shoe molding quarter round

Shoe Molding vs. Quarter Round: All You Need to Know

Shoe molding and quarter round look very similar, and some people would say they are almost identical. Both of them are popular wood trim types, and in some cases, you can interchange one with the other, but still, they have their own specific uses as well. So what is the difference between wood quarter round and shoe molding? Let’s compare shoe molding vs. quarter round and find out.

Shoe Molding vs. Quarter Round: What Are Their Similarities and Differences?

Both shoe molding and quarter round help create smooth transitions between laminate or engineered wood flooring and walls and offer architectural “curve appeal” to any interior space.

What Is Quarter Round?

As the name implies, quarter-round molding is one-quarter of a round dowel, so it features a prominent curve. It works great to fill corners or soften any 90° joint between trim and moldings. Quarter-round comes in many different sizes, making it more versatile for a range of applications, and has a width of ¾ inches. Quarter-round pieces are sold in long strips of about 7 feet, so you’ll have to cut them before installation. You may want to check our extensive collection of quarter-round trim.

Quarter round is used for the same purpose as shoe molding and is placed along fixed surfaces like baseboards and walls to cover the gap between the surface of the floor and its adjoining walls. Besides, quarter-round molding can be used for countertop surfaces and backsplashes.

What Is Shoe Molding?

Shoe molding is also a type of baseboard finishing trim. It offers a fine finish to baseboards and covers the seam where it meets the floor. Shoe molding is called so because it’s located at “shoe level,” giving your room a finished look. This trim piece has a standard width of ½ inch and features a less-pronounced curve.

The main goal of shoe molding is to conceal the less-than-appealing transition between the bottom of the wall and the floor. Although baseboard can cover most of the gap, it’s larger than shoe molding, and it’s relatively stiff, so it doesn’t conform well to an uneven floor. That’s why you may often see small gaps here and there between the floor and the baseboard. Due to its small size, shoe molding is slightly flexible, and that allows it to be installed flat against the floor. This way, it gives the baseboard a professional finished look, adding a decorative touch.


Both quarter round and shoe moldings provide a professional look to flooring installations in residential and commercial settings and serve as decorative pieces that offer a smooth appearance. You can use them with a wide range of contemporary flooring materials, for example, concrete, wood, laminate, and natural stone floor tiles, wood, and even wood look tile flooring. Most of these trim pieces are made of either wood veneers or solid wood. Their standard sizes are less than one inch in width, so they are easy to cut.


But as we compare shoe molding vs. quarter round, we can notice some differences as well. Although both moldings have curved edges, their curves have different sizes, and this makes a huge difference. If you need molding with a well-rounded edge, you should choose quarter round.

It works well in those spaces where the shape is important as a feature that gives a visual advantage, such as countertops and flooring baseboards. Quarter round moldings are also recommended for window casings and doorframes when you are looking to create decorative elements due to their pronounced circular shape.

On the other hand, shoe molding is an excellent option when you are looking to achieve a curved yet less-pronounced molding. You can use shoe molding to fill gaps between steps, and they are suitable for all the other situations in which you need a trim that’s also more obscure.

The Bottom Line

The terms “quarter round” and “shoe molding” are often used interchangeably and for a good reason, but there is a distinct difference between the two. When we compare shoe molding vs. quarter round, we see that quarter round is essentially ¼ of a perfect circle, so you’ll have a 90-degree angle corner on one side. And although shoe molding also features the 90-degree corner, its round portion is not a perfectly circular radius, so this piece of trim is thinner.

Both shoe molding and quarter round can truly improve the overall appearance of any room. You can install either of these two molding options easily and quickly to cover natural gaps and get a professional look.

If you are planning a home renovation and need molding pieces to add a finishing touch to your engineered wood or laminate wood flooring, at Stone & Tile, you can find everything you are looking for, including Mohawk Instaform Profile that can be used for 5 different applications.
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