How to Adhere Baseboard Molding to Plaster Walls
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Deb in Missouri on the line who needs help with a flooring question. How can we help you?
DEB: Yes. Well, we replaced our flooring but we destroyed most of the molding trying to get it off along the mopboard.
DEB: And we were wondering, what’s the best way to put new on? What would be the best to use? The walls are all plaster. It looked like the nails had been set before the plaster was dry, because we had to cut them off.
TOM: And so how high up the walls did the molding go? Because usually with plaster walls, the molding is a lot taller than a standard 3½-inch base molding.
DEB: It’s 3½ inches.
TOM: It is 3½ inches?
DEB: Yes. But we could go a wee bit higher and it still look nice.
TOM: Right. OK. Do you want the molding to be painted or natural?
DEB: Well, I don’t think we’ll ever match the doors. It’s all wood and I don’t think we’d ever match that.
TOM: OK. So do you want the molding to be painted, then?
DEB: Yes. We’ll probably go painted, yes. But adhering it to the walls is going to be a real pain because of that plaster.
TOM: Hmm. Yeah. Well, you’re going to do it with a combination of trim screws and LIQUID NAILS. So you’re not going to nail it, OK?
What you’re going to do is – probably the least expensive thing to buy is something called finger-joint Colonial baseboard molding. It’s a very straightforward molding with a little bit of a fluted edge on top. It looks nice; it looks finished.
Is it – does the thickness matter? Does it have to be a certain thickness to cover a gap between the wall and the floor?
DEB: At least a ¼-inch, yes.
TOM: Quarter-inch? OK. So all you’re going to need is the molding then. Because you could put the molding and then shoe molding over that, which would extend it out to almost an inch. But no, you’re going to buy finger-joint baseboard molding. Finger-joint means it’s ready for paint.
Now, before you apply it to the walls, I would prime it. So, it’s a lot easier to paint this molding. In fact, I would prime it and I’d put one finish coat of paint on it because it’s a lot easier to paint it when it’s up on some sawhorses than when it’s attached to your house.
And then when it comes to installation, you’re going to – and you know what? You might want to get a carpenter that knows how to do this because, frankly, it’s just a lot easier if you know how to make a corner joint, which is called a “coped joint.” And you do it with a coping saw.
But the way you attach it is with – after it’s all cut to fit, you apply some LIQUID NAILS to the back of the molding and then you put in only as many trim screws – and trim screws are kind of like drywall screws except they have a really tiny head, like a finish nail. But you only put enough of those in to hold it while it’s drying. So you’re not going to have nearly as many trim screws as you will nails. And it’ll be really solid.
And the last thing you do is fill those holes. And you put one finish coat of paint on when – and then you’re completely done. So by putting the paint on ahead of time, you’re halfway there. All you do is touch it up, fill the holes, one more coat of paint, you’re good to go. OK?
DEB: Awesome. Thank you so very much.
TOM: Deb, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.