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I have a chip on my baseboards around a corner. Can it be fixed or is it better just to replace these pieces all together? All comments are appreciated thank you.

chipped corner of floor baseboards

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    Note that if you decide to go the replacement route, there's a probability that you'll have to build the replacement from 2 or more pieces of molding. I've not seen a profile like this one at my local big-box home improvement store, though I've seen pieces that could, most likely, be combined to make this shape.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 30, 2022 at 18:15
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    The other option would be to pull the short piece off and take it to a local woodworker/cabinet maker/lumber yard where they may be able to order custom shaper knives to cut this from a solid piece of wood. Of course, that route will be multiple units of currency more expensive than piecing it together or using some sort of filler.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 30, 2022 at 18:15
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    For the best chance at finding a replacement, try a local, independent lumberyard that sells to contractors (not a consumer-oriented big box store). I generally find that they have a much wider selection for things like this and for anything they don't normally stock, they're quite good at identifying what it is and how to get it.
    – bta
    Commented Dec 1, 2022 at 3:02
  • @isherwood I believe I threw some of this in the attic from maybe 10-15 years ago. After all this wonderful commentary I'm thinking I may cut the corner straight down and add a flat corner piece.
    – Jacksonkr
    Commented Dec 2, 2022 at 14:39
  • Just FYI this is a common baseboard. Look on big box websites and make sure you have measurements. Sure it is there because I just almost got the exact same thing a month ago in pine (might be exact). All mdf baseboards are mass produced crap... which is a good thing in your case because if mass produced you can find it easier. I tend only to get pine baseboards that have mdf equivalents for this reason for my house or rentals (if selling not finding baseboards = new owners issue)
    – DMoore
    Commented Dec 2, 2022 at 20:44

4 Answers 4

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Given that it's painted composite wood material, you could, if inclined to, patch with a wood-composite material (wood putty) and paint it.

Replacing it is likely to look better unless you are a true artiste with shaping putty. But that's an achievable artiste-ry if so inclined and you work at it a little. If you can get the same moulding, you can make an angled cut in the long piece and splice on a new corner section rather than replace the whole piece.

Replacing it with better material than the original will likely last longer the next time something bangs into it. I don't have polite words for what I think of that stuff.

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    "I don't have polite words for what I think of that stuff." Upvote just for that sentence alone! I have vowed never again to use MDF for baseboards or door/window trim. I will consider it for crown, because it is so much cheaper, and if your crown is getting physically damaged then you have other issues.
    – Glen Yates
    Commented Nov 30, 2022 at 22:15
  • I'm not sure how your wood putty compares to the wood filler I can get (and Imgur is down so I can't see the photos) but overfilling and sanding back can work very well with filler, even on mouldings, and I'm no scupltor. The adhesion to shallow smooth dents can be less than sufficient in high-wear locations, but a sharp knife in the bottom of the dent can remove enough material for a good key. Anyway you don't want to fill on top of paint.
    – Chris H
    Commented Dec 2, 2022 at 11:14
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    MDF baseboards are genius. Big box sells them, easier to install, everything they sold worthless in 15 years, resell baseboards for the same home... I don't feel like writing an answer but to be more specific to fixing this - which I think is a waste when you should swap for pine (cheap good)... Durhams wood putty or Bondo. Durhams is the king of wood putty but is like sanding plastic (not exaggerating) so you better put the curves on accurately. We fill latch holes in door jambs with durhams and it looks damn near perfect.
    – DMoore
    Commented Dec 2, 2022 at 20:40
  • @DMoore I just spent many hundreds of doll hairs on pine trim for my humbly built home. Hoping it was worth it...
    – alexw
    Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 18:20
  • @alexw - pine is just incrementally more expensive than mdf (20%?). So it makes no sense that mdf is so widely used. I get it for crown on walls because its bendability and likelihood to not be touched make it worth the risk. But for baseboards pine is the king on the cheaper side and for sure if they are to be painted. I had mdf in a house I bought and we aren't hard on houses... after 3 years at least 7-8 boards had significant damage from every day things - like a laptop falling from 2 feet huge dent... It is just crap.
    – DMoore
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 22:04
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It definitely can be less frustrating to replace them. If you do, remember to cut through any paint or caulk/sealant at the top of them first with a utility knife.

