Installing new baseboards costs an average of $1,100
Your home’s baseboards are an eye-pleasing feature that protects your walls from bumps and scratches from shoes, pets, and vacuums. The average cost to install baseboards is around $1,100. Covering a smaller space could be as little as $720, while larger projects can go for upwards of $1,300, including labor and materials. You’ll pay a little more if you need to remove your baseboards, or if you choose a premium baseboard material.
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Baseboard Installation Cost Breakdown
When determining how much you’ll pay to replace baseboards, you’ll find that the costs can be broken down into two categories: materials and labor.
Size of Area
Larger areas mean higher costs for this project, with prices ranging from $5.70 to $9 per linear foot for labor and materials. However, many pros will offer price breaks of around $0.50 per linear foot for larger projects. To determine the coverage you’ll need, measure each of your walls and subtract the length of door ways. Once you have the total cost in inches, divide that by 12 and you’ll have an exact count in linear feet for a more accurate price quote.
New Baseboard Material and Style
A major cost factor when installing baseboards is the style and material you choose. Premium varieties can cost significantly more, so it’s helpful to have an idea of what you want before you start calling for quotes.
“Replacing baseboards is a project that varies greatly in complexity and cost,” says Andrew Kilborn, owner of Andy’s Handyman. “Determining the style and material you want is very important to get an accurate estimate.”
Your carpenter will have all the equipment necessary to install your baseboards. However, they may work in the costs of incidentals including nails, caulk, and putty into their quote.
The main site preparation you’ll need to account for is the removal of old baseboards. Most installers will charge around $50 to $100 per hour for this service.
The labor cost to install baseboards is around $5 to $7.75 per linear foot. This will take up a vast majority of your overall project cost.
If you are removing old baseboards, many contractors will include debris removal in the initial cost. If not, expect to pay around $20 for additional debris removal services.
Cost to Install or Replace Baseboards by Type
Baseboards fall into four basic material categories: Wood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), polystyrene, and PVC. Wood is the most costly, but it has a luxe look, lasts the longest, and is easy to repair. You’ll pay more for hardwoods like oak, cherry, maple, and mahogany. PVC costs the least but is prone to damage and impossible to repair.
PVC baseboards generally go for between $0.90 and $1.40 per linear foot. This material costs the least out of all the options, but it’s easily damaged and impossible to repair.
Medium-density fiberboard, or MDF, usually costs between $1 to $1.40 per linear foot to install. MDF is mid-range in terms of cost, while also being easy to install, maintain, and repair.
Polystyrene baseboards cost between $1.15 to $1.65 per linear foot. These are easy to install and less expensive than most wood trims. However, they offer a limited amount of style and color options (though they can be painted).
Pine baseboards typically cost between $1.40 to $1.85 per linear foot. These softwood baseboards are generally the least expensive out of all the wooden varieties. They can also be stained or painted, though the finish may not be as smooth as harder wood options.
Poplar baseboards usually go for between $1.90 and $2.50 per linear foot. This is typically the least costly variety of hardwood baseboards. It’s easy to stain or paint, plus it’s less susceptible to cupping or bowing than pine.
Maple or Oak
Maple or oak baseboards cost $2.50 to $5 per linear foot on average. They’re more expensive than pine or poplar, but they offer a beautiful natural grain that can shine through natural or clear finishes. They’re also a hard and durable choice.
Cherry or Mahogany
Cherry or mahogany baseboards usually go for between $4.50 to $10 per linear foot. These are typically the most expensive and luxurious of all baseboard materials, often painted with a clear finish to highlight their natural beauty. Installation can be complex, and you must take care to avoid splitting the wood during the cutting process.
Additional Costs to Consider
Your cost to install baseboards will come down to a combination of labor and materials. However, certain extras will drive up labor costs. Here’s what adding these extra services might cost.
