Purpose of Relief Cut on Back of Baseboard Molding

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Baseboard moldings always have a cutout on the back side. What is its purpose?
Is it there to relieve cupping stresses? Or maybe to just allow for flat placement over imperfections in the wall? Anyone know the actually reason for this?
I'm not asking for guesses or speculation. I'm sure someone out there actually knows this info.
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-MIKE-

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Yes, and yes. Backing out makes sure the edges of the trim contact the wall, even if the wood cups.
You'll still have to caulk it in, but not so heavily as if it wasn't backed out. *Light* bead, lay down with a wet finger, goes fast.

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On 11/25/10 7:54 PM, Father Haskell wrote:

Thanks.
I really hate caulking trim. To me, nothing says, "No one involved took any pride in their work," like caulking the seems between wall and trim.
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In a perfect world walls are flat, baseboard is straight... in a perfect world. That is why I use 3M hotmelt and silicon to attach baseboard. A good push and it follows the wall (mostly) and no nail holes to fill. Then, as small a bead as possible because I think a filled gap looks better than a gap unfilled. <G> Make sure the fill gets painted the same colour as the wall.
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On 11/25/10 9:45 PM, Robatoy wrote:

Used to be, in an average world, walls were straight. There were straight in my previous house, because I built it. The drywall sub even asked me to straighten out some bent studs.... in the closet, no less. How's that for wanting a quality finish. Who would do that? 90 percent of contractors would just sheet right over it a bend the drywall. There's no excuse for some of the curving I see in new homes around here. Correction... there are lots of excuses... none of them valid, imo.
Most baseboard bends enough to follow the wall. Unfortunately curving baseboard is more apparent than curving drywall. Filling the troughs makes the baseboard look straight, but still shows the imperfection on top.
I had to do that with some crown on a house that had waves on both axes. Big dips down and waves in and out, seemingly between each stud. It would've looked horrible to follow those waves with the crown. I used hotmelt, too. It's great for securing corners and I'm in favor of fewer nail holes, as well.
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On 11/25/2010 8:07 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

I was kind of wondering about that. I've never caulked any trim on.
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Steve Barker
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On Thu, 25 Nov 2010 21:54:21 -0600, Steve Barker

Yeah, caulked 1/2" gaps just don't scream "craftsperson", do they?

I hate the black line between trim/cabinetry/walls and invariably caulk it even it it's nicely even and tight.
-- Education should provide the tools for a widening and deepening of life, for increased appreciation of all one sees or experiences. It should equip a person to live life well, to understand what is happening around him, fo to live life well one must live life with awareness. -- Louis L'Amour
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A neat caulking job SHOWS pride in your work. Cut the very tip of the nozzle, just enough to lay a pencil-lead wide bead, run the caulk fast, then hit with a wet finger. You don't notice the caulk, you notice that the trim and wall look like one piece.
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On 11/26/10 4:54 PM, Father Haskell wrote:

I know how to caulk. I have no problem with a "neat" caulking job.
If you read my posts in context you'll understand I'm essentially referring to caulking to hide shitty work done by lazy workers.
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Caulking is a HACK job. I don't know of a decent build house that has caulk in the trim.
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If the trim guy uses caulk, it's a hack, if the painter uses it, it's part of the finish.
I am 100% with C-less that the black shadow line looks way worse than a skilfully applied fill in that gap. The bitch I have with caulking, is that too many schlock trim carpenters use it as a regular part of their installation procedure. But to leave the black gaps is the worse of two evils, IMHO.... and I have never been in a house where a little dab here and there didn't make it look better.
On the topic of caulk, less is more. I use a piece of formica from a sample chain, the ones with sharp corners, to level the top of the caulk with the edge of the baseboard....never do I leave a radius. Also, the caulking gun tip is cut square at the smallest possible opening and 'pushed' as it dispenses, as opposed to 'pulled'. I get compliments all the time about how little I use and how bloody awesome I am at caulking...<G> Of course, I use the Festool of caulking guns, none better than these: http://preview.tinyurl.com/23lhbev Having done a lot of countertops in the last 25+ years, you get to do a lot of caulking.
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wrote

