Whilst flirting with builders over the past week, the illustrious subject of baseboards came up. What type of baseboard would we be using? We hadn’t really discussed it with The Architect and left it, at the moment, with your basic baseboard. The gold standard for modern houses is something from Fry Reglet in which the drywall extends all the way to floor except for the last inch or so leaving a gap such that the drywall appears to float. It’s a crisp lean look that is rather stunning. It is also rather expensive (due to the material and expertise to achieve the look), hence the builder asking, in essence, “Would you like Fry’s with that?”
The good folks over at BUILD have a post concerning their preferred modern base details. They prefer four inches of wood or MDF on the bottom (better for taking toe and vacuum cleaner dings) and then a 5/8-inch gap achieved with a piece of Z-metal they say can be obtained from the drywall shop (you can also find all kinds of ‘reveals’ at Fry Reglet). From an energy efficiency perspective, having that gap at the floor or wherever on the inside of an outside wall may not be such a good thing for heat flow and/or air flow, although, if done right, I suppose air flow wouldn’t be too much of an issue.
I do like the look of the baseboard flush with the drywall, so I wonder if it’s possible to modify their approach by inserting a piece of aluminum angle “iron” in between the baseboard below and the drywall above such that the aluminum cups the drywall above. The aluminum could be left aluminum to halo the room. It might could also work with a simple plate of aluminum that extends out 1/8 or ¼ of an inch from between the baseboard and the drywall, but that would require careful taping to the aluminum. Perhaps that would look better with one by two instead of one by four… And perhaps something like this is only done in the “public rooms” (living room, dining room) instead of the whole house.
[image respectfully cribbed from BUILD]