Cost to Remove Baseboard
Removing existing baseboards will usually cost between $50 to $100 per hour in labor. This will typically include debris removal, but you may need an additional removal service for around $20.
Painting baseboards will cost an additional $1 to $5 per linear foot on average. Some styles of baseboards come unfinished, meaning you’ll need to paint or stain them to complete the job. Installers can generally do this for you, but you’ll have to pay extra. You might also want to hire a local painter if you plan on repainting your entire room (or home).
Repairs vary based on the project. The average drywall repair costs around $300 for a small project, or up to $900 for more extensive damage.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace Baseboards Myself?
When you choose to replace baseboards yourself, you’ll save on labor costs. Depending on the materials you choose, you could pay as little as $0.80 to $1.20 per linear foot. A home that needs 144 linear feet of baseboard translates to a materials cost of $115 to $175. Of course, if you choose premium materials or intricate designs, you’ll pay more.
Replacing baseboards on your own may sound easy, and it can be—assuming everything works in your favor. If you have all the right tools (and know how to use them), level flooring, and no damage to repair, this could be a DIY project that you knock out in a couple of weekends.
However, it doesn’t take much to derail this project. If you hit a strange angle that’s difficult to cut or can’t get your baseboards to look straight over your crooked floors, you could be facing a roadblock that’s impossible to get around, especially if you were hoping for a professional finish.
Instead of risking baseboards that detract from the beauty of your home, it’s best to hire a local baseboard installer. They’ll get the project done faster and leave you with beautiful results.
DIY Baseboard Installation Costs vs. Hiring a Pro
DIY baseboard replacement costs $0.80 to $1.20 per linear foot on average, which amounts to significant cost savings versus the $5.70 to $8.95 per linear foot it costs to hire a pro. Again, the disadvantage is your higher margin of error and additional costs for tools if you don’t already have them.
4 Ways to Save on the Costs of Installing or Replacing Baseboards
If you’re looking to save on your cost to install baseboards, there are a few great ways to do it. Here’s how to shave dollars off your budget:
Repaint your baseboards rather than replacing them altogether.
Remove your old baseboards yourself and haul them away the debris before your pro arrives.
Choose less-expensive varieties, such as MDF or pine.
Ask your contractor if you can paint or stain the baseboards yourself prior to the installation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most people replace their baseboards when they’re old or damaged. This relatively simple task instantly improves the look of your home and can even raise your home’s value. Don’t think your baseboards are in bad shape? You might be able to get away with painting your baseboards. This is especially true if you’re just dealing with nicks and scratches.
Installing baseboards can be difficult, especially if your home has obstacles such as odd angles or uneven walls. This is generally an intermediate-level DIY and requires a good amount of patience, tools, and attention to detail. Considering your costs will be higher if you make mistakes or get stuck on a particular area, it’s best to hire a pro if you’re not confident.
You should always paint your baseboards before installing them. Painting afterwards will be a much more difficult and time-consuming process. Although some damage to your new paint job is to be expected during installation, a few minor touch-ups will be much easier to complete than a whole new paint job after the fact.
Fresh baseboards can increase a home’s value because they refresh the look of your walls. This can make a good impression on buyers and potentially boost your home’s resale value. This is particularly helpful if your existing baseboards are in bad shape, which can age the look of your walls. Consider also investing in the cost to install shoe moldingfor an extra-polished look that can further boost resale value.
There are no specific rules about how thick or tall your baseboards should be, but it’s a good idea to shoot for a 1:12 ratio of baseboard to ceiling height. In other words, you should have about one inch of baseboards for every 12 inches of ceiling height. As for the thickness, most baseboards fall between 1/2 to 1 inch thick.
Another project you can do at the same time is pulling up carpet, installing new flooring, painting your walls, and upgrading your trim. There are many choices when it comes to trim styles for use throughout your home. An example is crown molding, trim that goes along the top of your walls. Because crown molding is more visible, it tends to be more expensive, but it also elevates the look of any space.