By Rachel Tipton
The area where the floor meets the wall has traditionally been hidden with wall base. Its goal was to blend with either the floor or the wall and not be noticed. Rubber and vinyl wall base have long been viewed as an interior element of functional value and benefit, with aesthetics a secondary consideration. The last decade has been spent reinventing and re-imagining this interior element.
Once considered an afterthought in interior design, wall base now plays an integral role in the overall look and feel of a space. Rubber and vinyl wall base are now available in more profiles, colors, and finishes then ever before. The goal, however, isn't just to create as many design options as possible - it's also to create new finishing-border solutions that contribute to the return on investment of the entire space and that are environmentally friendly. (Given the significant changes that have developed, the phrase "wall base" is no longer sufficient in defining the category. The term "finishing border" better defines the balance of functional and aesthetic benefits.)
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The Look of Real Wood
A cost-effective and labor-reducing alternative to wood, this type of finishing border requires no painting or staining, installs in half the time of real wood, flows easily around gentle curves or irregular surfaces, and offers building professionals a non-fading surface free of knots, grains, and nail heads. This solution is an economical alternative to real wood, contributing to forest conservation.
Several different milled-wood-looking profiles have been developed in a multitude of colors, including actual color representations of wood grain and stone looks. Self-stick quarter rounds and shoe molding can be used as a decorative element.
An Environmentally Friendly Solution
Demountable wall base is a reusable solution that offers real lifetime return. Because it is hung on a track without adhesives, it can be installed in less time with less mess, less cost, and less loss of productivity. With its exceptionally long life-cycle, it is an economic investment that appreciates with every changeover - in many cases, offsetting the initial cost difference with the very first change. This solution makes it easily replaceable, reusable, and recyclable.
Another type of finishing border allows for installation before carpet floor, enabling fast and easy installation, and resulting in a unique profile that features a clean, toeless look. This wedge design also creates a tighter finish than standard wall base. This specialty wall base can remain on the wall as the flooring is replaced, serving as way to achieve significant cost savings and sustainability.
A Decorative Element
Not only do standard finishing borders come in a variety of colors, but added architectural detail is another leap forward. Newly invented profiles represent a more upscale, design-oriented look.
Finishing borders offer easy installation and maintenance, and are available in various heights to help hide old glue lines in retrofit installations. Preformed corners are now available for most profiles, reducing installation time. The possibilities are endless with finishing borders: Use them to be practical, bold, innovative, elegant, visionary, traditional, daring, casual, wild, or calm.
Rachel Tipton is the communications specialist at Johnsonite (www.johnsonite.com), headquartered in Chagrin Falls, OH.