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Can You Use Plywood for Baseboard? (How To)

The baseboard may be a small part of the room, but it can make a difference in the finishing touches. Is it a good idea for the baseboard if you are considering using plywood?

It is possible to use plywood as a baseboard in any area of the home. As long as it is finished off properly, it can make a decorative part of any room. Consideration must only be given before installing plywood baseboards in an area of the home with high moisture.

Checking the plywood baseboard

Almost all types of baseboard are made out of wood. People may sometimes say that plywood is not a suitable choice, but it is rare that baseboard is abused.

You can use plywood as a baseboard to protect the lower wall, and if you use the correct type of plywood, it can make a very nice-looking addition to the room.

Some plywood sheets are made of high-quality hardwood, making a good baseboard choice. It can be cut into attractive shapes, working out just as well as any other type of baseboard but doing so on a budget.

Of course, you have to consider the benefits of using a solid wood baseboard compared to using plywood. Plywood may have warping problems or split over time under certain circumstances.

Hardwood does tend to be more durable, and it is resistant to damage. In either case, however, if you scuff up against the baseboard, it is going to leave a mark and could potentially damage the finish.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on May 23, 2023.

Something else to consider is that many inexpensive baseboards are not made from hardwood. They are made from pine, which is a softwood and relatively inexpensive.

Can you save money using baseboards made of plywood compared to what you would find prefabricated and made from pine? You may find that the prices are similar, but you still have more options for shaping the plywood.

In the end, you will find that plywood is helpful in many areas of the home. It can be used as walls, floors, subfloors, ceilings, and even baseboards.

As long as you select the proper plywood and put it in an area suitable for its use, there is nothing wrong with doing so.

Should You Use Plywood for Baseboard?

Cleaning plywood baseboard

As we discussed, using plywood for the baseboard is possible, but is it the right choice? When we consider some potential problems, we see they are few but still worth reviewing.

Appearance: In many cases, you will paint a wood baseboard. That will limit the ability to know if you are using a prefabricated baseboard or if you created one out of plywood.

On the other hand, when you compare the finish of plywood with higher-quality baseboards, you may find that plywood is lacking. The pattern may show through when you paint it, and it will not be as smooth as the higher-quality hardwood.

You can overcome this problem to a certain extent by sanding plywood before painting. The type of paint you use and the quality primer can also be a benefit.

On the other hand, if you install baseboards in a high-end home or commercial structure, there may be better choices than plywood.

Cost: One of the primary reasons people choose plywood over another type of wood is the cost. Plywood is less expensive, but that is not true across the board.

If you are trying to save money and coming in close to budget, then plywood can offer options that may be less expensive than other baseboards. On the other hand, the initial installation is only one consideration.

Will you save money by installing plywood baseboards? Yes, and perhaps that is enough for you. When you consider the longevity and durability of plywood, however, another possibility comes into view:

Durability: When you compare most baseboards with plywood, you will find plywood is less durable. If it is scuffed or anything bumps up against it, it will likely scratch or dent.

In addition, plywood is likely to warp over time. Warping can be a problem, requiring a little more work to overcome.

If you use wood glue or some other construction adhesive and nail things more closely together, you may find that plywood lasts a long time. On the other hand, if you are looking for something as durable as solid wood or MDF, you aren’t going to find it in plywood.

Installation: Finally, it is not going to be as easy to install a plywood baseboard when you compare it with installing solid wood or MDF.

Plywood is inherently difficult to work with, requiring that you pay attention to details for things to turn out well. Unfortunately, you can install plywood, and it will look beautiful when the project is finished, but the baseboard will likely be less than beautiful within a few months or years.

These problems that we discussed are only some of the considerations. Plywood can make beautiful baseboards, but you need to know what you are doing and you need to take the appropriate precautions so things work out well.

What Preparations Do You Need to Use Plywood for Baseboard?

Wooden plywood for baseboard

To make plywood suitable for baseboards, you should prepare things in advance. Preparation is truly the key to success in this case.

Consider taking the following steps to ensure you are happy with the finished project.

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Plywood Choice: One of the most important things to consider is the type of plywood you use. Consider the thickness of the plywood, along with the surface.

At a minimum, you would need at least 1/2 inch plywood. It would even be better if you could use thicker plywood.

In addition, consider the different grades of plywood and choose an appropriate one. Using high-grade plywood will keep the defects to a minimum.

On the other hand, you could save some extra money if you use lower-grade plywood. The lower grades are less expensive but have more defects, including knots that could fall out.

There is additional work involved when you use lower-grade plywood. You are likely to have more joints, and they are more likely to show with plywood than with other types of baseboards.

Measure and Cut: It is important to measure carefully and install the baseboard as tightly as possible to the area.

In addition, when you rip the plywood to the size and shape you want, you need to consider the possibility that it will splinter in the process.

PRO TIP: Rip the plywood with a table saw using a fine tooth blade. Make sure the front of the baseboard is on top, and use painter’s tape to cover the area that will be cut to minimize splintering.

Even after you cut the plywood to the right shape and size, you may still need to sand down the edges. Doing so will provide a seamless finish.

How to Use Plywood for Baseboard

Wooden plywood for baseboard

Installing plywood as a baseboard is a relatively straightforward process. It is still something that requires specific steps to be taken, including the following:

1. Use Adhesive: It is a good idea to use construction adhesive when installing baseboards. In the case of plywood, it is essential.

Plywood tends to warp, especially if it is exposed to moisture. Warping could pull the baseboard away from the wall, but construction adhesive will hold it in place.

2. Attach Properly: Finishing nails can be used to attach plywood baseboards to the wall. It is best to secure them in the area of a stud or low enough that they hit the bottom plate.

In addition, you can toenail the board by nailing in at an angle in both directions. Toenailing will help to hold the baseboard in place.

Since drywall inherently wants to pull away from the wall over time, it is better to nail it more frequently than you would for a standard baseboard.

3. Primer: It is essential to use a quality primer. Choose a primer appropriate for the type of paint, either acrylic or oil base.

Resist the urge to apply multiple layers of primer. If you use a quality primer and give it one good coat, it will keep the paint from soaking in and exposing the grain patterns.

4. Paint: Although it may be possible to use stain or polyurethane, it is better to paint plywood baseboards. Use quality paint, and choose low VOC to minimize off-gassing.

PRO TIP: If you choose a paint with primer mixed in, you should still put a coat of primer in advance. Those paints are more of a gimmick, although they can cover well if they are high quality.

5. Finish: Use a wood filler to fill seams or nail holes. These can be sanded down until they are smooth.

To make the look as seamless as possible, add primer in the areas where you used wood filler and give the entire baseboard one final coat.

Plywood can easily be used to make custom baseboards. It is inexpensive and easy to work with. If you prepare the area and install the baseboard properly, the finish will last a long time.

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