Best way to lay hardwood along railing base

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Old 04-01-19, 10:30 PM
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Best way to lay hardwood along railing base

I'm installing 3/4" hardwood flooring in my house, and I've reached a point where my rows of hardwood are going to run along the rectangular base of a railing. I'm not sure what the best way would be to run the hardwood planks along that railing base, which is about 12 feet long.

My first concern is that there is about a 1/4" difference in width along the length of that railing between my row of hardwood and the railing base. My intent was to rip the boards to the proper width, face nail, then take a small piece of quarter round and run it along the railing base, over the cut edge of the row butting against the railing base so it would hide the cuts. But when I looked at it today, the height of the flooring is almost as high as the railing base (see second picture, that is a scrap of flooring held against the white railing base so you can see the difference in height) and in one place because of slight variations in the levelness of the subfloor, the hardwood floor is just about even with the height of the railing base.

I'm no carpenter, but I'm looking for ideas as to how I should run my hardwood along the base of the railing and ideally be able to "cover" the cut hardwood edge along the railing.

Thanks!
 
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Old 04-01-19, 11:10 PM
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The best thing to do is to use a router -or palm router- to undercut the base rail so that your flooring fits into the notch and still has room along the edge to expand. For example, a 1/2" deep notch that would allow the flooring to sit 1/4" inside... with 1/4" of clearance.

2nd best... stay 1/4" away from the base rail and apply a moulding over the edge that is rabbeted to fit over both surfaces. Nail only to the base rail.

BTW, where's your rosin paper?
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Old 04-02-19, 12:54 AM
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Thanks for your time......again!

The planks are glued and nailed to the subfloor, so i didn't use rosin paper, per the instructions in the box that came with the wood and the recommendation of the flooring guy who sold me the hardwood.

Could you explain the 2nd best option, but type slowly for me. I'm not understanding how the molding would interact with the plank that is 1/4" off the base of the railing or what type of molding to even use?

If you're so inclined, the 1st option......I do own a router and could probably figure out how to cut a notch. However, if I'm understanding you correctly, the notch I would have to cut into the railing would leave a really thin layer of wood hanging over the plank, right? I'd be concerned it might break if someone stepped on that area? Also, rightly or wrongly, I have the tongue of the plank "pointing" toward the base of the railing as that is the way the floor is laid in that area. How would I get the ripped plank under the notch and it's groove into the tongue of the existing planks?

Thanks!
 
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Old 04-02-19, 04:05 AM
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A rabbit is where you remove wood from some of the back so there is a lip - thicker on the side that goes over the flooring and thinner where it goes over the base for the balusters. That allows that piece of wood to set flush/level over the 2 pieces. The rabbit can be made by either two passes on a table saw [1 on the backside and 1 at the edge] or with a router.
 
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Old 04-02-19, 09:57 AM
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Not knowing what is on the other side of the hallway or room layout, that railing bottom tread probably should have been the starting point of the floor since you want a nice straight edge between them.

Attempting to use a router to undercut the bottom tread is probably not going to work since the edge is so close to the post I doubt the router will be small enough to get around!

Plus you still have the taper to deal with so every board would need to be ripped to fit.

I also think a trim piece is probably the best option at this point!
 
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Old 04-02-19, 10:14 AM
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Here is a video on cutting a rabbit with a table saw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iFAm1d-rhQ
 
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Old 04-02-19, 11:40 AM
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Rabbits have long ears and a tail.

Sounds like you may be leaning towards trim. If you make a trim piece to cover the joint, the rabbet joint would be similar to the transition you made, except it would be sitting on top of both surfaces. Depending how you make it, you could also conceal any taper with it.

A simple way to cap the edge would be to use some 1" outside corner trim and just rip one side of the outside corner shorter. Paint it white and shoot it on after the floor is done.

Back to routering... a router will work, and the clearance around the post is why I mentioned a palm router (laminate trimmer) since they are far smaller you can get closer. Several passes with a 3 wing bit would probably work best if you go that route... (a rabbet bit might be a little hard/heavy on a palm router) and tapers just go with the territory, nothing unusual about that.

Routering is best because it looks the cleanest, but yes, it's harder to do. Go with whatever seems best to you.

I​​​​​f you are worried about your skill or the time it will take, go with the outside corner moulding. But get the 1", not the 3/4. The 1" covers 3/4" while the 3/4" only covers 1/2". You want the wider one in order to cover your expansion gap and still have something left to nail into.

