What Is Quarter Round Molding?

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    Renovator’s Toolbox explores the materials, techniques and trends you need to know.

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    Clockwise from top right: Flat molding, 19th century molding, quarter round molding, 19th-century molding. Photos by Cate Corcoran

    It’s the little things that count — especially in a home, where the quality of moldings, doors and hardware can make a big difference.

    Quarter round molding is often the default standard molding among contractors, but it looks cheap and dated. Be sure to specify an alternative, such as a flat molding. Most contractors will be more than happy to accommodate.

    Quarter round molding is, literally, a quarter of a dowel. Imagine a dowel of about an inch in diameter sawn in half crosswise, twice. That’s quarter round molding.

    It can be used in a lot of situations — for edging floors, window surrounds and decorative effects — to cover gaps because both the bottom and side are relatively broad.

    But, luckily, for most applications there’s a better, less generic alternative — such as a flat molding or one with a decorative edge — that costs about the same.

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    Quarter round molding covers the gap between vinyl flooring and bead board. Photo by Cate Corcoran

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