A coved wall base installation is the final touch to a completed floor covering installation. Coved wall base helps cover all of the rough edges from the resilient installation, the gap between the sheetrock and the floor, dress up walls and cabinets. The installation of the cove wall base is a minor part of the overall installation, but is responsible for many of the complaints. The following are the step-by-step illustrations of some of the methods used to install coved wall base.

Photo 1

The Coped (scribed) Inside Corner

Step 1: Cutting the material to the inside corner (Photo 1). Fit the seam of the base to the previous installed piece, and then form into the juncture of the walls. With a knife cut the first piece square to the corner. Place the material next to the corner so that the next piece installed will cover the cut edge.


Photo 2

Step 2: Preparing to scribe the inside corner (Photo 2). Cut the toe off the next piece to be installed. This allows the width of the dividers to be kept at a minimum and keeps the scribe line margin of error at a minimum.


Photo 3

Step 3: Scribing the inside corner (Photo 3). Start the scribing process at the top with the dividers. The dividers must be held at a right angle to the wall so that both points of the dividers will touch the floor at the same time. Don’t twist the dividers at the toe of the base. Twisting of the dividers will result in a gap at the radius of the base and at the toe.


Photo 4

Step 4: Cutting the scribed corner (Photo 4). After scribing, starting with the toe, trim the base on the scribe line with an undercut that will allow a slight compression to the previously installed half of the corner.

Photo 5

Step 5: Application of adhesive (with base adhesive nozzle) (Photo 5). There are several methods of applying the base adhesive. The use of a base adhesive nozzle on the adhesive cartridge allow for several beads of adhesive to be applied at one time. With out the nozzle the adhesive can be applied in single beads.


Photo 6

Step 6: Application of adhesive (with adhesive spreader) (Photo6). The other method of adhesive application is the used of an adhesive spreader. The most popular method is to apply the adhesive to the back of the coved base. The other method is to apply the base adhesive directly to the wall. Both methods work well, and are selected on the basis of installer preference.

Photo 7

Step 7: Rolling the coved base (Photo 7). Hand rolling the coved base with a hand roller may not seem too important, but a poor rolling technique is a major cause of coved base coming loose from the wall. When rolling the coved base the rolling should be toward the previously installed piece of coved base. Rolling away from the previously installed piece stretches the base. Because the adhesive is slow to set, the base will shrink to its original size, causing the seam between the two pieces to gap open. The rolling should be done from the top down, which pushes any excess adhesive down and not over the top of the base.

Photo 8

Step 8: Clean up (Photo 8). A truly professional installer cleans the finished product. Use a furniture polish on a clean white cloth to do the final cleaning of the wall base.  Some installers will use a damp cloth. Please note: the cloth is not to be used in place of the hand roller.

Photo 9

Step 9: The finished inside corner (Photo 9). The finished corner is snug neat and clean – with nowhere for dirt to hide. The coped inside corner is the most popular corner used for residential installation.

Photo 10

The Wrapped Inside Corner

Step 1: Making the coved wall base inside corner (Photo 10). Like the coped inside corner, force the top of the coved base into the juncture of the two walls. With a knife or marking device, place a small mark at the top of the base.


Photo 11

Step 2: Cutting the back of the coved base (Photo 11). Turn the coved base face down on the floor, and with a sharp knife score a light cut on the back of the base. The scored line should be about half way through the thickness of the base to allow it to wrap into the inside corner.

Photo 12

Step 3: Cutting the toe of the coved base (Photo 12). Fold the base face-to-face, and the scored line will form the inside corner. Then take the knife and just above the radius of the toe, cut the toe off at about a 45-degree angle. The bevel of the toe will allow the toe of the base to compress forming a snug fit. If you have not tried this type of corner before you will find it requires some practice to master.

Photo 13

Step 4: The finished wrapped inside corner (Photo 13). The finished wrapped corner formed and adhered into the corner yields very functional performance. If the toe is slightly open, force the toe of the base to close any gaps. The wrapped inside corner is used more often for commercial application than residential ones. The only sort coming is a slight gap at the top radius of the base that cannot be eliminated.

Photo 14

The Wrapped Outside Corner

Step 1: Marking the outside Corner (Photo 14). Set the base up to the wall at the outside corner, and let it extend beyond the corner. Then, with a sharp pencil, mark the back of the base at the corner. Be sure the mark is exactly where the corner is to fall.

Photo 15

Step 2: Relieving the back of the coved wall base (Photo 15). Set the base gouge about one-half to two-thirds the thickness of the base being installed. Starting at the top of the base, with the gouge, remove a piece of the material, stopping at the top of the radius. Care must be taken not to extend the groove onto the toe of the base, because doing so will weaken the toe allowing it to tear when it is wrapped around the corner. Also note the groove is along the side of the mark allowing the groove to extend past the corner. 

Photo 16

Step 3: Removing excess material at the bottom of the coved base above the toe (Photo 16). At the bottom of the base, above the toe, where it fits against the wall, gouge out an additional 1/2-inch of the material to form a “Y” shape on both sides of the main groove. This will relieve the pressure at the bottom of the base allowing it to conform to the corner.

Photo 17

Step 4: Removing the toe of the coved base (Photo 17). After the grooving of the back is complete, fold the base back-to-back. Note the toe of the base creates a slight downward curvature. Flatten the base out and remove a tapered piece from the bottom of the toe about 1-inch long, tapering it from about 1/8th inch at its thickest point and back to nothing. Removing this small piece will allow the toe of the base to set flat onto the floor, with no gaps at the toe.

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