How to Install Quarter Round Molding with or Without Nails

How to Install Quarter Round Molding with or Without Nails

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Quarter round molding is very useful in hiding the gaps between pieces of wood, such as baseboards and flooring. It is commonly attached to the walled corners of wooden flooring to provide an elegant finish to the edges.

It can get a little complicated to install given the type of wood used and the angles to be covered. While it is commonly attached using a nail gun, it can also be fixed using other materials such as glue.

Below, let’s take a look at the different methods of installing quarter round molding.

How to Install Quarter Round Molding with Nails

The most common way to install quarter round molding is using nails. You can either do this manually or use a nail gun.

Method #1: Using a Hammer

Let’s start by looking at the manual method:

  • Step 1: Sweep the dirt and debris off the wall. Ensure that the surface is clean, including the edges of the wall where the molding will be placed.
  • Step 2: Cut the molding to fit the length of the baseboard. To do this, lay the entire molding against the baseboard and use a pencil to mark the edges of the baseboard. This indicates the corner of the wall. Take your marked quarter rounds and use a miter saw to cut at the marks. Place your miter saw at a 45-degree angle to make the cut. Make sure that the adjacent quarter round has an opposite 45-degree cut so the two pieces come together without any gaps. For creating a straight joint between two quarter rounds you can cut at either 45 degrees or 30 degrees in the opposite direction.
  • Step 3:  Lay the quarter round flush against the wall. Make sure to support the molding securely against the wall or the corner.
  • Step 4: Point a 1-1/4-inch nail at the middle of the molding (I wrote more about choosing the right nail size for this task here). This should be placed around 2 inches from the edge. Hold the nail so it is parallel to the floor. Hammer the nail through the quarter round into the baseboard. You should stop hammering when about 18-inch of the nail is sticking out. Now grab your nail setter and align it with the top of your nail. Hammer the nail setter until your nail is all the way inside the round.
  • Step 5: Continue hammering the remaining nails around 2 feet apart from the first, until you have covered the length of the baseboard. Make sure you nail the quarter round to the wall and not the floor. The nails should be driven all the way into the quarter round so there’s a slight hole left on the quarter round
  • Step 6: Cover the nail holes with wood putty. Allow the putty to fully dry
  • Step 7: Once completely dry, sand the wood putty lightly, and then paint the wood, if needed, to blend the color with the rest of the rounds.

Method #2: Using A Nail Gun

When using a nail gun, Instead of using a nail set and nails, you can attach the kind of nail you want on your gun and use it to drive the nails across the quarter round. Make sure that you position your nail gun at a 45-degree angle and insert your first nail starting from the corner of the flooring.

This method makes the process of nailing much easier and requires less effort and precision from the worker. Overall, however, it is similar to the previous method.

Quarter Round Molding

How to Install Quarter Round Molding with an Adhesive (Without Nails)

In case you don’t want to or cannot work with nails for one reason or another, your next best option is to use an adhesive. The process is fairly simple:

  • Step 1: Clean the area. This is especially important when using this method since the adhesive won’t stick properly unless the surfaces are perfectly clean.
  • Step 2: Measure the quarter round and cut it to fit the length of your baseboard.
  • Step 3: With medium-grit sandpaper, scuff the side of the quarter round that will be set against the baseboard. You should make roughly 5 strokes. Make a similar number of strokes on the baseboard side where the quarter round will go. This will improve adhesion between the two pieces.
  • Step 4:  Apply adhesive or glue evenly on the scuffed side of the quarter round.
  • Step 5: Attach the quarter round along the baseboard and press tightly. Hold the molding against the baseboard for at least a minute to allow the pieces to bond strongly.
  • Step 6: Clean up the mess. Use a damp sponge or cloth rag to wipe off the excess glue at the seams of the baseboard and the quarter round.
  • Step 7: Repeat the steps above to attach the remaining quarter rounds to the baseboard.

Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks

When using quarter rounds, make sure you cut at the correct angles for corners and joints. Incorrect angles can cause quarter rounds to protrude or look messy. For a regular 90-degree angle you should cut your two molding pieces at 45-degree angles at opposite sides, however for less sharp corners, for example, a 45-degree corner, the angle will be halved to 22.5 degrees.

In addition, it is likely that despite cutting along the correct degrees, there is a minor gap between the two pieces. This is usually the case when working on older baseboards which are likely to contract or expand with wear and tear. In such cases, use wood putty to fill the gaps. Save the last coat of paint for the end, so that it covers all blemishes and minor color differences between the putty and the quarter round.

When using glue it is likely that the glue will ooze from the edges or joints in the baseboard. Make sure that any excess glue is immediately wiped off before allowing the pieces to dry. You would also need to scuff the rounds carefully with sandpaper to matte out any protrusions in the wood.

Frequently Asked Questions About Installing Quarter Round Molding

Lastly, let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about installing quarter round molding.

Should You Glue or Nail Quarter Round Molding?

You should ideally use a nail gun for a long-lasting finish. This is because nailed quarter rounds are more sturdy and durable than glued quarter rounds. In addition, poor quality adhesives can lead to chipping of the molding along the corners of the wall.

Can You Use a Brad Nailer for Quarter Round Molding Installation?

Yes, you can use brad nails for installation. These are generally thinner than regular nails with a narrower head, which makes them easy to hide on the wood. They also create smaller holes that can be covered.

Should You Caulk Around Quarter Round Molding?

Caulking is not essential when installing the quarter round molding, but it helps to give a clean finishing touch to the quarter rounds. You should use caulk where there are visible thin lines or gaps between the quarter round and the baseboard. Since caulk also contains adhesive, it strengthens the bond between the board and the quarter rounds, making the installation more durable.

Caulking is not recommended for larger or roughly shaped gaps or dents, which are better camouflaged using wood putty.


While you can use both nails or adhesive to attach quarter rounds, both methods require a different type of expertise.

When using an adhesive, you have to ensure that the bond between the pieces is strong by scuffing the two surfaces properly and ensuring that the high-quality glue is applied evenly across the surface. In contrast, using a nail gun requires more steps to create a clean finish. You need to make sure that the nail holes are completely covered and camouflaged by the paint or wood finish.