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baseboards trim molding

Baseboard, Molding, and Trim Guide - Types, Prices, Pros and Cons

By Tobias RobertsRise Writer
Dec 1, 2017

When it comes to finishing a home, the baseboard that connects your flooring to the walls, the trim around windows and doors, and even the crown molding at the ceiling are essential to design details that will offer an exquisiteness feel of your home. For example, even if you have a magnificent bay window looking onto a truly unique nature setting, that window runs the risk of losing its attractiveness without the right trim option. Similarly, a beautifully finished natural wood floor can look disagreeable when the wrong type of baseboard is chosen. Baseboard, trim, and molding also have essential functions. For example, they cover joints between different types of surfaces and angles where leaks can occur and protect walls from water and other types of potential damage.

When browsing through baseboard options, molding, and trim offered at your local hardware store, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. The sheer amount of options, textures, sizes and materials can leave your head spinning. However, for folks interested in home sustainability, there are also several considerations related to these finishing touches that need to be considered. Below, we offer a complete rundown on the pros and cons of several different types of baseboards, molding, and trim options for your home.

Table of Contents

  1. What Is a Solid Wood Baseboard?
  2. How Much Do Solid Wood Baseboards Cost?
  3. What Is a Joint Pine Baseboard?
  4. How Much Do Joint Pine Baseboards Cost?
  5. What Is an MDF Baseboard?
  6. How Much Do MDF Baseboards Cost?
  7. What Is a PVC Baseboard?
  8. How Much Do PVC Baseboards Cost?
  9. What Is a Tropical Wood Baseboard?
  10. How Much Do Tropical Wood Baseboards Cost?
solid wood baseboard
Photo Credit: ArchiExpo

What Is a Solid Wood Baseboard?

As is often the case, your home's most natural option is often the most attractive option. Solid wood baseboard, trim, and especially molding will bring an organic, natural feel into your home. Hardwood options won't warp over time and very rarely crack. Since many of these solid wood pieces aren't primed, they require a bit more work on your part. If knots in the wood are present, this also will present an extra challenge during installation. Of course, solid wood for any construction activity is almost always a bit more expensive than other options. 

Solid wood baseboards, molding, and trim allow you to decide on a consistent color pattern throughout your home. Of course, you will want all of these finishing details to flow together, and since solid wood takes well to a variety of wood stains, you can choose a stain color that coordinates well with the rest of your interior design. 

On a sustainability level, wood is a natural and renewable resource. Therefore, it's important to find suppliers dedicated to supporting sustainable forestry practices in the products they source.

How Much Do Solid Wood Baseboards Cost?

There is an extensive range of solid wood prices, depending on the type of wood you use and the baseboard's height. You can expect to pay around $0.85 per linear foot for a 3-inch pine baseboard and up to $2.50 per linear foot for 6-inch oak or other hardwood baseboards.

jointed pine baseboard

What Is a Joint Pine Baseboard?

Jointed Pine is another molding, trim, and baseboard option that offers the same natural feel of solid wood at a much more economical price. In addition, you won´t have to worry about knots and warping issues with this option since the wood comes pre-primed and treated. Jointed pine is usually more flexible than solid wood options and is easy to nail and install. 

The finger joints are often quite visible, even after excessive sanding. If you don´t like these joints' manufactured look, you may have to use a dark-colored stain to cover up the visible joints. Another drawback to this option is that the glue used to hold together the pieces often contains strong adhesives, which may contain formaldehyde (a known carcinogen) and other chemicals that can off-gas harmful VOC´s into your home.

How Much Do Joint Pine Baseboards Cost?

Jointed pine baseboard can be as inexpensive as $1.50 per linear foot and up to $3.00 per linear foot. 

mdf baseboard
Photo Credit: The Joy of Moldings

What Is an MDF Baseboard?

Medium-density fiberboard, or MDF, is one of the most popular molding, trim, and baseboard options. It is one of the most economical choices that are also extremely easy to use. In addition, the MDF profile is very soft and usually comes pre-primed, meaning that even a novice builder can use MDF as a do-it-yourself home project. Another advantage of MDF is that it is considered mold and fungus resistant, making it a good option for baseboard in places where water damage is a concern. 

On the downside, MDF has several health and environmental concerns associated with its use. MDF is made from wood fibers bound together by heat, pressure, and numerous types of resin binders. The resin and adhesives that hold the fibers together might very well contain high levels of formaldehyde that can off-gas for years, especially when the MDF is in contact with water. This article in “The Guardian” will most likely cause you to rethink using MDF in your home.

How Much Do MDF Baseboards Cost?

MDF baseboads are one of the cheaper options available, with prices ranging from $0.65 to $0.90 per linear foot. 

pvc baseboard
Photo Credit: ArchiExpo

What Is a PVC Baseboard?

PVC is one type of synthetic baseboard, trim, and molding option. While we usually think of PVC used in plumbing fixtures, you can now find PVC options for your home's finishing work. PVC trim is often labeled as “vinyl trim” and has the advantage of being resistant to the elements. You can safely use PVC trim in bathrooms and kitchens where water accumulation is probable and even use it outside as it will resist the elements. 

On the downside, PVC can be brittle and delicate to work with and will require the installer to drill a hole for every nail. Besides, PVC has several dangerous environmental and health considerations. For example, the dioxins in this product can cause reproductive and developmental health problems.

How Much Do PVC Baseboards Cost?

Depending on the style and height, there is a wide range of prices associated with this option ranging between $2.00 and $6.00 per linear foot.

tropical wood baseboard

What Is a Tropical Wood Baseboard?

Tropical woods such as teak, mahogany, ipe, red balau, and other fine and exotic species can also be used for trim, molding, and baseboard. These woods present all of the advantages of solid wood but add an extra ounce of beauty and luxury to your home as they often have unique colors and grain textures. But, of course, you can expect to pay quite a bit more for these products.

Unfortunately, many of these tropical wood species are unsustainably sourced from rainforests and other delicate ecosystems worldwide. So if you opt for the beautiful (though expensive) finish offered by tropical woods, make sure to do your research on companies that source the raw materials from sustainably managed forests worldwide.

How Much Do Tropical Wood Baseboards Cost?

You can expect to pay between $3.00 and $8.50 per linear foot for quality tropical hardwood baseboards. 

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-07-10T04:43:19+0000
Tobias Roberts

Article by:

Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.