Regarding your question about breaking, it can't break because your flooring fits under it tight. So stomp on it all you want. Not like anyone steps on the edge there anyway.
 

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Old 04-03-19, 03:25 PM
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All through X-sleeper, thanks for your time. I appreciate the help. Sorry for the delayed response as I had to head out of town on a trip.

I'm away from home right now so I can't play with the router, but I think some sort of trim piece will be the best solution for me so I can hide my cut. My fine carpentry skills are just not there, as much as I try ; ) I am concerned that if I screw up with the base of the banister and the router, I'll have to start another thread on how to repair the base of a banister.

Marksr thanks for the YouTube video on the rabbet. That I can do.

Marq1, yes, in hindsight, I probably should have started at the railing. Rookie error. One of many : )

Xsleeper, I get how to cut a rabbet, but I don't get what TYPE of molding to use, and how the molding would interact with the base of the railing and the wood floor when I cut the rabbet into the molding. Is there a link to a picture you could show me?

I do get the outside corner piece, though. I attached a picture. You mean do it like the picture, right? Now that I have thought about it a little bit, would a ripped down piece of quarter round work too? Not sure which would be better? If I do the outside corner molding and someone stepped on it (unlikely, but I have teenagers), would nailing it like I have it in the picture be enough to hold it in place?

Thanks
 
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Old 04-03-19, 03:29 PM
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First you'd fill the gap with flooring, then you'd install the molding with the thin part setting on top of the rail base. Most any molding will work although the thinner it is the better it will look imo.
 
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Old 04-03-19, 03:37 PM
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No. It is the right shape but it sits on TOP of the base rail and on top of the floor. That's the whole point of the rabbet. Your flooring would be much closer to the base rail. And ideally you would nail it to the base rail.

If you are making your own, cut it out of a 1x2 that is 1/2" thick and put an 1/8" roundover on the top corners. Or use the corner moulding.
 
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Old 04-03-19, 03:54 PM
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Like this right? The thing I don't "like" is that now I'm going to have a lip of wood resting on top of my railing base along the whole length. Isn't that going to look weird?
 
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Old 04-03-19, 03:58 PM
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Nope. That's exactly how a rabbeted panel moulding would work. But you don't exactly want to draw attention to it with a fancy moulding like that. But do it however you like... your house.
 
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Old 04-03-19, 04:06 PM
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Nope it won't look weird you mean? Wouldn't look weird to me but what do "other" people think? Some day I'll have to sell the house : )

If I ripped down quarter round, would this work? The picture isn't exact but if I made the quarter round extend far enough over the flooring plank to nail it and maybe used construction adhesive on the back of the quarter round to help it stay in place, would that work?
 
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Old 04-03-19, 04:11 PM
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No it won't look weird. No one would look at it twice.

If you like your other idea, use base shoe, not quarter round. Or just use lattice and round one corner slightly.
 
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Old 04-03-19, 04:21 PM
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Which do you think would be best, base shoe or the corner molding? As far as durability and appearance goes? I don't know which would be better. I'll go with what the pros say : )
 
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Old 04-03-19, 04:29 PM
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Don't know. With those crazy giant plugs around your newel post, maybe your base shoe (or round some lattice) would be best.
 
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Old 04-03-19, 04:52 PM
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Funny you should mention those plugs. Never even noticed them before, kind of like you were saying about no one would really notice the outside corner trim riding along the base of the banister. I guess those plugs cover screw heads? Not sure. The builder put those on there.

Anyway, I've used up enough of everyone's time. I appreciate the help. Now it's time to stop talking about it and just start cutting wood when I get home : )
 
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Old 04-03-19, 05:43 PM
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Never even noticed them before
So typ of any detailed job, like your floor!

You are fixated on the details, sweating out how everything goes together, worrying how it looks.

A few months from now it will all be a blur, the details you sweated over will almost be forgotten.

You have eyes on the project so difficult to say what exact piece of trim will work best.

Buy a few samples, lay them out, make from scratch, modify existing!

Its what makes a job fun (in a sick way)!
 
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Old 04-03-19, 06:45 PM
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Yeah, I'll have to admit I am enjoying learning this stuff, even if it comes out less than perfect. I'm going to play with both options and just see how it goes. And in reality, I'm going to play with both options, see what my wife says, and do what she says, of course.
 
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