How Far Should Trim Be Off The Floor For Carpet?

Wall-to-wall carpet provides affordable, comfortable flooring and is one of the most commonly used floor coverings worldwide.  As you are preparing to carpet your floor, the question of trim may arise. How far above the floor should your trim be installed to accommodate a layer of carpeting? We have looked into this query and done the research to give you an accurate and straightforward answer.

If you plan to install your trim, including baseboards, before carpeting, you will need to leave adequate space.  A minimum of 3/8" between the floor and the bottom of the trim is typically necessary. However, you may need a gap of up to an inch, depending on what carpet and padding are installed. For best results, get an idea of how thick your carpet and padding will be, and install your trim accordingly.

There are differing opinions of whether trim should be installed before or after carpet. There are pros and cons to consider with each method. As you continue to read, we would like to explore the different options you have and learn more about installing trim.

Carpet installer cutting the excess carpet

How far should the baseboard be off the floor?

As discussed above, baseboards are typically installed between 3/8" and 1" from the floor to accommodate carpet. Baseboards are often mounted level with the bottom edge of the drywall, which is kept 1" from the floor. This keeps both the drywall and the trim up out of the way of any spills or water leaks.

Although this is the standard method, most carpet manufacturers have trim recommendations tailored to their specific carpets. Try checking to see if your carpet comes with these types of instructions, and follow the guidelines provided.

How Far Should Trim Be Off The Floor For Carpet

How high should trim be for carpet?

Trim will usually follow the same rules that we laid out for baseboards earlier in this article. The term trim includes door casings, baseboards, and any molding that will come in contact with the floor. They should be kept 3/8" to 1" above the floor if installed before the carpet is laid or according to the manufacturer's instructions. Ideally, any trim should be flush with the carpet when the project is complete.

Do you put trim down before carpet?

There are conflicting opinions on this, but the trim is usually installed before the carpet. Most trim will need to be finished after installation by either painting or staining as well as caulking. Installing the trim before the carpet will greatly simplify the process, as there will be no carpet to protect and cover.

Carpet installer folding and inserting the excess carpet

Laying dropcloth and taping off edges can be painstaking, so most builders put in the trim before the carpet. However, it may be best to lay down your carpet tack strips before securing the trim.

Can I Put Trim Down With Existing Carpet?

Yes, you absolutely can. While most people prefer to install the trim first, there is nothing wrong with putting trim in later. Some workers prefer this method as it makes carpet installation easier. It also ensures that the trim fits snugly against the carpet. The only downside to doing this is that great care will need to be taken to protect your carpet when painting or staining the trim.

If you choose to put trim down after your carpet, you may find this article helpful! How To Paint Baseboards With Carpet? [7 Steps]

Does door trim go to the floor?

Door trim and casing do indeed go to the flooring, whether it is carpet or any other type of floor covering. If you plan to install your door casing before installing your flooring, you will need to leave a gap wide enough to accommodate whatever flooring you plan to use. For carpet, this is typically 3/8" to 1" between the floor and the door casing. The goal is to have your trim butt neatly up to the flooring when it is finished.

Unrolling new carpet in the living room

How do you fill the gap between carpet and baseboards?

Although builders try their best, there may occasionally be a gap between the carpet and the baseboards. While this isn't the end of the world, it can be unsightly if the gap is wide enough. There are a couple of different methods that can be utilized to hide or camouflage this gap. There are also a few products that can be installed to cover it. Let's look a some of these in detail.

Quarter Round Or Base Shoe Moulding

Quarter Round Or Base Shoe Moulding on the wall behind a white trash can

Typically, quarter-round or base shoe molding is used to cover a gap between the baseboards and flooring. This is true for carpet, hardwood, tile, laminate, and any other type of flooring. Quarter round and base shoe molding are both strips of decorative molding, but they differ slightly in appearance.

Install the trim of your choice along the bottom edge of your baseboards, flush with the carpet. Ironically, this can add a nice depth and improve the look of your baseboards in general.

Check out this flexible base shoe molding on Amazon.

Quarter Round Cord Cover

This innovative option can really be helpful in any area that you have electronics installed. Hollow quarter round is a unique solution that covers both the gap and any unattractive, albeit necessary, cords. An added bonus is that it comes with accessories to go around corners and couplings to ensure easy installation. Perhaps the best part is that this quarter round is self-adhesive so that anyone can install it!

Click here to find this cord-hiding quarter round on Amazon!

Add Extra Padding Underneath The Carpet

The addition of extra padding along the edges of your carpet can raise the carpet enough to hide any gap. The carpet will need to be pulled up, out from under the baseboard, and off of the tacking strip. Cut a strip of padding to tuck underneath the baseboard, and then reinstall the carpet. Be sure that you secure the carpet onto the tack strips, and be careful to avoid damaging your baseboards.

Fill With Caulk

Another alternative is to fill the space between your carpet and baseboard with caulk. This is only recommended if the gap is less than 1/4 inch and you are competent in using a caulk gun. Look for paintable caulk at your home improvement store so that you can carefully paint it to match your baseboards. Fill the space with a thin bead of caulk, taking care not to overflow onto the carpet. 

Remove The Baseboards And Get New Ones

Cutting excess carpet in the installation process

Sometimes, a very big gap is left behind when a homeowner chooses flooring that differs dramatically from the previous flooring. If the gap is too wide to fill with any of the methods mentioned above, you have one last option. You can remove your baseboards and install new ones. However, you will need to purchase baseboards taller than the old ones so that any mess left by the old baseboards will be covered. 

If you need help deciding what baseboards would be best for your space, take a look at this article: 5 Types Of Baseboards For Your Home.

In Closing

As we have seen, installing baseboards and trim before carpeting is the norm for most builders and DIYers alike. Leaving adequate space between the floor and baseboards will certainly make laying down the carpet much easier. We hope that this has been helpful and informative as you prepare to install your carpet and trim.

As you continue with your carpeting project, you may find it helpful to look over this article as well: Should Carpet Go Under Baseboard?

working installing new carpet showing tools. How Far Should Trim Be Off The Floor For Carpet

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