pretty soon it just stopped working.

So in the end, liquid nails won for most of the board by default.

Now we have baseboards, but they don’t exactly look good. It’s been awhile since I had to pull out my “I was not really a perfectionist about this part” motto, so…..

Anyway, here they are. They’re staying for now, because I don’t think they’ll be very noticeable with all the furniture and stuff, and because I’m lazy/ready to be done in here!

So here, on drywall and then on the cement, but where you can’t see a seam, they don’t look bad:


And here, with lots of furniture in front…still okay!


But when you look closely, you get this (also we need to fill in those screw holes and paint):


When all of this was still going on, I thought, “this will be good! We’ll figure out what the best way to do this is, and then we can tell everyone, and they can learn from our mistakes!”

But then we never figured out a good way to do it.

Really, I think our primary mistake was trying to attach baseboards to very textured/uneven cement at all. If I had it to do over again, I’d paint down to the floor and forgo baseboards all together on the foundation walls. The drywall was kind of crappy at the bottoms, so those walls really needed the baseboards.

I’m getting this low point in our basement room out of the way now, so that it won’t be bringing anyone down when I post pictures of the finally FINISHED basement next week! All finished! For now!

Also, since those baseboard pictures weren’t very pretty or exciting, I’m going to leave you with pictures of my kids playing in our snow on Wednesday. All the forecasts talked about at least three (and maybe eight!) inches of snow, but, as you can see, that didn’t happen. It was still a respectable for Georgia snowstorm, but we were all a little bummed that we didn’t get the big storm we were promised. But we had fun (and Dave had two days off) anyway. And Abe got to wear his hand me down Hanna Andersson snowsuit that he was about to outgrow. So that was important.

snow18s snow21s snow16s snow13s snow12s snow10s snow09s snow08s snow07s snow06s snow05s snow04s snow01s

Happy weekend everyone! (the nice thing about snow days is that it feels like today is Monday, but it’s really Friday! Except Dave has a math tournament tomorrow, so that makes it feel more like a Thursday again. Stoopid math).



Baseboards for the Basement (also, SNOW!) — 10 Comments

  1. LOVE the snow pics! and we did baseboards in our old house’s playroom… it was a finished room minus baseboards, and ironically that is what we have here for the playroom. anyhow, yeah, it seemed so easy, but then you find all the defects in the walls where they are slightly angled or bowed and it just isn’t that easy. we used caulking to help fill our gaps between wall and baseboard and that helped a lot.

    • Yeah, I definitely need to break out the caulk….I still feel so defeated about them I can’t muster up the energy to try to fix them at all just yet though

  2. If you want 8″ of snow, come up here and take as much as you want back home with you. Glad your basement is coming together, sorry the B-Boards were so not-fun. 🙁

  3. So glad you guys got some snow to enjoy! And I am so with you Gretchen – I would have been worried I’d send my house tumbling down too! Haha. I love that color in there and that you’ve painted all the trim to match the walls!

    • It’s crazy, but so far our house hasn’t fallen down even a little! It’s possible that Dave was….right 😉

  4. First of all love the side picture of Abe. So cute. My daughter had an outfit just like it. Brings back sweet memories.
    And second I was going to suggest liquid nails before you mentioned it. It always is my quick fix. Sorry it don’t work all that great for you.

  5. Abe’s snowsuit is the best thing I have seen! And I know the frustration with baseboards. That’s when you really start to see imperfections. And then it’s ALL you see. That happened in our basement at our old house. I never noticed that issues until we had to do some baseboard over by the nook. Then it was ALL I saw, all the time. But luckily, no one else seemed to notice. Not even the new buyers 🙂

    • If you’d ever have a boy, I could send the snowsuit to you! ;). Really, I’m living proof that girls like blue, too. I’ve already gotten pretty good at ignoring the baseboards 🙂

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