Cove base corners.

Discussion in 'Vinyl Flooring Q&A' started by Jim McClain, May 11, 2006.

  1. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    [​IMG] How do you do yours? I don't have any pictures of cove base installation, unfortunately, but I don't think my method is all that great anyway. It's just how I been doin' it for many years and what works okay for me. But I've heard others talk about how they cut those outside corners and wanted to bring the topic up again.

    Here's what I do: I lay the base in position and mark the back where it meets the corner. Then I lay the base face down on the floor and score through the back about half the thickness of the material. I then fold the material back almost flat so the cut spreads open and carve off the ridge on each side with one pass of my carpet blade flat over both ridges at once. I then take a bit more off each side separately so that the back of the material that goes within a half inch of the corner is about half the thickness (even less right on the corner). Now I can spread my acrylic adhesive and place the cove base in position. I smooth it toward the last piece and then press and form the base around the corner, keeping the toe smooth and consistent with the rest of the base.

    My corners turn out nice and I have never gotten a complaint. But I have seen a couple of times where the base didn't stay flat on the wall right near the corner. I'm thinkin' it was too thick to conform. I've tried different tools that were s'posed to make it better or easier, but have always reverted to my old bad habits. ;)

    I have always liked Burke base better than any other -- the rubber, not the newer vinyl. It forms better with a sharper finish to the corner. I've found if it is too cold I will get little spider web cracks on the corner or it will whiten. I've fixed that with a new piece cut and formed with more heat.

    Chuck offered to post on another forum about his method of cove base corners. He never found time to do it, but maybe he could share some tips with us here. And what about the rest of you? How do you do your cove base outside corners? What base do you prefer? [​IMG]

  2. Lo Down

    Lo Down Old as dirt member Charter Member Senior Member

    I used to do that same method pretty much, Jim. Now I mark em, then heat them up pretty warm.... almost hot, then fold the base over flat, and set it on a cool surface.... my straight edge.... then I take my other straight edge and place it on top ... making a nice base/straightedge samwich. The straightedge should cover the wall part of the base, not the toe part.......... as the samwich is cooling, smoosh the toe part of the base and hold it into a more natural contour. Hold this toe portion as the base is cooling. The base will harden into it's new shape.............. a 180 degree shape. This folded over shape will now open up nicely to conform to the 90 degree corner that it's going onto........ matter a fact, it will hug the corner tightly....... Got to let the thing cool good. After a few tries, it's easy to determine how hot is too hot.

    Nap time Jim............. man you stay up late. :)
  3. William Mear

    William Mear Charter Member

    jim I did it more or less the same way as you discribed until I saw aN ARTICLE IN FCI MAG THAT SHOWED SOMEONE FLARING OUT THE LEFT and right sides of the toe{on the back side} ever since I have not had a single problem and it made me greasy fast. Used to do 1 1/2 boxes an hour back in the day.:dance:

    my fav was roppe 700 series came in 120 ft boxes.:dance:
  4. Darol Wester

    Darol Wester Charter Member Senior Member

    I've always used the method Jim described and never had a complaint. At least none that I could hear.:) Without a doubt, Burke has always been my base of choice. I'm not as happy with it now that Mercer took it over. Not only are the ends sometimes out of square but they can also be different heights. But it's still the best thing going. (In my opinion)

    The real killer for me is when a customer has their own material and the base is that vinyl crap that's rolled up from some box store. I'd love to grab the salesman by the ear and make him install it and try and make it look good. What a pain. There's been times if the job is really cut up, I'll make them take it back and find some Burke.

    I really enjoy installing base. When it's done and done right, it really compliments the job.

    What do you guys use for those hard to stick little pieces around corners by showers and tubs? I use to use contact cement but I've found that on occasion it releases from the base.
  5. hookknife

    hookknife Hard Surface Installer Charter Member Senior Member

    Alot of it has to do with the quality of the base being installed, nothing beats Burke rubber imo:D
  6. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    Well, I have to agree that the Burke base of today is not the same high quality of the Burke of yesterday. It'd be nice if we could somehow get them to listen and even chime in on forums like this.

    Sounds like we all had the same teacher. ;) I hope Chuck decides to give us his take on the sit-chee-ashun.

