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Remodeling 101: How to Build the Perfect Flush Recessed Baseboard

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Remodeling 101: How to Build the Perfect Flush Recessed Baseboard

August 24, 2017

Who doesn’t love a good insider tip? We do, so our ears perked up when Jeff Sherman of Delson or Sherman Architects mentioned his trade secret for the most consistently aligned and beautiful flush recessed baseboard detail. What’s a flush recessed baseboard detail, you ask? And why should we want them?

“A flush recessed baseboard is a minimalist and seamlessly beautiful detail, and since it provides no surface for dust to collect, it’s practical too,” Sherman says. “The trick is to get a perfect alignment between the faces of the wood and sheetrock. With a minimalist detail like this, precision is critical; conventional stud-wall construction leaves too much wiggle room.” See the architects’ sketch below to see how they spec this detail.

Flush Baseboard JMA
Above: A flush recessed baseboard is like a French seam. Its precision gives the room an overall finished appearance. Photograph courtesy of John Maniscalco Architecture.
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Above: In a New York Chelsea loft, Delson or Sherman continue the floor material (Brazilian walnut) up into the baseboard. (See The Architect Is In: Seeking Sunlight in Chelsea.) Photograph by Catherine Tighe, courtesy of Delson or Sherman.
Flush Baseboard Delson Sherman 02
Above: Delson or Sherman Architects’ detail sketch illustrating how a continuous plywood backer is attached to both the baseboard and the sheetrock. “We have found that this is the best way to ensure consistent alignment,” Sherman says. “To stabilize the backer, we assemble it into a box beam, which then forms a sturdy base for the stud wall that bears on it. The final touch is to scribe the baseboard to the floor, which means cutting the bottom of the baseboard to match the irregularities of the floor for a tight fit.” Sketch courtesy of Delson or Sherman.

Browse more in our Remodeling 101 series:

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on September 6, 2013.

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