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So, I can't use a nailer, and I would rather avoid screwing it and having to patch holes later (the baseboard comes prefinished).

Can I just apply a few strips of silicone on the back of the trim, and hold it against the wall for a few seconds until it sticks? I could use some double sided tape every 40cm (16 inches) or so to hold it firmly while the silicone sets.

If the silicone does work, does it have a risk of warpage? If so, what would happen? Would the board (18mm thick) be strong enough to damage the drywall?

Also, do I have to caulk between the baseboard and the wall and the baseboard and the floor? What should I use for that? Clear silicone works?

  • If your going to glue I think you'll find you need something more like liquid nails, and temporary bracing for more like a few days than a "few seconds". Walls are never perfect planes either. – Tyson Dec 19 '16 at 17:08
  • Really? I thought that if the molding was really straight it would be fine. I've seem people hanging vertical aluminum glass frames almost instantly using silicon glue. They don't hold much weight, but they do hold the glass panels vertical and stand against vibrations and wind. They just spread a bead onto the frame, pressed it against the surface until it "holds" and then let it cures for a few hours. – Luiz Borges Dec 19 '16 at 17:14
  • Try it and see. Expansion and contraction over time might be an issue too, depending on materials moisture content may also play a role long-term. – Tyson Dec 19 '16 at 17:23
  • I don't want to try something that might not work, this is why I came here first asking for help. One tip someone just gave me was to use strong double sided tape every 40 cm (about 16 inches) on the molding to hold it while the silicone cures. What do you think about it? – Luiz Borges Dec 19 '16 at 17:31
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    I have stuck with liquid nails of the proper type. My problem has never been getting the baseboard flat or wavy just follow the directions. My only problem is if it needs removed. – spicetraders Dec 20 '16 at 0:00
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If the walls and baseboard is all perfectly straight, it would likely work -- but everything won't be perfectly straight.

I've used liquid nails to attach baseboard before (in a similar situation), and it does work except where there are bows in the wall or baseboard.

I used finishing (or brad -- I don't remember) nails to both hold it while the glue sets and provide some re-enforcement where needed. Install two nails nearby at opposite angles -- essentially forming an "X" if you were looking straight-down on them. This is a lot stronger than nails going straight in and will resist pulling out.


You can caulk the edge between the baseboard and wall. It makes it look significantly nicer, IMHO. I use bright white for that. Normally the edge touching the floor isn't caulked but if it makes sense in your situation you can do that.

  • I've seem a forum post describing this solution, but will the sheetrock/drywall hold the nails enough if there is a bow? I just got a nailer (18 gauge I think, it is the only size used in Brazil) and haven't tried it yet. Instead of the nailer I thought about using strong double sided tape, but that would work only if the base boards flex enough (they still weren't delivered). – Luiz Borges Dec 19 '16 at 22:51
  • Is the finish on the Brazilian hardwood (Ipê) dark or light? If it is medium to dark I think that gaps at the top will not show. If you use sealer on top to close gaps, it dries to a surface which holds dust whereas the finish on the boards is very slick and does not hold dust. Thick, hard wood baseboard material does not bend and conform to curves in the drywall. Just accept it and do not obsess over these gaps. – Jim Stewart Dec 20 '16 at 23:57
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This is highly dependent on the baseboard material. With enough pressure and time almost all baseboards would conform to the wall but let's be reasonable.

If you just want to get done with it and it look OK, then go MDF baseboards. Yea I would never install them but they would do exactly what you want. However you will need to put some moisture or weights on them if the wall is really bowing, in or out. And when I say weights I used 25-45 pound olympic weights at sites for this exact thing.

Going to something like pine or oak, they still bend. It just takes more moisture and pressure. I had a curved wall in the last bathroom I did in a basement. Dipped the pine (just factory primed) boards in water, then pushed them in place with plates. I had to do a lot of wetting and used almost 300 pounds in weights for the wall.

So weight is one thing. You can use various things (not just real weights) but it depends on how bad the wall is. But you do want a lot of pressure because if you put a couple of 20lb weights on a long board, it will probably push out a 1/4" on the wall and you start over then.

Also the silicone is a good idea. Do not use liquid nails or similar as it is a PITA to deal with if the board pops out even a fraction. The liquid nails type of adhesive seems to dry "bigger" and can also create issues. Silicone cleans up easier (scrapes off with putty knife) so go that way.

Depending on the type of wood if your walls are close to flat you should be OK. Note that if there are variations more silicone is needed there to help during the first few weeks. The wood will conform to the wall eventually. I would suggest that each piece has pressure for a full day meaning you may have to do sections if you don't have enough weights.

  • I definitely don't have enough weights to work like that, the wood in question is a brazilian hardwood (Ipê), it is dense and hard, so I don't think weights will matter if wall or baseboard is bowed. They also come already finished from the factory. – Luiz Borges Dec 20 '16 at 0:07
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    I don't think there is wood in the world that can't be steamed, wetted, and bent into place. If it is too thick to work with you may have to kerf if (take strips of wood off the back going about 1/2-2/3 the way through). But you use pressure and water to bend wood and can make that easier by making the wood thinner. In lieu of weights I have seen others press long boards against the wall on the opposite side of the room either way works. I have also used heavy tools, heavy furniture, buckets of paint/mud, whatever to hold down things like this. – DMoore Dec 20 '16 at 0:13
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Sooner or later there will be a water leak and baseboards will have to be removed. You do not want the attachment to be so strong or extensive that this is difficult or causes damage to the drywall. In my opinion people are too concerned about small gaps between the top of the baseboards and the drywall. Will angled finish nails hold in metal studs?

Alternatively, one can use square-drive black finish screws and accept that they will show and consider that as a feature rather than a deficiency. Then if the baseboards have to be removed they are just unscrewed. This would work well with prefinished baseboards.

Editing In installing some thick 4 inch tall pre-finished stained oak baseboards I used (rather plain) base blocks (corner and middle) so all cuts of the baseboards were square. I wanted to be able to remove each section independently without having to deal with overlaps. In preliminary experiments I used Velcro to hold a section of board on while I was deciding how to fasten the boards. I was hoping to figure out some practical system for having removable baseboards, but was not able to do so in a finite time. In the end I used square drive black phosphate finish screws for the blocks and 18 ga brads 2 inch long to attach the boards through 1/2" drywall to wooden studs and bottom plates.

  • Yes if you live where there is a chance of water leaks I would look at the screws, but then if the water leaks and the base board needs removed then the drywall will need to be pulled as it will get wet. So I would stick with the panel adhesive. – spicetraders Dec 20 '16 at 17:04
  • If the leak is dealt with quickly and the house is not inundated with several inches of water, then the drywall doesn't have to be replaced. it can be dried with a fan with baseboards removed. However, I am not sure people will ever take action to plan for a water leak. – Jim Stewart Dec 20 '16 at 22:29

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