The Professional Basement Finishing Touch

A mentor once told me; “Any schmuck can get into basement finishing, but what separates the professionals from the also-rans is the details.”

One professional detail you should know about when completing a basement finishing project is the method of gluing and pinning exterior miters.

What does this mean?

Anytime trim material (baseboard, chair rail, crown molding, etc.) goes around an outside corner (as opposed to going into an inside corner), the two pieces of trim that will be fit together to complete the corner should be miter cut at the appropriate angle.

Make Your Basement Finishing Project Stand Out with Professional Trim Details


But don’t settle for simply nailing the two pieces of trim to the wall and hope that you get a tight fit. This is your basement finishing project for crying out loud! The professional will glue the two miter joints together first, then he will pin-nail the joint to create a durable corner. Only then, is it time to nail the trim to the wall.

Why all the fuss about gluing and pinning in a basement finishing job?

Because of how drywall corners have to be done, no wall corner is exactly 90 degrees or 45 degrees, or whatever the supposed angle may be. Also, because even 1/32″ in length can ruin the alignment of the joints, you can expect some sort of gap in the joint of your trim.

Many installers are o.k. with this gap. Just caulk and paint over it they say. However, very soon after caulking and painting, changes in temperature and humidity (which are common in a basement finishing project) will cause that caulking to shrink, leaving a noticeable gap in your miter joint.

It’s your basement finishing it with the professional touch is important to you. After gluing and pinning those outside miter joints, the trim will gently bend to conform to the angle in the wall. Therefore, the small degrees of imperfection in the cut or the wall won’t show up in the joint. Caulking can be used, but is virtually unnecessary; the joint will paint beautifully.

This technique can also be used elsewhere in your basement finishing project. The casing around your doors has a miter joint at the top of each corner. Shadow boxes on decorative walls or in wainscots have miter joints. Drink ledges around rooms or posts all have miter joints.

Give your basement finishing project that “Professional Touch” and make sure your contractor glues and pins all miter joints.

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