How to Nail Baseboards without a Nail Gun

How to Nail Baseboards without a Nail Gun? Technological advancement has marked the start of a new era, as we now have innovative tools like nail guns that most of us use to affix items on the wall. Today’s DIYers and other professionals have recognized the efficiency of nail guns for two main reasons: they can shoot nails fast, save you time, and are also safe to use.How to Nail Baseboards without a Nail Gun using Adhesive

Many DIYers fancy these units because of the sturdy construction that guarantees durability and longevity. But what if you lack this gadget at your disposal? You will need to know how to nail baseboards without a nail gun so that you won’t delay your project. 

Nailing baseboards without a nail gun is relatively easy. Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with this technique, as this guide highlights all the steps in detail. I’ll also take you through other alternative methods to attach your baseboards without using a nail gun. Stay with me…

Can you Install a Baseboard without a Nail Gun?

Baseboard installation can be a daunting task if you lack the right tool. But with a nail gun at your reach, it will save you from fatigue. However, these units can get faulty like any other power tool, limiting their usefulness. And for that reason, you need to search for alternative ways to install baseboards without a nail gun. 

There are many methods for this project, and all have robust configurations to attach your baseboard, given that a nail gun is not always satisfying. One of them is using adhesives. A good adhesive offers an excellent connection between the baseboard and the wall. It can also withstand a lot in places where a strong attachment is needed. 

The other option on this list is hammering manually. Even though this option takes time and effort, it allows you to control the nail depth, creating room for addressing mistakes. 

Is it Better to Use a Nail Gun or Hammer on Baseboards? 

Many building projects ranging from framing, roofing, and baseboard installation benefit from the drive power of nail guns and hammers. These tools are an advantageous invention. So if you want to nail your baseboards on the wall, the two options at your disposal are the nail gun and hammer. But which option outweighs the other? Find out below:

  1. Speed and force

    The disadvantage of using a hammer in baseboard installation is that you’re limited to manual labour and fatigue. It will take you time to drive a nail through the baseboard with a hammer because the process demands precision, and even the slightest mistake can mess with your job. 

    By contrast, nail guns drive nails at high speed, meaning you won’t endure arm fatigue. That’s the reason many professionals favor them. 

  2. Depth control

    Nailing a baseboard with a hammer allows you to regulate how deep the nail goes into the substrate, which is a benefit you can count on if you hammered incorrectly.

    However, the same doesn’t hold true for nail guns that shoot the nail into the surface in one shot. This can be a disadvantage, primarily if you nailed it incorrectly and you want to uninstall the nail. 

  3. Cost

    Ideally, nail guns are more expensive than hammers because they are equipped with contemporary features for efficiency. But the convenience you enjoy with these units is worth the investment. 

    Generally, nail guns bring much convenience in baseboard installation, courtesy of the advanced features. But if you’re on a budget, settle for hammers.

How to Nail Baseboards without a Nail Gun

Baseboards, like door casing, are an essential finishing touch that most interior rooms can’t survive without. One of their objectives is to conceal the gap between the wall and floor covering.

Baseboards are often installed with nail guns and hammers for a lasting connection. But that doesn’t mean that you have limited options for this project. Many other alternatives come in handy, but we will only touch on a few. 

Installing baseboards with adhesives

Below is a stepwise process illustrating the basics of installing baseboards without a nail gun. Check out: 

Step 1

You will first need to design your baseboards to fit where you will install them. This is done using a dedicated miter saw to trim 45-degree angles for the outside crevices.

Step 2

After achieving your desired cut and pieces, clean the baseboards properly with a damp cloth to wipe away surface impurities that can compromise adhesion. Wait for the boards to dry, then take your preferred construction adhesive or glue and load it on your caulk gun.

The caulk gun releases even pressure and control the oozing out of the glue to avoid applying excess. Apply a considerable amount of the construction adhesive to one side of the baseboard and inside corners until you cover the whole length while disregarding the edges. 

Step 3

Now that the baseboard is ready, position it against the wall at an angle and carefully press it to adhere. Apply some pressure on the baseboard for nearly 30 seconds so that the adhesive can hold firmly, then release. Avoid introducing impact on the glued baseboards as they might fall off. 

Some people use silicone caulk for this project and still obtain the same objective. But ensure you confer with your manufacturer to see which product suits baseboard installation. 

How Do You Manually Nail Baseboards?

Baseboards are arguably one of the defining elements of a room, despite their low lying position along the floor covering. Installing them manually is not easy, but it’s always good trying to manifest your creativity skills instead of hiring an expert, adding to the installation cost. 

This guide discusses each step deeply, So Stay with me and take notes as we unfold the steps involved in this process. 

Note: you will need the following tools to accomplish the job correctly. 

  • Hammer.
  • Adhesive ( optional)
  • Tape measure.
  • Miter saw.
  • 4-foot level. 
  • Compass. 

After obtaining the above supplies, it’s time to work on your project. Let’s start exploring. 

