After you have laid the vinyl plank floor or other new flooring, the next step is to finish the installation with trim.
The most popular choice is quarter round. This simple trim can be found everywhere. Here are links to Lowe’s and Home Depot.)
Trim is ubiquitous. The wallboard or paneling cannot be cut to fit perfectly, so a baseboard covers the gaps and protects the wall finish from shoes and carpet sweepers. When a new floor is laid while baseboard remains, a gap is created that must be covered. On floating floors, it is important to cover the expansion for appearance and keep it from filling with dirt.
Decide which material is best for the job. The first question is real wood versus synthetics (the term plastic will do for this discussion.) If there is unpainted wood to coordinate with, always select wood. If the woodwork is all painted, plastic is an option, but not recommended because it is less resilient.
If you are using wood, pine is the least expensive, but will likely need to be stained to match the other wood moldings. Oak moldings are very popular and available, but more costly than pine.
Measure, cut, and test fit all the pieces, but do not install any. Layout every single piece and label it on the back to identify its location. A-B-C or 1-2-3 will do.
All cuts should be made at a 45° angle with a miter saw. Every start at a doorframe opening is a 45° cut. Every inside and outside corner is a 45° cut. Every inline joint is a lap 45°, not a butt joint.
Pre-drill holes for future nailing, a minimum of two per piece. Test the drill bit size so that the hole is large enough that a nail can be tapped through, but still provides resistance and hold. Angle the drill to pass through the thickest portion of the trim and miss the edge of the flooring. Pre-drilling will make installation much simpler. It is not always easy to get a good angle to drive in nails. Pre-drilling helps prevent “elephant tracks” – those hammer marks from missing or slipping off a nail.
Once all the molding is cut, marked and drilled, it can be finished. This may include staining, staining and varnishing, or painting. It is infinitely easier to finish the trim before it is installed. Spread out newspapers or drop cloth. Set up racks of thin wood or plastic to elevate the wet trim. Finish each piece, including ends that may or may not be partially visible.
Warning! If you are painting, the trim will appear to grow! If you fit raw pieces very tightly, the seemingly negligible thickness of a coat of paint can make them too long to work. The initial cuts should result in a slightly loose layout.
When the finish has cured, layout the pieces, and tap in finish nails. Do not drive them completely flush. Finish the job with a countersink /nail set to put the nail heads below the wood surface without harming it.
If you want to go the extra mile for the best look, the nail holes can be filled. The only warning in this regard is to be careful of finishes. If you have stained and varnished the trim, putty and sanding could mar the finish.