Baseboard vs. shoe molding – Know the Right Differences

Gaps between floors and walls are filled with baseboards and shoe molding. They differ in terms of workspace, cost, and building materials. 

While shoe moldings are used to cover the gap between baseboards and floors, baseboards are used to cover the area between walls and floors. 

Baseboards are made from less expensive materials like wood and PVC; installing them is likewise less expensive. The moldings are created with wood, medium-density fiberboard, or polystyrene.

What is a Baseboard?

The baseboard is used as a middle section to cover the underside of the wall and the floor. It usually covers the joint area to increase the walls’ and floors’ elegance. 

Most of the time, two materials, plastic, and wood, are used as baseboards. Commercial buildings use plastic because of its low cost and high ductility, whereas wood is mainly used in residential buildings.

What Is Shoe Molding?

Shoe molding is a decorative material for residential buildings that match the print of the house or pair with baseboard to increase home elegance. 

Users insert the molds into the small areas between baseboards and floors so that no gap remains. Usually, three types of materials are used for molding: wood, medium-density fiberboard, and polystyrene.

What are the Differences between Baseboard and Shoe molding?

The difference between shoe molding and baseboards is mentioned below. 


Both baseboards and shoe moldings are created with different materials. Baseboards are built with two types of materials: wood and plastic. 

Often, oak and maple wood are used as baseboards because of their durability, whereas PVC ( Polyvinyl Chloride) is used as plastic baseboards. 

Shoe molding uses three different types of materials: wood, medium-density fiberwood, and polystyrene. 

Oak, ash, and walnut wood are used to create mold. Medium-density fiberwood is created by combining sawdust and resin.


Both shoe molding and baseboards are used to cover the gaps between walls and floors. To attach baseboards, users don’t need to use molds if they measure the gap accurately and attach the baseboards perfectly. 

However, molds are used under baseboards when there is still a small gap between the baseboards and the floor.


Baseboard installation requires less labor than shoe molding installation. The average cost of installing baseboards is as little as $0.80 to $1.20 per linear foot.

The cost includes nailing the baseboard or nailing the shoe molding, the materials, and the installation cost.

However, the price may vary with different materials. To install a 12 x 12 linear foot baseboard, users may need to spend between $115 and 175 dollars. 

Shoe molding requires more money because it is built with more expensive materials. The average cost of installing shoe molding is between $3.25 and $5.25 per linear foot.

Comparison chart – Baseboard vs. shoe molding

TopicBaseboardShoe molding 
Material Wood and PVCWood, medium-density fiber wood, polystyrene. 
Cost$0.80 to $1.20 per linear foot.$3.25 and $5.25 per linear foot.
Workspace The gap between wall and floor.The gap between the baseboard and floor.
Best installation size⅜ inch to ⅝ inch but most ½ inchThe average width is between 7/16-inch to ½-inch and the height is between ¾-inch and 1-inch. 
Popular for Ductility.Durability. 

Are shoe molding and quarter round the same?

No, shoe molding and quarter-round aren’t quite the same. The difference between them is their specific workspace. Shoe molding is smaller in size than a quarter-round. 

Its structure is thinly built, so it easily inserts the gap between the baseboards and the floor. That’s why it is mainly used to fill gaps. 

The quarter round is mainly used for decorative purposes because it is bigger and its structure has more elegance, which increases the house’s magnificence. 


Still got more questions? Check our FAQ below.

Is shoe molding out of style?

No, show molding closes the gap between the floor and baseboard and increases house elegance. Though people with different tastes may have different opinions, most housebuilders have found it more desirable. 

Is shoe molding necessary?

Shoe molding is highly essential for wood flooring in the house. It helps the floor expand more space, increasing the baseboards’ flexibility. 

What can I use instead of quarter-rounds?

You can use shoe moldings instead of quarter rounds. Both can complete almost the same jobs which are to cover small gaps between floors and walls and increase house elegance. 


Both baseboards and shoe molding are used to cover gaps between floors and walls. However, they have differences in the workspace, price, and building materials. 

Baseboards are installed to cover the section between walls and floors, whereas shoe moldings are used to cover the space between baseboards and floors. Baseboards are created with less expensive materials, which is why their installation cost is also lower. 

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