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6 Types of Shoe Molding You Should Be Familiar With!

Written by Willie Osgood

Among the most popular methods of providing your home with a finished look is shoe molding. Shoe moldings have been used for centuries to decorate rooms and hallways. They add a decorative touch.

There are many types of shoe molding. Each has its own pros, cons, and differences.

Here we’ll share with you the different types of moldings and which type is best for what application.

6 Different Types of Shoe Molding

1. PVC

Pros

  • Cleans up easier
  • Has a smoother look
  • Cheaper than wood molding

Cons

  • Plastic contains high levels of petroleum
  • Is not eco-friendly

Finish

You can gain a modern look in your home with PVC molding. It appears more smooth, and joins are hardly seen.

Painting vs staining

PVC has a slick surface and doesn’t take to paint very well. The paint tends to bead up and drips. You can buy paint designed for this type of surface. PVC is not suitable for staining.

Water resistance

PVC shoe molding is waterproof and safe for use in wet and moist areas.

Fire-resistant

PVC trim is a fire retardant.

Durability

PVC has the tendency to break and may crack. It also doesn’t expand well when the structure moves.

Weight

PVC shoe molding is lightweight and easy to carry.

When to use

This type of molding is good for the door, and window surrounds, deck skirting, fascia, and soft fit trim.

Average cost

You can buy PVC molding for between $3 and $5 per linear foot

PVC

2. Vinyl

Pros

  • It is easier to install
  • Has flexibility
  • Installs over crooked walls or askew angles

Cons

  • Attracts mildew in moist conditions
  • Environmental hazard with chemical content
  • It is difficult to remove or replace during renovations

Painting vs staining

Non-porous baseboards don’t stain easily because of their non-porous characteristics. The paint won’t adhere either. The color can get customized to match the color scheme in your home.

Water resistance

This material can go in any room that has exposure to water. Its waterproofing properties make it a popular choice for modern kitchens.

Fire resistance

It is a natural fire retardant polymer and safe for use in higher fire areas.

Durability

The durability is not very high and the molding may denteasily.

Weight

This type of molding is lightweight and suitable for transport as it can bend if needed.

When to use

You should keep vinyl in mind if you plan to trim outdoors, floors, or ceilings.

Average cost

Vinyl shoe molding is available for around $1.15 to $3.50 per linear foot.

shoe molding Vinyl

3. Medium-density fiberboard or MDF

Pros

  • Durable
  • Extra strong by bonding together with resin
  • Can handle scratches, foot traffic, and bumps

Cons

  • Unappealing to look at it
  • Cannot be stained

Painting vs staining

There is only one drawback – they do not stain well, limiting what shade they are available in. They can get painted.

Water resistance

MDF is slightly resistant to moisture. It is neither water-repellent nor waterproof and indirect contact with the elements will still swell and warp

Fire resistance

MDF fire retardant is a special low flame smoke developer and spreader. This is the better option to get instead of plain MDF with no fire-proof status.

Durability

This type is not very durable or strong but is resistant to all termites. You need to take care when handling and installing.

Weight

Regular weight and lightweight medium-density fiberboards are available.

When to use

The MDF is suitable for baseboards, different trim applications, and crown molding.

Average cost

This type of molding sells for $4- $6 for each eight-foot part.

Medium-density fiberboard or MDF

4. Polystyrene

Pros

  • There would be no need to use saws or lumbar to install
  • Unlike wood, they do not rot when exposed to humidity
  • Termites are no threat

Cons

  • Dentswhen bumped
  • Scratches easily
  • Limited to short lengths

Painting vs staining

Prefinished polystyrene trim is available and it can get painted if desired. You will not be able to stain the plastic as the stain does not adhere.

Water resistance

This product is water-resistant. It is not harmed when installed in moist and wet areas.

Fire resistance

Polystyrene is flammable, unfortunately.

Durability

Polystyrene foam is resistant to dampness as a result of its nature. This makes it ideal for damp environments.

Weight

Transport and installation of moldings are much easier thanks to their light weight.

