Use these techniques to work around obstructions when installing baseboard.
Items once considered modern conveniences are now basic necessities. These utilities punctuate your walls with heat registers; electrical outlets and switches; and telephone, cable, and data ports.
In some cases, you can modify your design to avoid obstacles such as electrical outlets. But when that's not possible, adding a block and extending the electrical box is a reasonable approach. Carefully executed, the block is an effective solution.
Another approach is to relocate outlets so that they integrate into the design. For example, installing a wide baseboard provides a new site for wall outlets that will be virtually out of sight if you choose sockets and plates that coordinate with the molding. The location will look as if you planned it -- precisely because you did.
Heat registers and cold-air returns are much more difficult and costly to relocate, but there are ways you can work around them so they become an attractive part of the installation -- not a distraction from it.
Have your electrician place the wire for a baseboard outlet near the floor. Be sure to have the electrician leave plenty of extra wire length so you can fine-tune the outlet's location later. It's best to have the circuit disconnected, but have the wires individually capped in case the line is accidentally energized. Measure the position of the wire so you can transfer its location to the baseboard.
Make certain that the location for the box doesn't fall directly over a stud. Otherwise, you won't have enough depth for the electrical box. Using the template that's often supplied with the old electrical box (or by tracing the box itself), mark its position on the face of the baseboard. To visually center the box, position it 1/2 to 3/4 inch above center.
Drill a starter hole for your jigsaw blade, then cut the hole through the baseboard. Test the fit of the box to make certain it installs easily. Hold the baseboard against the wall, then mark the perimeter of the hole. Add 1 inch at each end so that the ears of the box will open. Cut outside the marked lines to ensure an easy fit.