How to Cut Baseboard with a Miter Saw: A Complete Guide

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How to cut baseboard with a miter saw

A miter saw is an accurate tool used to make precise crosscuts and miters in a workpiece through pulling a large backsaw or a mounted circular saw blade down onto board using a fast motion.

That’s why they’re often referred to as drop saws.

In this guide, you will learn how to cut a baseboard using one of these powerful and accurate saws in a proper and safe way.

Types of Joints

But before we dive in, you have to know the types of joints that you can make in a baseboard, and we have 4 types of joints

Miter Joint

It is a joint that can be made by two beveled parts at 45 degrees that form a 90-degree corner

scarf joint in baseboard

Scarf Joint

It is a longitudinal joint that can be made by joining two tapered ends

coped joint in baseboard

Coped Joints

A special joint in which one end is a butt joint and the other end is trimmed and cut uniformly to fit on the first end

butt joint baseboard

Butt Joint

Simplest type of joints, you just join the two ends of the workpiece

How to Cut Baseboard Corner with a Miter Saw - Explained

Tools You’ll Need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask
  • Clamp (preferred option)
  • Crosscut saw

First Step: Cutting a Scarf Joint

  1. Search for the longest wall to make the job easier. If you have a baseboard molding that’s longer than the actual wall, you can start with just one baseboard.
  2. Carefully measure and then cut the baseboard at each end at 90 degrees so that they run into each side’s perpendicular wall.
  3. If you’re working with two pieces for your first wall, you can easily join them with a scarf joint. A scarf joint connects two 45-degree cuts on different boards.
  4. It’s a better option if you can cut and place the two boards in order for the scarf joint to be secured to the wall at a stud location.

  5. Begin with two pieces of baseboard with 90-degree cuts at opposing ends.

  6. To cut the scarf joint in the middle, position the first board in place and mark a 45-degree cut at a stud location.

  7. Then, use your miter saw to cut the end of the first board at a 45-degree angle and then smoothen it by sanding it.

  8. Make sure you don’t over sand. Hammer the baseboard in place with some finish nails and make sure their heads are exposed.

  9. Measure the other board and make sure to draw an accurate 45-degree cut from the board that you’ve already placed.

In one minute, this is how a scarf joint will be:
  • After you cut the second board, fit the two together. If there’s a slight bow, you can cut the end of the 90-degree cut again.
  • You can also run some wood glue on the angled joint and push the two baseboards together.
  • To make sure the scarf joint is secured, drive one nail toward the top of the base on a raised portion of the profile.
  • This also makes it easy to fill later, then, drive another nail toward the bottom and angle it down to the floor.
  • You can sink the rest of the other exposed nails with a nail set.

Second Step: Cutting an Inside Corner Joint

Where the baseboards meet an inside corner joint is a coped joint. You cannot make it a butt joint, as there will be a gap between the two pieces. So, you should make the coped joint because you won’t have any gaps.

  1. To create one, you should butt one piece of baseboard flush against the wall at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Then, set down the other baseboard molding face-down on the floor.
  3. Hold a scrap piece of baseboard molding perpendicular to the face-down board and trace its profile using a pencil.
  4. This serves as a trail for you to find a reference point to facilitate completing the coped joint.
  5. Cut along the profile to make a back bevel cut just short of the profile that is at least a 90-degree angle, around 1/16 an inch would be great.
  6. Finally, take off the back bevel that remains with your half-round and three-square files until the piece fits against the first one with no gap.
This video shows the exact steps on how to make an inside corner with the miter saw

Third Step: Cutting Miter Joints for Outside Corners

Measure, cut, and install the baseboard molding around your room.

Once you get to an outside corner, set the first piece in order for it to extend past the outside corner.

Mark it at the place where it will meet the other piece of the outside corner by placing your try square or combination square against the surface of the wall it meets.

Use a miter box or power miter saw to cut the baseboard at a 45-degree angle.

Make sure to mark the second piece the same way and test for fitting before you nail it in place. And don’t forget to put some wood glue before you join the two pieces

To close the corner, it’s best to use 1.25-inch or 1.5-inch brads.

When you reach the doorway, measure the distance between the wall and the door casing.

This piece will fit against the door casing with a 90-degree angle cut.

Best miter saw for cutting baseboard

Makita LS1018 10" Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw

The Makita LS1018 is designed in a way to give you every essential feature you need with an affordable price, we don’t want to go for those pricey miter saws, that’s why the makita is considered the best affordable miter saw for everything including baseboard cutting. It has a good cutting capacity and a powerful motor so you can cut nearly anything, from 4x4s, baseboard, framing and roofing.

makita miter saw
Use the wood glue to fill in holes and gaps in the baseboards, use wood filler. Let it dry completely before you sand off any excess. Finally, fill the cracks between the baseboard and the wall using a caulk along the top of the baseboards.
How to Cut Baseboard with a Miter Saw
Article Name
How to Cut Baseboard with a Miter Saw
Learn how to cut baseboard with a miter saw to create several cuts, miter cuts, coped joints and scarf joints
Publisher Name
Power Saw Expert
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