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Buying Guide

Types of Baseboards

Baseboard Materials
A stack of baseboard moulding on a wood floor.

Baseboard moulding is made from various types of materials. The base moulding you choose for your walls should complement your flooring and wall color. Here's a rundown of the different types of baseboard options for your home. 

MDF
A bedroom with a fire place.

Also known as medium density fiberboard, MDF is a popular option for moulding, trim and baseboards because it is economical and is extremely easy to use. MDF is an engineered wood product made by combining wood fibers together with pressure treatment. It has no natural wood grain, so it does not look good when stained. However, it accepts paint very well.

Jointed Pine
A room with baseboard moulding and chair moulding.

Pine moulding is the least expensive of the natural woods. Unlike with regular pine wood, knots and warping are not an issue since joined pine comes pre-primed and treated. It is also sold unprimed. This makes it easy to nail and quick to install. Due to the visual finger joints on the pine, it doesn't look good stained. 

Oak and Maple
A room with decorative moulding.

Hardwoods, like oak and maple, are an excellent choice if you are looking for wood baseboards you can stain. These hardwoods take stain and varnish well but are significantly more expensive than jointed pine and MDF. 

Vinyl
A bathroom with beadboard and baseboard moulding.

This type of synthetic baseboard trim is water resistant and termite resistant and perfect for use in utility rooms, basements, outdoors/exteriors or any space where moisture is an issue. Vinyl trim comes in rolls and is held in place with industrial strength glue.

Baseboard Profiles
Different types of baseboard on a wood floor.

Baseboards come in a wide array of shapes. However, they fall into just four trim profiles. Most baseboards do not have set names, though they may be listed as "Colonial" or "Traditional" and more. They are typically labeled by their dimensions.

Three-Inch Rounded or Stepped Baseboard
Three inch rounded baseboard moulding in a room.

This is the most the popular baseboard profile used in homes. The top of the trim has a rounded shape that tapers into the wall. This trim style looks best in modern homes because of its relatively short profile and simple design. These baseboards are typically 5/8 inch to 7/8 inch wide and 3 to 3-1/2 inches tall.

Flat Baseboard Moulding
Flat baseboard moulding in a room.

This baseboard is completely flat on the front. Flat baseboard comes in different heights, usually ranging from 3-1/2 inches to 4-1/2 inches. The back of the trim is grooved to permit bending and makes it easier to install. Flat baseboard is versatile—it can be used in nearly any style of home. 

Sculpted Mid-Height Baseboard Trim
Sculpted mid-height baseboard moulding in a room.

This trim profile definitely packs an architectural punch. Sizes range from about 4 to 5-1/2 inches in height and about 5/8 inch thick. The top portion of the trim is decoratively shaped with scallops or steps that taper toward the wall. This type of baseboard trim works best in houses that have a more formal style.

Sculpted Taller Baseboard Moulding
A bathroom with sculpted taller baseboard moulding.

For a more substantial visual impact in a room, this baseboard profile can range in size from about 5-1/2 to 7 inches or taller and 5/8 to 1-inch wide. The top edge of the trim is sculpted with decorative scalloped or stepped details that taper into the wall. This baseboard design works best in homes that are large in scale.

Shoe Moulding and Quarter Round
A bathroom with tile walls and a black chair.

Shoe moulding and quarter round trim are often used interchangeably, but they are two different types of trim used in conjunction with baseboards. Quarter round is one-quarter of a round dowel with a 90-degree angle on the back. It works great to fill corners or soften any 90-degree joint between trim and mouldings. 


Shoe moulding is similar to quarter round with the same 90-degree angle on the back. Instead of being a perfect quarter radius, it has a squatter profile. The main use of shoe moulding is to run along the intersection of the baseboard and floor.

Choosing the right baseboard will add an attractive visual statement to your home. Shop The Home Depot for baseboards, crown moulding and other trims to give your wall the right finishing touch.