Otherwise, yes, they can be patched quite well. Wood Putty (WP) or Auto Body Filler (ABF) can be smeared on a little higher than the adjoining surfaces and sanded down to perfection.

ABF typically is creamier than WP, but you may have to keep the batches small if you can't keep yourself from trying to get it perfect the first time. It's best to just smear it on sloppy and come back with a chisel or screwdriver to shape it and sandpaper to refine it.

You want any patch to look and feel perfect before you paint it. Any imperfection will show right through the paint...use a paint with primer included within it.

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You can clone the profile with a variety of materials, then use the mold to perfectly shape your patch. Dental cement or minimal-expanding spray foam is great for this, but modeling clay, warm wax, and hotglue can also be used. You can even use knock-off play-doh if you can secure it to the profile until it dries out, so that all shrinkage is from behind the facade.

Whatever you use, rub the good molding spot you're cloning with vaseline, then make your mold.

Once you have a mold, apply generous amounts of wood filler, spackling, epoxy, or whatever you feel best about using. Try to roughly mimic the profile, but make sure it's too-thick on the face. Then mate your mold to the trim, next to the patch, and slowly slide over and past the patch. Excess should gather on the leading side of the mold, but what's left behind on the build-up should be a cinderalla-quality match.

For the corner, you'll want to fix one side at a time, letting it dry completely before addressing the other angle. A good gentle sanding and repaint and it should be 99% as good as new, possibly better depending on the patch material (eg epoxy will be much stronger than composite boarding).

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    I'm trying to envision how any of your suggested mold making products (beyond, possibly, dental cement or plaster of Paris) would hold up against wood filler or even Spackle. Most of those products I've used are pretty dry and crumbly and won't take well to scraping by something reasonably soft like clay, wax, hot glue, etc. Even if you made the shaper out of a sheet of thin metal, I'd think filler would probably crumble and break out, rather than press in. Epoxy might work, but you've got to have very thick epoxy to keep it from running down the wall...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 1, 2022 at 13:26
  • @FreeMan I agree spackling is more for getting the house ready to list/show ;) ... Wood filler should be pretty tough, and epoxy puttys (eg JB weld, gorrilla) are going to be easier to apply than a thin liquid, though you can pre-chill slower-setting epoxy to thicken it up. I should have mentioned bondo as it's an excellent choice. My main point was that cloning is a good way to copy/patch trim; i've seen an entire wall done this way in an old house with fancy bespoke trim and unless i was told (which i was), I would never have known it wasn't original
    – dandavis
    Commented Dec 1, 2022 at 17:20
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Once you fix this damage, it will re-occur over time because it is an exterior angle, and I suspect there is foot traffic turning this corner a lot. I notice the wall above has plaster damage right on the corner too.

Possible fixes and preventions:

  1. Rebate an L bracket into the wood in the bottom straight part. Screw it down (also closing up that gap) and then plaster/paint over it. It'll still chip the paint later, but the damage will only go as deep as the metal. Downside, its ugly, and won't do anything for the upper section.

  2. Cut the corner out so both skirting boards stop flush with the end of the wall. Use a nice piece of hardwood in a square profile equal-to or just larger than the thickness of the boards and as tall. Screw it into both skirting boards and paint to match.

  3. Get fancy - get some hardwood, or brass or aluminium, and turn a cylinder on a lathe. Then turn the same decorative profile as the existing baseboards have, in a kind of bottle shape. Use a bandsaw to cut the "bottle" into four quarters. Trim the existing boards square and then use construction adhesive to secure the quarter-bottle in-line with the wood.
    This will provide a hard corner that will reject damage over time. And you have three more items to fit to other similar exposed corners in your home.

  4. (lazy) Put a couple of pot-plants at this corner so noone can see the damage, and they have to walk further from the wall to go around the corner. A small bookshelf or side table can help, or even a couple of coat hooks with coats on them is enough to deter people from walking too close.

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    99% of this sort of thing is from furniture moving, in my experience. Then there's "rough play and/or skateboarding in the house" for the 1%.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Dec 1, 2022 at 13:12
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    skateboarding in the house? Never!!! </sarcasm>
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 1, 2022 at 13:27
  • @FreeMan yeah don't do that in the house.... the kids might see you !
    – Criggie
    Commented Dec 1, 2022 at 18:27

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