Finishing Gap Between Drywall and Floor Without Using Trim
Hi there, I’m remodeling my home out in Austin, where the insulation was removed to address pest and mold issues. I’m looking to put new drywall up, but I wanted to know if it was possible not to have a gap between the drywall and the floor as my preference is to not use trim on this project. The drywall was mainly removed along the exterior walls, up to the 4′ high mark, and sometimes 8′ tall sections were taken down. Most of the interior walls were left untouched, and show a gap (after removing the trim), anywhere from, none, where it touches the floor already, up to about an 1″ or more in some areas – which is about how much a gap was present before the drywall was taken down.
The existing concrete slab has been polished and will be the final floors, so no additional flooring will be added.
The drywall that I plan to use is DensArmor Plus, and is fiberglass-backed instead of paper-backed (and will be using a fiberglass mesh tape along the seams). I’m not sure if this means I won’t have wicking issues if this particular drywall were to come in direct contact with the concrete. I also don’t mind applying a waterproof sealer to the areas near the drywall (the floors were treated with a lithium silicate densifier in between grinding and polishing steps, but I don’t think this does anything for water resistance).
I don’t plan on hanging the drywall myself, and wanted an option that came as close to a standard install as possible. Some people I’ve met with have told me that they can hang the drywall so that it touches the floor, and the gap that’s leftover in between the top and bottom piece won’t be a problem. It can be tapped and mudded like normal, or they could split the difference and leave a gap in between the two sheets of drywall, as well as the floor, and joint compound can just fill in both these areas. Others have said I’ll have issues with cracking for any gap greater than 1/4″ and would plan on cutting small sections of drywall to fit the gaps.
I’m wondering what my options are to fill in the gaps in the case of the new drywall installation and the gaps with along the existing drywall. If it’s possible to just fill these with a joint compound or some joint compound/plaster mix, using the fiberglass mesh tape as something for it to initially adhere to – that would be ideal. But I wanted to check to see if I would have issues with cracking in the future based on this method.
I had also thought about pouring or pressing in concrete using some form-work to help it stay in place, with maybe some metal rods running along these lengths since these pieces would be so thin. And I wouldn’t mind the uneven appearance of this concrete throughout the house.
I should also mention that a limestone plaster will be the final coating for the walls.
Thank you in advance for your help, and my apologies for such a long explanation.
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You can take a modern trim approach. (See here for details: https://www.protradecraft.com/modern-trim-means-no-casing-around-door—and-tricky-corner-bead) But going trimless is probably going to be a lot more expensive and time consuming than using trim.
You can finish the bottom of the drywall with J-bead. Here is a link:
Your drywall contractor will usually use mud to blend in the J-bead.
If the floor is level and even, it might look OK. If the floor is wavy, it might not look very good.
Hi Martin, Thank you for the link, I followed it. I will apply some of these ideas to my Drywall repair in Chicago business.
Thank you for the responses. I'm going to try out the J-bead method using a metal version I found at a box store just as a test (I have to place a special order for the trim-tex one, not finding any suppliers near me who carry them on hand). It seems like a great option, and I won't have to worry about cracks.
Will I be able to mud or plaster over J-bead completely and use joint compound/mud instead of caulk between the drywall and concrete? Or will I still need caulk for that seam?
I had also considered using oakum to fill the gaps, which I think can receive plaster. I'm not sure how well this would hold up over time compared to the J-bead.
The J-bead isn't there to fill in a gap. The J-bead just gives you a nice, straight termination that is durable.
If you need drywall that is 48.5 inches wide, you can split the difference and tape the joint easily. If you need drywall that is 49.5 or 50 inches wide, you'll probably need to cut a narrow strip of drywall to fill the gap before mudding the wide joint.
I've never liked mating drywall to vinyl. I use paper covered metal for outside corners. I use a similar paper covered "L" to finish exposed edges. I get mine at Menards. Perhaps this is what you found. Anyway, I embed it in mud. It seems to work. Be careful not to sand through the paper. It will look better if there is a reveal between the wall and floor. If the wall is tight to the floor minor variations in the floor will show. A deliberate gap will look consistent and add drama. Be warned, drywall, mud and paint are fragile. They are no match for vacuum cleaners. Baseboards have their virtues.
Very interesting, Actually, sealing the gap between the drywall & the floor, and between the drywall and the ceiling, will drastically cut down the dust in your house.
I have J bead at the ceiling and it will work well as Martin suggested
However, the other reason for baseboard is that shoes, vacuum cleaners brooms will damage the sheetrock. Also washing the floor will get the wall wet, where usually you would use water resistant paint on the trim
I lived in a "modern" house where there were no baseboards, the drywall went straight to the floor, and it was terrible, the drywall got banged up easily and looked ratty.
If you want the clean look, I'd end the drywall a few inches off of the floor and go with a baseboard the same thickness as the drywall. Finish the edge of the drywall with J channel. Use a laser level to set the bottom of the drywall absolutely level, and screw temporary blocks to the wall to hold the drywall at that level while you install it. Then scribe the trim to meet the floor. I would route a 1/4" notch in the top edge of the baseboard for visual interest, but that's just me.
Or a piece of shiplap already has the notch cut:
Matt Risinger has a video on flush base install.
Nice look, but 'wicked hahd' to pull off well. The point of trim is to hide small inconsistencies in wall floor door etc, and that detail give no opportunity for that
In the Risinger video he has a piece of drywall finish edge that is made for this use and that served the function of trim. You hang the drywall off the floor, put the baseboard flush to the finished floor, and then put in the finish edge. You put quarter inch spacers between the top of the baseboard and the finish edge, and then nail everything in place. Then you finish the drywall.
If there are big inconsistencies in the finished floor you're going to have to scribe the baseboard.
The biggest drawback I see is that it completely messes up the order of construction. You have the drywall hangers, and then the floor guys, and then the finish carpenter, and only then can you finish the drywall.
If you have a 1/8 reveal, and it drifts down to a 1/16 reveal, your eye will pick it up in a heartbeat.
Hell even boards can vary that much. Boards warp that much.
You are hanging a 57 pound sheet of sheetrock, and need to ensure it is just so. Board hangers can finish a normal house in, what 2 days. Not in that house. Then you need to get that nice flexy plastic channel oh so straight?
Again, cool look, it just adds huge amounts of required accuracy for no reason.
Baseboard in my house is cedar 'doghouse' clapboard[3 inch tall]. IF you painted it wall color, you would hardly notice it.
You use the drywall finish piece to adjust the reveal once the drywall and the baseboard are in place. Otherwise I agree with everything you said.
And also, I am glad you post the issue here but go hire a professional licensed carpenter and painter who actually shows up with his crew. The difference is I WILL FIX IT vs I WILL HAVE THEM FIX IT.
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Great write up! Can apply this information to my concrete slab business 100%
These guys have a good selections of reveal options.
I think having a extruded aluminum reglet would increase the durability over a thin galvanized or vinyl "j-track" but it is much more expensive. But so is baseboard!
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Great article. Very informative information - even for a small foundation crack repair company like ours.
You could check out what NS builders do to change the looks of baseboard
Have you considered PVC moulding if humidity is a concern?
Great useful tips and advice in every comment! Keep them coming!
In case these tips won’t help, you can always call a professional Homeadvisor to get the job done professionally.
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Actually, you're wrong. For some reason this thread can helps a lot of people especially me who have no idea about that. I really like it when folks come together and share opinions.