What is A Quarter Round Molding?

Moldings, also known as mouldings or covings are decorative trim pieces that run along walls, doors, and windows. They generally serve as a transition between building elements.

Traditionally, it is made from plaster or solid milled wood but may also be made from plastic or reformed wood. 

There are several types of moldings, but some of the common ones include; astragal, cavetto, rosette, torus, scotia, and many more, but in this article, we’ll be looking at quarter round molding.

What is Quarter Round Molding?

quarter round moulding
Self-adhesive quarter round moulding

Quarter round molding is one of the common molding styles typically paired with baseboards to hide gaps and imperfections that may exist between the base and floor of a room. It can also be used for countertop surfaces and backsplashes.

Quarter round molding is shaped like a quarter of a circle, has a perfectly curved edge, and comes in various sizes. The curved edge facing outwards becomes visible once you install the piece. The pieces are usually sold in long strips of 7 feet, and you might need to cut them before installing. 

Shoe Molding VS Quarter Round Molding

Quarter round molding is often confused for shoe molding, and sometimes they are used interchangeably, but while they share many similarities, there are still some differences. 

Similarities 

  • Both types of molding can be used with various materials such as concrete, wood, natural stone tiles, and laminate. 
  • They both offer a professional and smooth look to walls, countertops, and backsplashes. 
  • They can be painted, stained, or left alone; it all depends on your preference. 

Differences 

  • While both types of molding have curved edges, there is a difference in size between the two. 
  • The curve in quarter round moldings are more defined and pronounced, and they also look slightly better in appearance. While shoe molding has less pronounced curves.
  • Quarter round molding provides a perfect quarter radius, while shoe molding displays a more squat profile.
  • Quarter round molding comes in different sizes, but shoe molding doesn’t offer much variety.
  • Quarter round molding is ¾ in width while shoe molding is only ½.

How To Install Quarter Round Molding

Before you begin to install the quarter round molding, you might want to pre-finish the trim. This means applying stains, paint, or varnish on the trims. You can do it before cutting and measuring the trim pieces to the size you want.

It is advisable to do it before cutting the trims because it won’t be as easy after being installed. Sand the moldings to make sure they are clean and smooth and use a cloth to dust off sawdust. After that, you can go ahead and apply your stain or paint. 

Once the paint has dried, apply a varnish as a top coat and let it completely dry before you proceed to the installation.

To install your pre-finished molding, you’ll need:

  • A measuring tape
  • A pencil
  • A brad nailer
  • A hammer
  • A nail set
  • A handsaw or power miter saw and a miter box
  • Quarter round molding
  • Wood glue
  • Paint or stain and varnish (If you choose to paint it. leave it out if you want to leave it bare).
  • Painters tape
  • Wood putty (optional)

Step By Step Instructions

  • Mark The Trims

To make your work easier and more precise, measure, cut, and install the molding trims, one at a time. This will help you avoid mistakes you would have when trying to cut everything at once.

Depending on where you want to place your trims, there are varying methods of measurements. If the piece is for a wall arch or any type of outward-facing corners, position the trim across the wall and mark the ends with a pencil at the intersection. 

If the molding piece is for inward-facing corners, measure the entire length of the wall and mark a long piece according to the dimensions. Repeat this for the second piece as well.

  • Use The Power Miter Saw or Handsaw To Cut The Trims

Set and position the blade of your miter saw or handsaw to 45 degrees. Place the molding piece on the miter box and saw base to touch the pencil mark. Be careful not to cut through the mark; otherwise, you might cut through the mark and make it too short.  

After the first cut, reverse your blade and cut the other end at the same 45-degree angle. Do the same for both trims.

  • Test The First Trim

Place both trims in the position you want to install them and check their lengths. If you feel they are too long, cut off the excess from one end and adjust till it fits perfectly. 

  • Nail The Trims

To carry out this step, you’ll need a brad nailer. It is most carpenter preferred tool for nailing quarter round moldings. It will automatically set small nails and will speed up your work. 

First, test the depth of the nailer on a waste trim. Hold the brad nailer in a horizontal position while facing downward slightly. Firmly hold the trim against the floor and baseboard as you do this. Once you’ve got it, drive the nails every 18 inches.

  • Finish Installing the Trims

Some carpenters will cut out a return piece before doing the final installation. It is a piece that finishes off the end of a piece of quarter round molding where it ends without turning a corner. 

The process for creating it is the same as the first two trims, except this time, you won’t be nailing it down. You will use wood glue to stick it to the edge of the first piece. It is not compulsory or necessary, but it makes your work look smoother and professional.

For the finishing, use a nail set and a hammer to gently tap on the heads of the nails until they are fully stuck in the trims. If you created a return trim, remove the painter’s tape from it. If there is a need to, touch up the paint.