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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.
Delson Sherman NY Loft 02
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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Frequently asked questions

What is flush recessed baseboard?

A flush recessed baseboard is a baseboard that is installed at the same level as the finished floor, creating a seamless appearance.

Can I install flush recessed baseboard myself?

Yes, you can install flush recessed baseboard yourself if you have experience with carpentry and access to the necessary tools.

What are the benefits of flush recessed baseboard?

Flush recessed baseboard can create a modern, clean look in a room and can also provide a space to hide cables or wires.

What materials can I use for flush recessed baseboard?

Delson or Sherman are two popular materials for flush recessed baseboard, but other options include wood, metal, or PVC.

How can I ensure a perfect flush recessed baseboard installation?

Attention to detail is key for a perfect installation. Make sure to measure accurately, use level and plumb lines, and check for any gaps or unevenness.

Do I need to hire a professional to install flush recessed baseboard?

No, you do not need to hire a professional if you have experience with carpentry and access to the necessary tools. However, if you are unsure, it is better to hire a professional to ensure a perfect installation.

How much does it cost to install flush recessed baseboard?

The cost of installation will vary depending on the material used, the size of the room, and whether you hire a professional or install it yourself.

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