Step 1: Remove the existing Baseboard

Start by cutting through the dry caulking or paint with a sharp utility knife along the top edge of the baseboard. This step requires precision, and if you disregard it, you will likely damage the surrounding paint on the drywall. 

Next, insert a sizeable pry bar between the baseboard and the wall and gently loosen the baseboard. If this doesn’t work, use a smaller object like a screwdriver and follow the same technique. Once you pull the baseboard out, most of the existing nails should come with it, but if any remains on the wall, remove them with your hammer. 

Step 2: Measure and cut the baseboard

Take a tape measure and gauge the dimensions of the straight walls, rounding up slightly, especially if you’re a beginner. ( cut slightly more than usual for a tight connection)

Once you know the walls’ dimensions, purchase more baseboards than your measurements. 

Step 3: Establish your floor level

You will need to ascertain that the floors are level, or they will pop out of the baseboard at certain areas and appear unsightly. The best tool for this step is a 4-foot level. If you notice the floor is not aligned, use the 4-foot level to establish the lowest point in the room and pin a small piece of baseboard to the lowest point at the wall. 

Make horizontal marks starting from the top of the baseboard, ensuring you stay level to that line. After that, latch a chalk line above the horizontal marks to highlight where the top of the baseboards will stand during installation. 

You can now start measuring and cutting the outside corners of the boards. This step is critical, and you will need a power miter saw due to its ease of use and unmatched efficiency. 

If the wall’s corner meets at 90 degrees, cut the baseboards at a 45-degree angle and shape them to create an outside corner. If you’re unsure, make the cuts slightly longer than average, and you can also shorten the length if needed. 

Use a scraper to peel away any glue or caulking residue in the walls as they might interfere with the new baseboard installation. 

Step 4: Install the baseboard

Here comes an essential step. After preparing the baseboards, it’s now time to install them. 

Start by securing the baseboard in place using finishing nails. Then apply a few drops of adhesive in the joint where the boards intersect to form a better connection. Take Your hammer, position the nails along the mitered angle and gently dab the nails into the board. 

It would help if you didn’t nail any closer than ½ ” to the mitered angle to reduce the chances of splitting the wood. It’s also wise to pull back to check if the nail enters the board straight. If not, straighten it with the other side of the hammer and continue to dab the nail until it disappears. 

Lastly, you can paint the baseboards to compliment your room’s decor, then fill the nail heads with a wood filler to create a level surface. Also, remember to caulk the top edge of the baseboard so that it won’t come out easily. 

Should I Nail Or Glue Baseboards? 

Installing baseboards involves different techniques; among them is glue or nails. These techniques work exceptionally well, but if installed incorrectly, the baseboard can bend, flex, or fall off with time, needing complete replacement. 

So should you nail or glue baseboards? 

It’s best to nail baseboards instead of using glue because nails offer a tight fit and can be removed easily when installing a new one. Nails also offer little to no room for the boards to flex, and they last considerably longer. On the other hand, glue also provides a good connection, but it can damage the walls when removing the boards. 

Should I Nail Or Screw Baseboard? 

Both nails and screws can fasten baseboards to walls; therefore, choosing one over another is not always easy. In fact, even professionals are often divided on whether to nail or screw baseboard. 

Ideally, it’s wise to use nails when installing baseboards because they are more flexible under pressure than screws. Nails also work well for detailed work requiring structural joining; that’s why it’s a better pick in this case. This is not to say that screws are not handy; you can use them for temporary jobs and more delicate materials where nails can likely damage the surface. 

How Far Apart Should Nails Be On Baseboards? 

Baseboards are designed to hide the gap between the floor and the wall. They range from 3 to 6 inches in height but installing them can be difficult if you factor in wall and flooring contour problems. However, proper nail positioning can relieve these problems, making for a tight connection. 

First, You will need to use a stud finder to find two or more studs in your wall, then estimate the space between them. This will inform you of the spacing used around the home so that you can measure the rest of the wall and mark a nailing pattern. You should see the studs from the floor level if the wall is high enough, quickening the process.  

You will also want to mark the positioning of the studs with a pencil to know where to nail them. ( usually, 12 inches apart is sufficient for most baseboards.) 

Do Baseboards Need to Be Nailed into Studs? 

Successful baseboard installation calls for advanced skills such as knowing how to attach joints. You’ll often nail into studs, but it’s not necessary. Sometimes, a wall stud won’t be available, so you will need an alternative nailing technique to secure the baseboards without flexing. 

But if you opt to nail into studs, ensure the top nail hits the stud, whereas the bottom nail hits the floor plate, which is 1½” taller than the subfloor. 


Baseboards protect the junction between the wall and the floor where most dirt and moisture accumulate. These units install easily, especially if you have handy tools such as a nail gun. But one might ask how to nail baseboards without a nail gun. 

It’s possible to nail baseboards without a nail gun, and you can achieve that using a hammer. But before that, ensure you make use of the instructions in this guide to accomplish your baseboard installation.