How To Nail Baseboards Without A Nail Gun

Baseboards can provide tidy trim between the wall and floor for a seamless border tying the room together. To get this finished look, you might install baseboards yourself. But if you don't have a nail gun, how can you nail the baseboards to the wall? We will provide you with our thoroughly researched answer on an alternative technique.

To nail baseboards without using a nail gun, you can use a hammer as an alternative. However, using a hammer might take patience and precision. Here is how to do it:

  1. Remove the existing baseboard.
  2. Measure the area and trim the new baseboard.
  3. Install the baseboard using a hammer.
  4. Finish the look by applying a baseboard adhesive.

Please keep reading if you want to know more detailed steps to install your baseboards using a hammer. We also have additional information to share that might help you out.

Interior designer properly placing gray PVC baseboard onto the wall, How To Nail Baseboards Without A Nail Gun

Nailing Baseboards Without A Nail Gun

Who said you couldn't perform a baseboard installation if you don't have a nail gun? With proper tools and materials, you can install baseboard and shoe molding to complete the look of your house. First, you will need to prepare:

  • Tape measure
  • Miter saw
  • Hammer
  • Nail set
  • Baseboard adhesive
  • 4-foot spirit level
  • Knife or cutter
  • Sandpaper
  • Pencil or chalk

Construction equipment's used for installing baseboards

Step 1: Remove the existing baseboard

For the first step, remove the existing baseboard using your knife.

Start by cutting the paint or adhesive of the trim. Do this step carefully and gently to avoid damaging the wall and floor as much as possible. Once you finish cutting the paint or baseboard adhesive, you can detach the trim.

And you can see that the nails remain on the wall. It would be best to use sandpaper to remove all the excess adhesive that will affect the installation of your new baseboard.

Step 2: Measure the area and trim the new baseboard

Worker measuring the side of the wall for baseboard

We consider this step the most demanding of all. It will take you a long time to do this procedure.

1. Measure the area and the baseboard trim

First, you have to get the measurement of the room. Add up the dimensions of each wall. Cut the baseboards with the exact measurement of the area you just measured. You can always cut the trim if they exceed too much on the wall's measurement. 

2. Select the material

You will now have to buy your new baseboard material. And to give you a little advice, you should purchase baseboard trim a little bigger or longer than what you need. That is to ensure that you will have an extra if your measurement is inadequate. 

3. Ensure a level floor

You will have to determine if the floor is level for this one. It is the most important thing you should consider. You don't want to leave a gap between the baseboard and floor. So, use your 4-foot spirit level to check if the floor is appropriately level. You can identify unlevel floor sections using the spirit level.

Ensuring that the entire area is level can help you install the baseboard correctly. In addition, you can achieve a visually appealing finish. 

Place the baseboard towards the lowest point of the wall. After that, trace the baseboard trim starting from the top of the baseboard up to every corner. Use chalk to make the markings. The purpose of these markings is to guide you in installing the baseboards.

4. Scribe the baseboard

Once you finish leveling, fasten it using two nails but ensure you set the base of the baseboard properly on the floor surface before doing so. 

Get a pencil and run it horizontally above the flooring and below the baseboard to start scribing. After that, you can now cut the baseboard according to the scribe you made.  

5. Measure and cut the outer corners

Worker installing a plastic corner for the baseboard

You now have to get the measurement of the outer corners. Prepare the miter saw and cut the miter joints.

We suggest you make a 90-degree angled outer edge. We don't want you to cut the exact 45-degree angle to ensure that you still have an extra size if you make a mistake. Also, it is okay to put an extra dimension since you can cut or trim it anytime until you get the correct measurements.

Last but not least, sand the baseboard before you attach it.

Step 3: Install the baseboard using the hammer

Once you finish preparing the baseboard and the area, you can now install it. Note that you should do this step carefully. 

1. Nail the baseboard to the wall

Fasten the baseboard to the wall using the finishing nails. If you want to execute it efficiently, you can use a stud finder. Additionally, you can conduct a knock test on the wall to determine the hollow areas between the studs.

Drive two finishing nails into each stud at the bottom of the baseboard. Do it at a downward angle with the nail set. Apply some adhesive to the holes. And wait for a few minutes until you notice that the adhesive is already dry. Lastly, flatten the baseboard adhesive using sandpaper.

Worker installing baseboards for the living area

To improve the bond at the outside corners, we suggest you put a small amount of wood glue. On the contrary, there is no need for you to put some at the inner corners if you think you installed the baseboard perfectly.

2. Attach the shoe molding

Get the shoe moldings that you will incorporate with your baseboards. Utilize pin nails to fasten them on your flooring. However, we suggest you clip the shoe molding on the baseboard, especially if you are toiling with a concrete floor. And if you find it doable, you can affix the cap molding to the studs.

Step 4: Finish the installation by applying baseboard adhesive

Once you finish attaching the molding, you will have to put adhesive on the gaps between it and the baseboard. Also, you need to apply some of it to any existing scratches and, most significantly, to the nail holes. It would be best to use your index finger to apply it evenly and control the amount you put when spreading it.

If you want to improve its appearance, you can opt to paint the baseboard or shoe molding.

Read more: "How to Paint Baseboards With Carpet? [7 Steps]."

Factors To Consider Before Buying A Nail Gun For Baseboard Installation

Worker using a brad nail in installing baseboard

There are various types of nail guns available on the market. And all of them differ in size, and each has its advantages. Any of these tools can help with installing baseboards. However, you must choose only one that works the best.

And among all those types of nail guns, a finish nailer works explicitly the best for baseboard installation. This nail gun utilizes nails that can firmly secure the baseboards. In addition, it uses 15-gauge and 16-gauge sturdy nails. 

Consider the factors below before purchasing one.

Pneumatic or Cordless

A pneumatic nail gun can provide accurate work, is cheap, and is powerful. Plus, it is lighter to hold. Using this will require you to buy an air compressor.

Check out this pneumatic nail gun on Amazon.

On the other hand, a cordless one uses batteries to operate but is handy enough since you don't have to use a hose and demands low to no maintenance. Another thing is that it has fewer parts that move when operating, unlike pneumatic. And fewer moving parts mean less malfunctioning.

Check out this cordless finish nailer on Amazon.

Remember that purchasing a nail gun will depend on your budget and needs. The better the features, the higher the price.


There are two firing modes of nail guns, and they are:

  1. Sequential
  2. Bounce fire

Sequential will require you to pull the trigger. And that will help improve the preciseness and safety of nailing. 

Bounce fire, on the contrary, can fire by just pressing the trigger down. Plus, it can shoot multiple nails simultaneously. 


Use a 23-gauge finish nailer if you will work with light trims. And 15-gauge to 16-gauge for crown molding and baseboard installation.

In addition, an 18-gauge finish nailer is ideal for maximum safety because they have balanced holding power and adequate hole measurement.

But since we are talking about baseboard installation, the best nail gun would be a 15 to 16-gauge nailer.


A product price is the most common factor that we always consider when we want to purchase something. 

As we all know, the more high-quality a product is, the higher it costs. Regardless, there are still available nail guns that include excellent features but are affordable. All you need to do is a bit of research and more patience until you find one. And most of them come from the newer brands. 

Wrap It All

Interior designer properly placing gray PVC baseboard onto the wall

Not having a nail gun to install your baseboards shouldn't worry you too much because you can use a hammer instead.

We hope that all the information above has helped you. Please feel free to browse our website or check out the articles below if you need more of our guidance.

How To Fill The Gap Between Baseboards And A Wall

How To Remove Nails From Wood – Without Damaging The Wood

Should You Glue Or Nail Baseboards? 

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