Tips and Tricks for Cutting and Mitering Baseboards Like A Pro (when you are not)!

I had been contemplating buying a miter saw for the longest time. I guess part of me was afraid I wouldn’t use it or more importantly that I would be wasting my money ( I am a big Cheap-o!). So I put off buying it for a long time. But as I was in the midst of my bathroom re-do the thought crossed my mind again and again and again. I kept  thinking…I could cut and install the base boards and crown molding in the bathroom by myself as long as I had the right power tools so…I scoured Craigslist and finally hunted down a nice used miter saw for 40 bucks. It was a no frills kinda guy, probably not very expensive in the first place. I knew it could handle the  job of cutting baseboards and crown molding. So I loaded up the kids and picked up my new friend. The nice guy I bought it from of gave me a very basic run down of how it worked… the kids were waiting for me in the car so I found it hard to concentrate. I brought it home and there it sat while I researched how to use that baby!

The baseboards and molding are the last things that needed to be finished in the bathroom and I was looking forward to starting the job and being able to try out the new saw. I researched a LOT before starting this project. I watched Youtube tutorials, read DIY blogs and questioned co-workers about the how to’s. So one Saturday, after I put the baby down for a nap, I started cutting those mighty baseboards! I practiced with a few scrap pieces of wood to get the feel for the saw. It was magical- REALLY, it was! I fell in love with that little saw quickly and I am so happy he’s mine! Here’s a little advice from a newby saw owner!

Tip 1. Get to know your saw!

This was an important step for me. I have used a jigsaw in the past but I never touched a miter saw. I downloaded the instruction manual and figured out how to unlock the blade…sounds simple, right? Not for this miter saw virgin!  I played around with it a little more to adjust the miter. I used scraps of wood to practice cutting my angles before I ventured into the real deal.

Tip 2. Measure, Measure and Measure again!

I actually drew a little diagram of the bathroom and wrote down each measurement as I went along.

 Tip 3. Make that first scary cut!

Cutting Boards in 15 Degree Weather…That’s determination!

My first cut was an inside corner next to the bathroom vanity, an inconspicuous spot in case I screwed up . I locked my miter saw in on a 45 degree angle held the board steady against the fence of the saw, pulled that trigger and sliced through my first board! It was so much fun (my heart is racing just thinking about it). So on I went, cutting each board using my measurements. A good rule of thumb…when in doubt cut your boards longer then you may need, it’s easier to take off a little at a time then to realize you cut too much and need to start over again.

Tip 4. Nail Gun!

Here she is…this little potbelly cutie!

Another fantastic power tool…a nail gun with an air compressor! Oh yeah, I went all out. I can NOT bang a nail in straight for the life of me. This made the job sooo much easier. I lined up my baseboard and popped in a nail in a second! I love this tool too, between this and the saw – I am dreaming of all the fun projects I can make!

Tip 5. Caulk, lots and lots of caulk.

The finished product!

 

I still consider myself a novice at this. I was happy at the way it turned out but my house was built in the 1800’s and the floors and walls are massively uneven. Not to mention my cuts weren’t all perfect, some matched up better than others. I used a small bead of white silicone caulk to fill in the gaps. Then I took my finger and smoothed it out skimming off any excess. This really made for a nicer, more professional looking finish. As messy as it was, it was 100 % worth the extra time it took. I managed to do a little every night while Sophie was playing in the tub.

There you have it! I cut those baseboards and you can too!  In the past, we have a hired a sweet couple to do some handy work around the house. They do great work but I really wanted the satisfaction of finishing this project from start to finish on my own. Other than a little help from my husband this project was totally mine. I am looking forward to adding the finishing touches and showing you the bathroom in all its DIY glory!

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