Quarter round (thin, rounded molding) is used for a wide variety of trim projects.
Not only is it an affordable way to create attractive trim, but it's also relatively easy for home DIYers and beginners to cut to size.
The catch is when it comes to corners. Because of its rounded shape, you must make accurate measurements and angled cuts, so the pieces fit closely together.
Here’s how to cut quarter round for your next trim project.
What You’ll Need
There are a ton of different ways to cut quarter round when you’re in a pinch.
However, you’re best off using a miter saw if possible. Not only is a miter saw the easiest and quickest method, but it also provides the most accurate cuts.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Step I: Measure and Mark
Like most projects that require making a cut, the first step is always to measure (and measure again!).
Use your tape measure to measure the length of the wall the quarter round will go against. Then transfer this measurement to the quarter round itself. Make the mark on the quarter round with your carpenter’s pencil.
Remember to make the measurements to the outside edge of the quarter round, especially on corner areas.
It’s important to consider the angle at which two pieces of quarter round will come together on corner pieces and make these cuts accordingly so that they fit together closely.
When fitting two pieces of quarter round tougher, it’s very important that the pieces are cut to exactly the right length, so I recommend always double checking your measurements.
Step II: Set the Blade
Just as important as making accurate measurements is setting the blade to the right angle.
Set the piece of quarter round on the miter saw with the cut line near the blade to use as a reference. Make sure that the back of the quarter round is pushed flush with the fence for an accurate cut.
Swivel the table or the blade until it’s set to the right angle to make the cut on the cut line that you measured and marked.
Most miter saws allow you to lower the blade without turning it on. You can then gently roll the blade across the quarter round (without cutting) to make sure that you cut at the right angle.
I personally recommend making an initial cut a half inch or so from the cut line (on the side of the quarter round that you’ll discard) to ensure that the angle of the cut is right.
Luckily, for the majority of trim projects, you’ll be cutting at right around a 45-degree angle, so start by setting the miter saw to that angle.
Step III: Make the Cut
Finally, it’s time to make the cut! Turn on the miter saw and slowly lower the blade so that it cuts through the cut line you marked.
Many home trim projects require long lengths of quarter round to complete.
When cutting a long piece of quarter round, it’s helpful to have a partner assist you. Have them hold one end of the quarter round to prevent it from moving during the cut or falling after the cut.
No partner? Then set up some saw horses or similar objects to hold the long end of the quarter round to accomplish the same thing.
Similarly, you can clamp down the quarter round to the miter saw or to your workbench to prevent wiggling and movement.
Cutting quarter round is a relatively safe home DIY project.
But the simple fact that you’ll be using a power tool means that paying extra attention to safety is paramount.
Most important is understanding how to use the miter saw. If you’re renting or borrowing the device, spend some time getting familiar with it before making cuts.
You should also avoid cutting very small pieces of wood. Generally, pieces of quarter round under 12-inches long are too short to cut safely with a miter saw.
Learning how to cut quarter round with a miter is something anyone can do.
Making straight cuts is a walk in the park, but even more difficult corner cuts are relatively simple since they’re likely made at a 45-degree angle.
Once you’re done with your trim or molding project, our best DIY projects will help give you an idea of your next home project to tackle!