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alst 09-04-2009 01:19 PM

removing/replacing base molding from brittle plaster walls
Hello, DIY novice here!

Updating our 1952 ranch, and want to remove all the base molding. Not worried about damaging the molding, we won't be reusing it, but trying not to damage the plaster walls. Molding is attached with nails, no adhesive. Tried easing it a bit at a time with a lever and a block against the wall to distribute the weight, but plaster is still crumbling anyway.

Any suggestions for other methods of removing the molding? We will be replacing it with new and slightly larger molding (so I suppose some damage will be covered, but we'd still like to keep plaster as much in tact as possible).

Thanks for your help!

glennjanie 09-04-2009 11:08 PM

Welcome Alst:
There are probably several coats of paint bonding the base to the plaster walls. You might want to cut along the top of the base with a utility knife before prying on it.
Also, you may need a stud finder so you can pry on the solid surface and still use your wood block to keep down chipping.

911handyman 09-06-2009 02:36 PM

Hey there, If you know someone with a fein multimaster, or similar tool and can see the nail holes from the front you can cut them from behind. This is the best way. Good luck

alst 09-08-2009 08:23 PM

Thanks for the tips! We did score the paint with a utility knife, so that hasn't been an issue. I didn't think about trying to locate a stud though, good idea!

I don't know anyone with a Fein MultiMaster (and I can't afford one myself), but I did just purchase Dremel's knockoff MultiMax. I know it probably won't work as well nor are the blades as strong, but I am hoping I can use it to cut through the nails even if it means replacing the blades a few times. Or, if that won't work, I will try cutting the molding into smaller sections so it will hopefully be easier to pry away from the wall.

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