  7. tony lamar

    tony lamar Charter Member

    I heat it pretty warm, then bend it, pull the toe out to shape with a pencil, then dip it in cool water. (I think I got that from an FCI) Also, I glue the corner and back 4-5 inches on both sides with construction adhesive, press it in place to get tranfer, then pull it off for a minute or two. When I stick it back, it's sticking good.
  8. Nick Arrera

    Nick Arrera Well-Known Member

    I mark it ,lay it flat put a piece of cove on top of it , and cut it with a cove cutter ,cuts a perfect V in it down to the toe .. then i heat it fold it and let it cool .. apply the glue .. Did a school with 6 " cove on stone walls , i made some corner blocks out of wood pushed them up againt the corner till the glue held .. worked great .. Held the blocks in place with our tool boxes ..
  9. Floorguy

    Floorguy The Living Dead Charter Member Senior Member

    I use a heat gun with my crain corner press and have a damp sponge to cool it quickly, setting the bend.
  10. Daniel Wachtel

    Daniel Wachtel Charter Member

    I install baes like Jim described, the only real difference is I'll glue to about 1/2" from the gouge and apply a bead of hot glue to each side of the gouge.
  11. Chuck Coffer

    Chuck Coffer Well-Known Member

    It is remarkably simple. You need a gouge and a heater.(I use a little refillable torch filled with MAPP gas instead of propane) All you have to do is mark your spot, gouge it and then cook the toe for a second. After the toe is good and hot, grab it between the thumb and forefinger on each side and stretch it real good. If you have done it properly, the toe will pooch skyward when the piece of material is laid flat. With the toe stretched in that most important of places, there will be no stress making the corner want to come proud. You can do the quench thing on itty bitty returns(or any outside corner) with excellent results.

    It was nothing but laziness that kept me from showing pics of the technique. There is a CFI event coming up in the ATL area; and as fate would have it, I was planning on sharing my little method with the audience. I am giving away no tools at this one. I did that last time. This time I am giving away knowledge. I will have someone take pics. Al says he will be there. I will leave the pictorial to him.

    It takes me about 15 seconds to make the prettiest outside corner you ever saw. Its all about the toe.
    Last edited: May 11, 2006
  12. Lo Down

    Lo Down Old as dirt member Charter Member Senior Member

    I went from gouge, to gouge and contact, to hot glue, to heat, bend and cool........... the latter works real good for me.
    'Crisp' looking corners that will never pull out on ya.
  13. Bullitt

    Bullitt Charter Member

    Hello gentleman,

    I used to use the gouge. Then just like Mr. McClain does. Now I prefer the Crain press method. I go and do all the outside corners first. Then run off of them. I find its much faster than just doing a corner when you run into one. Take a head count. Sit and make them, then run the rest.

    Simple is as simple does.:p
  14. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    hmmm, "all about the toe." Sounds like a fetish. ;)

    I have used gouges before, but just never got comfortable with them. I really should give it another try. I think my old boss gave me one. Many of these methods you guys use are similar, so I haven't been doin' it wrong all these years. One thing I might try is doing all the corners first. I like to improve my quality, but I also like improving my speed when I can too. And anything can help at this point. :D

    Thanks for replies and I'm gonna look forward to seein' the pictures Al takes.


  15. tony lamar

    tony lamar Charter Member

    yeah. I do that as well.
  16. Chuck Coffer

    Chuck Coffer Well-Known Member

    I used to hate a gouge...........about 15 years ago. If I could not find my gouge for whatever reason, I could still make outside corners doing the whittle thing, but it takes longer and is less precise. They are bad to get out of adjustment just from riding around on the bus, so I always start by getting it dialed in before I get to making corners. Every "experienced" helper I ever used was devoted to whittling corners until I showed them how easy it is with a gouge.
    It is imprtant to only remove about half the thickness of the material with your gouge. If you start taking more, traffic/abuse will bust them open.
  17. Al Gladden

    Al Gladden stretcherman Charter Member

    i use a heatgun and a crain corner molder, makes beautiful corners...( thanks byron fulton).
  18. Ken B

    Ken B Charter Member

    Anybody ever install the Johnsonite Millworks base? cope out the iside corners and mitre the outsides with mitre saw

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