When to use

Polystyrene is for indoor and outdoor use. This is ideal for small kickboards and trims above the flooring.

Average cost

You are looking at $2.00 to $3.00 per linear foot for this molding.

Polystyrene shoe molding

5. Wood

Pros

  • Wood is renewable
  • Flexible wood trim
  • Durable
  • Style yourself with a router

Cons

  • Constant moisture can cause rotting and mold growth
  • Costly
  • Will need painting or coating or the material won’t stay raw

Finish

The wood can give you a rustic, country look.

Painting vs staining

Painting or staining is possible. Wooden trims have the most elegant appearanceafter varnishing and aging.

Water resistance

This trim is not fully waterproof although protective coatings can offer some water protection.

Fire resistance

Wood is not fire-resistant and shouldn’t be in high-risk fire areas.

Durability

Wood trim needs repainting at least every 4-5 years. It is durable and solid when coated in polyurethane since the paint doesn’t offer as much durability.

Weight

These trims use lightweight woods like hemlock or pine.

When to use

It can get used to cover up gaps and edges to give areas a cleaner look and for ornamental molding features.

Average cost

A wood crown molding costs an average of $1 to $6 per linear foot

wood shoe molding

6. Polyurethane

Pros

  • Doesn’t rot, splinter, and crack
  • Stronger than wood
  • Insects are not attracted to polyurethane molding

Cons

  • Some types are a slightly softer wood
  • Candent easily
  • You cannot stain it

Painting vs staining

You can maintain the beauty of molding by painting it but remember that staining doesn’t work on this type of molding.

Water resistance

This material is highly waterproof. In fact, you can even place it in water for ages and it will remain fine.

Fire resistance

Polyurethane isn’t damaged by heat until temperatures reach 700 degrees.

Durability

This shoe molding is strong like wood and you don’t need to worry about damage or broken bits that need repairing.

Weight

In the case of polyurethane molding, the weight per meter is only 0.5 kg.

When to use

This material is suitable for any room in a home, especially for bathrooms and laundry due to its moisture resistance capability.

Average cost

To install polyurethane molding, you will have to pay $5 to $10 per linear foot

Polyurethane

6 Different Types of Shoe Moldingstandard vs Decorative Shoe Molding: Is There Any Difference?

There are two basic types of shoe molding: decorative and basic.

a) Decorative shoe molding

Decorative molding offers a variety of color, shape, and pattern options.

b) Basic shoe molding

Generally, basic shoe moldings are narrower and are not as flashy.

c) Shoe molding sizes

  • Length: show molding length comes in sections of 8 feet
  • Height: varies between 3/4-inch up to 1-inch in height
  • Width: varies from 7/16 inches to ½ inch

FAQs

1.   Do baseboards need shoe molding?

Ans. Shoe molding gets its name from the fact it is set at shoe level. You don’t always need shoe molding with baseboards; it’s a personal choice. The main goal of both baseboards and molding is to hide the transition from the floor and the bottom of the wall.

2.   Should shoe molding match the floor or cabinets?

Ans. Walls without cabinets have shoe moldings that match the floor as close as possible. Cabinets should match the shoe molding around them. I would also match the baseboards with the shoe molding if doing that around the baseboards.

3.   Should I paint shoe molding before installing?

Ans. Painting the trim before installing is what many experts advise. It’s an easy and fast method that can speed up the painting process.

4.   What color should shoe molding be?

Ans. Since white color dominates and it is quite neutral, most shoe molding is white. You can choose a custom color if you prefer.

About the author

Willie Osgood

An Avid Metalworker

Willie doesn’t really consider himself an artist, rather a craftsman involved in practical trades. Yet, most of his projects require him to make interesting and fine objects. Being the eldest son of a carpenter, his background is 100 percent rooted in crafting. He found the art of blacksmithing quite appealing since his teenage years… that fire, the sound of swinging hammers, and those long and shiny blades that came out as a finished product. Soon he literally became obsessed with metal – the way it moved, worked, and changed when heated or cooled.

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