After you’ve covered flooring in your house based on the function of each room, it’s time to pick the right baseboards to go with it. From a practical point of view, baseboards help hide the gap between the flooring and the walls; for aesthetics, think of baseboards as the bridge that connects your flooring to the rest of your home’s interior design.
Just like flooring, there are also a lot of options to choose from for baseboards; unlike flooring, however, you can make your choice based mostly on their looks. Here are the different baseboard materials you can select:
Medium density fibreboard (MDF)
MDFs are made from wood fibres sealed together with a resin mix. This manufacturing technique allows them to be moulded into a variety of shapes. One of the most economical and versatile materials you can go with, MDF baseboards come to the shelf already primed to be painted. If you want your baseboards painted in a specific solid colour, then MDF is your go-to material since it’s specifically designed for a paint finish. The best way to decide on a paint colour is to choose one that matches the major colour in the room’s décor or one that contrasts with the major colour. By the way, don’t even bother staining MDF baseboards because it’s not worth the effort: although MDF baseboards are made of wood fibres, there are no natural wood grains to accentuate, which defeats the whole point of staining in the first place.
If you have your heart set on staining, then look no further than natural wood baseboards – they look especially good paired with hardwood floors. You can either get the less expensive softwood baseboards like pine and poplar or you can get the more expensive hardwoods like cherry, oak, and walnut. Pine and poplar have very fine wood grains that don’t stand out very much even after staining; however, they are great options to achieve that rustic look. You can even paint pine and poplar, too, after you’ve primed them, but if you’re going to do that, you may as well go with the cheaper MDF baseboards – you won’t notice much of a difference after a few coats of paint. For hardwoods with their deep grains, staining is the only way to go – and boy, what a visual impact they make when it’s all done. Stained hardwoods bring a classic elegance to interiors that’s at once timeless and warm.
Vinyl baseboards are manufactured in rolls and are applied with industrial glue – it’s one of the easiest baseboards to install. One major advantage vinyl has over MDFs and natural wood is that it can handle moisture very well. It’s also durable and weathers wear and tear much better than wood. The only downside is that they can’t be painted, but with the wide range of pre-set colours you can choose from, that may not be a problem.
Plastic is another water-resistant baseboard material you can use. It’s versatile in available shapes and it can be made to imitate wood. It can even be painted in any colour you want if you use paint that bonds to plastic. With their easy installation and maintenance, plastic baseboards are a great choice that’s less expensive than both vinyl and natural wood – as long as you don’t mind baseboards that look…well, plastic.
Although not as popular as the other baseboard materials mentioned above, tile baseboards deserve an honourable mention. The truth is: they’re not popular only because they fit just with tiled floors and are expensive to install. If you have tiled floors though and don’t mind spending a little extra to put in tile baseboards, you’ll elevate your room to a pristine luxurious level. Tile baseboards are extremely durable and water-resistant after they’re sealed. They’re also maintenance-friendly and very easy to clean. What’s more, they make the room feel larger because they create the illusion of the floor tiles extending out and up to the baseboards. Tiled baseboards bring a feeling of palace magnificence that cannot be matched by any other material.
With baseboards, you can customise the material and even the shape or trim profile to whatever fits your style and budget. The only thing to keep in mind is to maybe only use water-resistant materials in the bathroom and high-humidity rooms; otherwise, go nuts with the look that you like!