Baseboard into plaster walls


Old 11-09-05, 10:43 AM
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Baseboard into plaster walls

My wife and want to redo the baseboard in our new (first) house. It's an older house with plaster walls throughout. A previous owner took out the old 4" baseboard and replaced it with 1/4 round. We plan to put 4" baseboard back around the walls. I'm worried about the plaster coming apart when I install the moulding.

Is pounding nails through the plaster into the 2x4's a viable option? Should I drill a pilot hole through the plaster first? Or should I use liquid nails to glue the baseboard to the walls, and skip nailing alltogether?


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Old 11-09-05, 06:13 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
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I haven't worked around a lot of old plaster. Even if you use liquid nail you should at least have some nails holding the base. A pilot hole might be a good idea. I would think that after a few nails you should have an idea whether or not there will be problems from nailing.
Old 11-10-05, 09:24 AM
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Yorktown, VA
Posts: 322

I would seriously consider purchasing a small compressor and finish nailer. I prefer 16 gage for most interior trim. For baseboard, I use 2" or 2.5" nails, depending on wall contruction. You just want to try to get the nail through the wall covering and into the structure beneath.

It may seem extravagant but, if you're doing your whole house, this would save you many, many hours of frustration and is not likely damage your plaster at all.

Good luck,
Old 11-12-05, 05:13 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 4

I have to agree with Randy, the cost of the compressor and nailer is nothing compared to the price of fixing old plastered walls that have cracks from hand nailing. Which it will because the plaster dries out and gets brittle!

Old 11-12-05, 09:54 AM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Taylors, SC
Posts: 9,483
I agree that the nail gun and compressor will save time and frustration. Be sure to check the thickness of the plaster over the studs or lathe, whichever you plan to use as a nailing surface. The walls in my house are 1.25 inches thick. So adding 3/4" baseboard over the wall would require a 3" or longer nail at a minimum. Also check to see if the plaster ends about two inches above the floor and is augmented with a wood nailer for attaching baseboards. Mine is constructed in this manner. It makes mounting baseboard a different matter, if the wooden nailer is present.

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