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Do You Need Quarter Round with Vinyl & Laminate Flooring?

Quarter round is a molding that is used for covering up gaps in the flooring. The cross-section of this molding is a perfect quarter radius. It is produced in different types of wood and plastic. The best thing about the quarter-round molding is its flexibility.

What is quarter round for flooring?

Quarter round molding is like a frame for the flooring. Just how a frame gives a complete outlook to a piece of art, quarter-round molding completes the flooring. As you install flooring, there’s always a chance for it to expand or contract. 

Especially if it’s vinyl or laminate flooring, it is most likely to expand a little with time.

This is exactly why you leave some room around the edges. The quarter-round molding for flooring will cover the gaps while still keeping the room for expansion and contraction of the flooring. 

There are different types of quarter-round molding available but the best is wooden molding as it is more durable.

Do you need a quarter round with vinyl & laminate flooring?

You can use quarter-round molding with vinyl and laminate flooring but it is not compulsory. If there are gaps or imperfect corners around the flooring that needs to be covered, you can use the quarter-round molding. It helps to fill up the gaps and give a complete outlook to your place.

Quarter-round molding is not a necessity for every household. The main reason for installing quarter-round molding is to fill up the visible gaps between a wall or a baseboard and the flooring. 

Usually, it is recommended to leave some space on the sides of the flooring to keep room for expansion or contraction.

The expansion or contraction of the flooring depends on the climate and the construction of the building. If you live in a dry place where it’s never too hot or humid, there’s very little chance for the flooring to expand. 

And even it does, it’s often negligible. In this case, it’s okay to not use any quarter-round molding.

Also, the construction of a building depends on the stylistic choice of both the homeowner and the builder. If the builder recommends that no quarter-round molding is needed, it might be because it is designed in a way that the gaps are already covered.

So basically, you can install vinyl and laminate flooring without quarter-round molding. Whether or not to use quarter-round molding depends on the choice of the homeowner, building strategy, and the climate.

Why do you need quarter rounds with vinyl & laminate flooring?

You will need quarter rounds with vinyl and laminate flooring for the following reasons –

Secure the joints:

When the flooring is installed, it’s better to cover and secure the joints in the edges to prevent peeling off of the flooring. A wonderful way of doing this is by using quarter-round molding.

Fill up the gaps:

It is important to keep some gaps between the flooring and the wall or baseboards to leaving room for expansion or contraction. Especially if the climate changes a lot, most floorings expand or contract a little. 

While it’s nothing much, leaving some room can save you from the trouble of sudden swells or gaps. An effective and stylish way of filling up these gaps is by using quarter-round molding.

Keep moisture out:

Since there’s some room left on the sides of the flooring, there might be a chance of moisture building inside the gap between the floor and the flooring. 

As quarter-round molding seals these gaps, it helps keep the moisture out allowing you to enjoy seamless flooring for a long time.

Offer flexibility:

The flooring of your house may require the flexibility to expand or shrink. Quarter-round molding offers this flexibility. It also helps the flooring to sit properly on the floor. Even if the floor is not even, you can get a flawless finish with the help of the quarter-round molding.

Complete the look:

While in many cases it is important to leave the gaps around the flooring, the result looks unfinished and often doesn’t suit the room. You can avoid this unpleasantness by installing quarter-round molding. 

It will cover all the gaps and give your place a complete and warm look.

How to install quarter-round molding on vinyl & laminate flooring?

The following tips will help you to install a quarter round molding on vinyl and laminate flooring – 

Measure and cut the quarter round molding:

First, you need to measure the wall where you will be installing the molding. Take proper measurements and then cut the molding according to the length of the wall. Use a miter saw, handsaw or a circular saw to cut the molding.

Sand the edges of the quarter round molding:

As you cut the molding, it will end up with rough edges. It is better to smoothen them up for the perfect installation. You should use fine sandpaper (preferably 220-grit) to sand the edges of the quarter-round molding.

Apply adhesive and place the quarter round molding:

Now you can start the installation process. For this, use a good adhesive used for construction. Apply a thin layer of the adhesive on the back of the molding. Place the molding firmly against the wall or the baseboard molding. 

Make sure that the bottom part of the molding sits on the flooring.

Use nails to fix the quarter round molding:

Now it’s time to fix the molding with finishing nails. It is better to use a nailing machine to fasten the nails in every 8-10 inches of molding. If you’re using a hammer to fasten the nails, it is important to drill some pilot holes with the help of a power drill beforehand.

Once you’re done drilling the holes, put the finishing nails through them and secure them with a hammer until the nails reach the surface. Then use a nail set and the hammer to drive the finishing nail below the surface of the molding.

Use wood putty and caulks to fix any imperfections:

There may still be some gaps or stains on the molding after you finish installing. So in this final step, wrap up the installation by using caulks and matching wood putty to fix all the imperfections.

What size quarter round for vinyl and laminate flooring?

The size of the quarter-round molding mostly depends on the size of the wall or baseboard molding and the flooring. Typically, quarter-round molding is 3/4″X3/4″ in width and 8 feet in length

If you’re using molding for laminate and vinyl flooring, it is better to keep the expansion of the flooring in mind.

The quarter-round molding can cover up gaps according to their width. If you have a large gap to cover, you should go for the molding with a higher width. 

If the gap is small and you don’t want a wide molding, you can choose the quarter-round molding of 1/2″ or even less than that if available.

Is all quarter round the same size?

All quarter-round moldings are not of the same size. The most common size of a quarter-round molding is 3/4″ X 3/4″ in width and 8 feet in length. The width can be as less as 1/2″ and the length is available up to 16 feet.

The 8-feet moldings are most comfortable to use as they are easy to handle and cut. The 16 foot one is a good option if you want fewer joints. Choose the size of the quarter-round molding according to the size of your wall and flooring.

What can I use instead of quarter round to finish laminate or vinyl floor edges?

You can use shoe molding instead of quarter-round molding to cover up the edges of laminate or vinyl flooring. Because both the moldings are quite similar, the only difference is in the profile. Another way is to use a thick baseboard for the wall.

But thick baseboards are quite expensive and not as flexible as the quarter round. So if the gaps are too big and the walls are not perfectly straight, the thick baseboard may fail to cover every spot. At some point, some of the gaps can peek through ruining the whole concept of using it.

Final thoughts

You can use quarter-round molding to cover up any gaps between the vinyl or laminate flooring and the wall or baseboard molding. It is not mandatory for the flooring, but it’s a great way of filling up the gaps and fixing any imperfections around the edges of the flooring.