Gluing vs. Nailing Baseboards: Which Is Right For You?

Annie Sisk
Written by Annie Sisk
Updated May 10, 2022
An interior view of a living room
Photo: piotrszczepanekfotoart / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images


  • Baseboards help keep your room looking finished and balanced.

  • Use construction adhesive or nails to attach baseboards.

  • Nailing baseboards can keep them straighter and free from warping over time.

  • Gluing your baseboards can take much less time and effort.

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Whether you’re building a new home addition or renovating an existing room, baseboards are an often overlooked but important part of the room’s overall finish and style. Trim can also help improve your home’s resale value. One question you’ll need to answer is how to attach the baseboards to your walls. You can choose nailing, gluing, or both, but which makes more sense for you and your home? Fortunately, we’ve gathered the pros and cons of each to help you decide.  

Nailing: Pros & Cons ​

A man installing baseboard
Photo: NAN / Adobe Stock

While some homeowners choose to glue baseboards to their respective walls, many home remodeling pros use nails. Let’s look at why. 


Depending on the weather and humidity in your area and the age of your home’s construction, baseboards can warp, flex, or detach over time. You might want to select nails over glue for your baseboard project because nails do a more efficient job at keeping the baseboards secured, straight, and free from warping. The result is that your rooms maintain that solid finish and look for years to come.

Nailing your baseboards can also make it easier to remove them later. Removing glued-on baseboards can damage the wood or even result in splits and cracks, depending on the strength and age of the adhesive. 


The biggest drawback to using nails to secure baseboards to your home’s walls is the difficulty in completing the job accurately. You can make it simpler, faster, and much easier by using a nail gun. 

Nailing also requires more focus and precision. If you let your attention wander for even a moment, you can accidentally wind up with crooked nails or misaligned boards. 

You’ll also need to sand and paint over the nails for the best aesthetic results. These extra steps result in a much lengthier project completion time.

Gluing: Pros & Cons​

A worker applying glue to skirting board
Photo: Pieter Estersohn / Corbis Documentary / Getty Images

Nails might be the more common choice for baseboards, but construction-grade adhesives can save a lot of time and effort. For busy homeowners and contractors, that can be incredibly appealing. Here are the other pros and cons of gluing baseboards. 


It’s simply easier to glue on baseboards than to nail them to the wall. That’s especially true if the baseboard is less than 4 inches in height and not very thick or if the room itself is on the small side. And when you use the right adhesive and apply it properly, your baseboards will stay securely fastened. 


Unless you use a high-quality adhesive and enough of it, you could wind up with baseboards that don’t stay where you want them to, making the entire room look shabby and poorly put-together. 

You’ll also need to double-check your measurements to ensure your baseboards are properly sized. Otherwise, if there’s an error, you might have a difficult time removing and repositioning them. 

Nailing vs. Gluing Baseboards

An empty white room
Photo: FOTOGRAFIA INC. / E+ / Getty Images

When it comes to putting the finishing touch on your home’s rooms, baseboards shouldn’t just be an afterthought. Some projects may require both nails and glue to achieve the best results. But how do nails and glue compare to each other on the basic factors that are most important to homeowners? 


Both gluing and nailing your baseboards can result in an attractive, finished look when they’re carefully done. Nailing does require a few extra steps to achieve that finish, whereas gluing simply requires the application of the adhesive and holding the baseboard in place for a few minutes until it dries. 

Most Attractive: Tie, though nailing requires more effort


Generally speaking, nails tend to last longer than adhesive. However, that’s not always true, especially when you choose a construction adhesive specifically made for holding wood baseboards to the wall. 

Most Durable: Nailing


Because nailing baseboards to the walls generally takes longer and requires more labor, you’ll usually pay more for having a contractor attach your boards with nails instead of adhesive.  

Most Affordable: Gluing (mostly due to labor costs)

Ease of Use for DIYers

Unless you have substantial construction experience, you’ll probably find it easier to use glue to attach your baseboards. Nailing requires the use of a nail gun or hammer, precision skills, and two extra steps (sanding and painting) to make sure the boards look finished. 

Easiest to DIY: Gluing

Ease of Repair

If your baseboard gets damaged in the future, you’ll most likely need to remove that section and replace it. Construction adhesive can be long-lasting and hard to remove, sometimes resulting in further damage to surrounding sections or the wall itself. Nailed-on boards are generally simpler to remove, making the repair process quicker and easier. 

Easiest to Repair: Nailing

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