How to Use a Miter Saw to Cut Baseboards Flawlessly!
Alright, so you are building or renovating a home, and it’s time to cut baseboards and trim, but how exactly do you do this?
Luckily, the whole process is relatively simple once you get some practice and learn how to effectively use a compound miter saw to cut baseboard molding.
Where most people tend to worry or get overwhelmed in the process, is with all the variations in terms of the type of baseboard corner cuts required to install baseboard molding successfully.
To help determine what’s required concerning the number of different angle cuts available for you to master and where exactly they are applicable regarding cutting and installing baseboard molding, we’ll help break down the basics, plus some more advanced stuff too.
Whether it may be a miter angle, a bevel angle, an inside corner, or an outside corner, we’ll touch on a bit of everything to help you determine the right course of action.
How To Cut & Install Baseboards With A Miter Saw
Here we want to provide you with simple and detailed step-by-step instructions on how to use that trusty dual bevel miter saw to cut baseboards, plus we’ll touch on installing them as well.
As long as you know how to use a miter saw, this should really be a walk in the park. It’s nothing difficult to accomplish as long as you are familiar with your power tools.
Before we continue and get into the actual measuring and cutting of it all, you do need to ensure that you are safe.
Remember folks, a miter saw is a high-powered saw with a jagged razor-sharp circular blade, and that’s something you want to take caution with. Always ensure the saw is turned off and does not have power flowing to it before you place any wood on the cutting surface.
Also, be sure to tie any long hair back, and don’t wear loose clothing either. Most important of all, always wear safety goggles in case any shards of wood go airborne.
Step 1 – Taking Measurements
The next step you need to follow in order to properly cut baseboards with your miter saw is to take the measurements using your measuring tape. Something to keep in mind here, is an old adage, “measure twice and cut once” because if you make a cut and have used the wrong measurements, you’ve just wasted a piece of good wood.
For this step, you just have to use a measuring tape to take a measurement of how long your walls are at the base, from one side to another.
Be sure to measure all walls, from one corner to the next. This is how long the baseboards will need to be cut. While doing this, it is also wise to find where exactly the studs in the wall are, as the studs are what you will be attaching your newly cut baseboards to.
Now might be a good time to utilize a stud finder if you’ve got one. Once you’ve located the studs, simply measure and mark where they are.
Step 2 – The Inside Corner Cuts
What you need to know here is that for four walls, you will need to make four inside corner cuts with your miter saw. Here, you need to set the bevel for your miter saw to 45 degrees and set the miter to 0 degrees.
Use a pencil or something equivalent to mark the back of your baseboard, so you can simply follow the pencil line when making the cut. Once you have set the miter angle and bevel angle, and you have the baseboard on the cutting table of the miter saw, you can turn the saw on.
Hold the handle of the saw with one hand, hold the baseboard securely in place with the other, and then move the blade down through the wood until the cut has been made. Push the blade all the way through, but don’t apply way too much pressure. Moderate pressure should do just fine here.
Step 3 – The Outside Corner Cuts
Here you can keep the miter saw at the same settings, with 0 degrees miter and 45 degrees bevel. Use your pencil to once again mark the baseboard.
According to your measurements, you now need to cut the baseboard so that the front side will be a bit longer than the backside, so you can easily join the corners together once everything has been cut.
Remember folks, take your time and practice with some offcuts before attempting to cut a longer-length board. Otherwise, this will get expensive very quickly.
Step 4 – The Square Cuts
Ok, so when you make your baseboards, you might choose to join them in a square manner. In other words, instead of angling the cuts to create angled baseboard corners, some people also choose to cut straight and then join them to form a perpendicular joint.
This is possible too with a miter saw. All you need to do is set the bevel to 0 and the miter to 90 degrees angle.
In other words, for this, you are just making a normal crosscut, which is by far the easiest one to make.
Step 5 – Installing The Baseboards
Perhaps the easiest step of all here is to actually install the baseboards. All you need to do here is place them where they will be permanently, and make sure that they match up properly. Always check this before you start nailing or screwing your molding on.
Be sure to use the right length of brad/finish nails or screws, and attach the baseboards to the studs in the wall.
Any piece of baseboard molding should be fixed in position with finish or brad nails no longer than 2 inches. Ideally, you should be using nails or screws around 1 ½ inch as you may have unsuspecting electrical or communications cables behind the board.
There you have it folks, now learned how to use a miter saw to cut baseboards, and how to install them too. When it comes to building or renovating a home, baseboards should be a walk in the park if you measure and cut your molding, as suggested in this article.
It might take some practice mastering the different angle cuts and understanding the type of cut necessary for each application.
While the type of saw you’re using for the job will determine the overall success of the project, whether it’s a single bevel vs a dual bevel miter saw, you will be able to make every cut necessary for effectively cutting baseboard with a miter saw.
That said, if you continue to practice and work the miter saw using some scrap trimmings by testing varying degrees for each angle cut, all of this will become second nature to you in no time at all.
Also, for more information on cutting baseboard molding to absolute perfection, check out one of our more in-depth articles on cutting and installing trim.