How to measure base board molding miter cuts

Written by jesse kimbrel
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How to measure base board molding miter cuts
An example fo household moulding (moulding image by Jim Mills from

Having the right baseboard can change the whole look of a room, and it's a fairly straightforward and affordable way to improve your home. There are endless styles of baseboard available, so whether you have hardwood floors, carpet or laminate flooring, you shouldn't have any trouble finding a baseboard to your liking. The trouble may come if you plan to install the baseboard yourself, and you can't figure out how to measure or cut the baseboard.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Baseboard
  • Tape measure
  • Mitre saw

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  1. 1

    Determine whether the mitre is an inside or an outside corner. If you are installing baseboard in a square or rectangular room, all four corners will be inside mitres. If you are installing baseboard around a kitchen island, all four corners will be outside mitres. If it's an outside corner, it's an outside mitre, and if it's an inside corner, it's an inside mitre.

  2. 2

    Notice that whether the mitre is inside or outside, it's a right angle either way. This means that the mitre is 90 degrees. This also means that to make two pieces of moulding come together at a 90-degree angle, each piece will require a 45-degree cut where the two pieces come together.

  3. 3

    Measure an inside mitre by butting your tape measure to one of the walls on the inside corner, and measuring the length of the wall where you want the baseboard to be installed.

  4. 4

    Finish measuring the piece by keeping the tape measure butted in the corner and extracting the tape to the end of the section, and write down the number. If you are measuring two inside corners---cut a 45-degree angle on one end of the baseboard with an inside cut. Then, measure on the back of the baseboard, and put a mark on the board where your measurement is. Cut another inside mitre at your mark with a 45-degree angle.

  5. 5

    Place the cut baseboard on the wall and make sure it fits. If it's too long, which is usually the case, cut no more than one-eight of an inch off at a time until it fits. If the piece is too short, you probably took an inaccurate measurement, and probably need to get a new piece. You should try to use the old one somewhere else.

  6. 6

    Measure outside mitres by making a template to help you find the correct measurement. Cut an outside mitre with a 45-degree angle on a 5- or 6-inch piece of baseboard.

  7. 7

    Hold the template up to the wall and align the inside of the cut on your template with the corner of the wall. Take the measurement by laying your tape measure out to the end of the piece and holding it against the template. Make sure that the butt of the tape measure is opposite from the template because you have to be able to read the tape at the template.

  8. 8

    Read your tape measure not at the corner of the wall, but where the long point part of the template hangs past the corner. This is because on outside mitres, it's important to measure the outside of the mitre instead of the inside where the corner of the wall actually is.

Tips and warnings

  • If you come across a piece of baseboard that has an outside mitre on both sides, you may need two templates to take the measurement, unless there is already a piece of baseboard installed opposite the piece you are measuring.
  • Installing baseboard requires use of power tools and should be done by a carpenter or contractor.

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