If the trim guy uses caulk, it's a hack, if the painter uses it, it's part of the finish.
I am 100% with C-less that the black shadow line looks way worse than a skilfully applied fill in that gap. The bitch I have with caulking, is that too many schlock trim carpenters use it as a regular part of their installation procedure. But to leave the black gaps is the worse of two evils, IMHO.... and I have never been in a house where a little dab here and there didn't make it look better.
I dont think I have ever seen a perfect trim board, the wall can be perfectly straight and the trim board will need the caulk anyway.
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On Fri, 26 Nov 2010 05:52:52 -0800 (PST), Robatoy

FINALLY, something we agree on. ;)

Ayup.
Hmm, I'll have to try that. I think it'd look better than even a small radius.

Ayup, push whenever possible for pre-finished beads and much less overflow/bypass.

I like these: http://fwd4.me/pqk Damned good guns. Open, for the style of caulk we use in the USA.

I've gotten a lot more practice as a handyman than I did before. And I have new tools for finishing it.
http://fwd4.me/pqg These are PERFECT for tub-to-tile junctions.
http://fwd4.me/pqh These are better for the cabinet-to wall joints.
And a damp rag to swipe the walls afterward creates the perfection we're all after.
-- Education should provide the tools for a widening and deepening of life, for increased appreciation of all one sees or experiences. It should equip a person to live life well, to understand what is happening around him, for to live life well one must live life with awareness. -- Louis L'Amour
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Robatoy wrote:

-------------------------- AKA: Caulk scraper.
BTW, do you practice scary sharp on your Formica sample to keep the corners square?
Lew
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wrote:

We are finally allowed toobs of caulk <G> The IMF and World Bank said so. I prefer a T-bar over a hook (very minor point, really) The key with the gun you're showing is that they're die-cast handles and the barrel rotates. Features I like about the Cox. I'm sure I'd be happy with that one too.

Never seen those before, but look as handy as a pocket-on-a-shirt.

Those I have used. Not a fan, but they did get me out of trouble before.

Sounds like we should have a caulk-off. <G>
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On Fri, 26 Nov 2010 15:25:36 -0800 (PST), Robatoy

Alrighty, then.

Yeah, the cast-handled jobbers are much more powerful and you can be more deft in your application if you've a mind to.

Teeny slit in the corner makes for a poifect bead.

I especially like them for getting deep into corners.

I believe that's illegal in the USA. But carry on, if you like.
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wrote:

make it look better.
On the topic of caulk, less is more. I use a piece of formica from a sample chain, the ones with sharp corners, to level the top of the caulk with the edge of the baseboard....never do I leave a radius. Also, the caulking gun tip is cut square at the smallest possible opening and 'pushed' as it dispenses, as opposed to 'pulled'. I get compliments all the time about how little I use and how bloody awesome I am at caulking...<G> Of course, I use the Festool of caulking guns, none better than these: http://preview.tinyurl.com/23lhbev Having done a lot of countertops in the last 25+ years, you get to do a lot of caulking.
I have had a number of caulk guns over they years, expensive exotic ones. My favorite ones are the CHEAP Home Depot Orange ones. Those guns have an automatic pressure relief so that when you stop squeezing the handle the caulk stops coming out. No more laying the gun down for a sec and returning to find a pile of goo under the tip.
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I don't know of any quality installation that does not. If I had a painter that didn't, I'd be getting a different painter.
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DanG
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I don't know of any homes built that doesnt get caulk on painted trim. It give it the finishing touches. If the trim is white I always caulk after the walls have been painted. Been trimming for a long time and caulking has always been part of the finished job. No walls are straight and plum and there is nothing worse then trim running down a wood floor looking like a Railroad Track in the Rockies.
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but you can't make them THINK"
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Standard practice. That little inside radius does your trim painter a BIG favor, makes it easier for him to cut in without masking tape.
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