Why Is My Baseboard Pulling Away From The Wall?

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baseboard separating from wall

You’ve finished remodeling the house and you’re getting ready to relax and enjoy the relief of a job well done.

But then, as you’re wandering through the house, you begin to notice something strange. You check the baseboard moldings, the crown molding, and other parts of your new design, and you realize that the baseboards are pulling away from the wall!

Baseboard Pulling Away From Wall

When it comes to the baseboards pulling away from the wall, what this means is exactly as it sounds. You have your baseboards, and they’re meant to fit snugly against the wall.

The point of a baseboard is to cover the joint where the wall meets the floor – or, in the case of crown molding – where the wall meets the ceiling.

There are several reasons why the baseboards might be pulling away from the wall. It could be on account of caulking that has shrunk, a bad installation, or even warped wood if you live in a particularly humid place.

How To Fix The Loose Baseboards?

Luckily, fixing this issue isn’t impossible. Just make sure to research before you decide to get into it, else you might make the problem worse than it was initially.

Why Are Your Baseboards Pulling Away?

Before you can fix the issue, you need to figure out what is causing the issue. If you don’t, you’ll be putting a bandaid on a stab wound – fixing part of the problem, but not the crux of the issue.

Warping Wood

If you live in an area with high humidity, you might find that this will cause your baseboards to pull away from the wall when the wood physically reshapes itself.

Unfortunately, when it comes to warped wood, there isn’t much you can do about it. If a moisture issue is the reason for your warped baseboards, you should carefully remove them from the wall.

Removing the baseboards from the wall will allow you to check and see if there’s any internal damage from the moisture, or if you have a bigger problem on your hands and the wall needs to be fixed, too.

Luckily, most places that exist in areas with high humidity are built to deal with the extreme moisture, but that’s not the case for all houses. Make sure that the humidity isn’t causing the wood in your entire house to warp into something different – if that happens, you might need to get a new house! Or, at least, renovations.

However, so long as it’s just the baseboards that are pulling away from the wall due to humidity, it’s easy enough to deal with it.

Select New Baseboards

Because the wood is warped from the old baseboards, it’ll be nearly impossible to continue using the same wood at the base of your wall.

Check out your local hardware store and/or furniture store to see if they have the same baseboards or even a nice alternative.

Get To Painting

Once you buy the right materials in the correct size and cut, you’ll want to paint them – read our article about whether you should do so before installation or afterward.

Assuming you paint the baseboards and then install them, you’ll need something to secure the new baseboard in place so that it won’t pull away from the wall again.

Install The Baseboards

Line the baseboard so that it will stay flush against the wall, and grab a nail gun or other tool for adhesion. Double-check that both the top and the bottom of the baseboard are flat against the wall.

You can do this by making sure you – or the additional people you’ve hired to help you work on this – have a secure hold on the baseboard so that it’s held in place.

Then, use your nail gun and shoot your nails through the baseboard to attach it to the wall. Make sure you’re prepared on the tool front, as you’ll likely need way more than just two nails to secure a baseboard nicely.

If the idea of doing this work yourself fills you with terror, don’t worry.

Technically you could go a different route and try to use a caulking agent to fill in each remaining gap that appeared after the wood became warped, but it’ll look much better in the end if you go with all the bells and whistles of a new installation.

Faulty Installation

The way to deal with a faulty installation that is making you ask, “Is my baseboard separating?” is very similar to how to fix a baseboard that’s been warped by humidity.

If you – or someone you’ve paid – performed a bad installation from which you can see your baseboards pulling away, you’re going to want to handle the situation as soon as you can.

Although you won’t be in any danger, seeing a job that’s filled with more than one installation error can ruin your whole mood.

However, all you have to do is either:

  1. Re-secure all the baseboards to their respective walls (with a nail gun or other device that’s meant to help secure things)
  2. Remove and get new baseboards (already painted or otherwise) that are better suited to your walls and secure them to the wall

Once you’ve done either of these methods, the only thing you’ll have left to do is to re-attach the baseboards to the wall.

It can be disheartening to have to redo work that you’ve paid for, but you’ll feel better once you have elegant baseboards that look like they were professionally installed.

Caulk Shrinks

If the caulk that is around your baseboards has begun to shrink (due to age, weather, poor installation, etc.), it’s – unfortunately – no one’s fault.

If you’re not familiar with it, caulk is a joint compound that many installers and hardware professionals will use to seal joints and seams in the flooring to prevent leaking or gaps when it comes to the joining of the floor and the walls.

How To Use Caulk and Caulk Beads

When it comes to installing caulk, you will typically squeeze it out of the tube in a line. This line of caulk is called a caulk bead. The beads can vary in size depending on how wide the opening in the nozzle is.

However, after your installation project, your caulk beads can shrink, which might explain why you have a baseboard separating from the walls.

You can use caulk to patch up a hole or to speed up baseboard installations, but it does run the risk of breaking again down the road if it experiences significant use or has to deal with changing weather that might cause it to shrink again.

When to Caulk

Caulk is great if your house has a misaligned joint. If your floor is uneven and you need a wood filler, or – of course – if you have a baseboard separating from your walls, you should use caulk to fill it.

It’s a compound (similar to glue although it can also sometimes come in a foam format) that you can spray or apply to the edges of a baseboard to fill in any open spaces that were created during the bad installation or from the humidity.

Caulk continues to be a multi-functional material, as it can also be used to fill in holes that may have been made from nails that were improperly installed into the molding.

Once you’re done filling those holes with caulk, you won’t have to worry about any more wood that might have been installed incorrectly.

Paintable Caulk

Depending on how far away from the wall the baseboard is located, you might be able to use a different type of caulk instead of a traditional caulk. This material is used on the exterior of an object (indoors only) to act as a sealant.

So, if shoddy workmanship means that nails are loose or there are holes in your baseboard, you could use this type of caulk to try to re-secure the baseboard to the wall.

And, if you notice that the paintable caulk has begun to chip or peel, it could be an early sign that you need to consider a reinstallation.

Faulty Foundations

Additionally, if you find yourself having to use a lot of caulk to try and fill in an extreme number of gaps, it might be indicative of several uneven walls and flooring, which can point to extensive foundational issues.

If this is the case, you might have bigger issues on your hands than separating baseboards. Try to get an inspector to check the situation.

Conclusion

Baseboards exist for the sole purpose of hiding imperfections in house installation, specifically where the wall meets with the floor. They typically adhere to the wall with nails, but if done incorrectly, it can look terrible!

Baseboards work for rooms with carpet and also with hardwood floors. Which makes them a good addition to any home and a popular choice amongst homeowners.

Because of how elegant and amazing baseboards are meant to be, it can be completely disheartening to notice that they’re pulling away from the wall.

However, based on the typical reasons why a baseboard might separate from the wall, it’s not a hard situation to fix! You can choose to have someone redo the installation for you, or you can assume the mantle and do the work yourself.

Whatever you decide to do, stay strong and keep at it – at the end of it all, you’ll have the beautiful baseboards that you’ve always dreamed of.

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