Easiest Way To Remove Wall Trim

Old 09-05-01, 04:00 PM
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What is the easiest way to remove wall trim (shoe molding, etc) from a plaster wall built in 1937? The nails are countersunk and are long, rusty finish nails. I'd like to save the original trim but won't cry if it gets broken. The shoe molding and baseboard seem a lot thicker than the same stuff built today.

Also, I'm told that I only need to remove the shoe molding in order to install a hardwood floor. Is that all I should remove?

Old 09-05-01, 05:05 PM
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The moulding is probably very dry and prone to cracking and splintering. I've had great success with a couple of putty knives. Start in the middle of the span and work a putty knife in behind the trim. Just work a little gap all the way along the length so thta there is some space.
use a cedar shim to back the knife as required and slowly work your way along as teh space increases.

You may find you want to strip and refinish the trim, it's often worth it, just dont sand it off! The old paint may contain lead, and you don't want it air borne.

Old 09-05-01, 05:14 PM
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Thumbs up


Thanks very much. I didn't think of using putty knives. Interesting that you mention the finish. There is white paint over the original brown paint and that white paint comes off in great big flakes just by rubbing the molding a bit with my thumb.

I'll remember to strip and not sand. We know some of the paint layers contain lead.

Old 09-06-01, 04:54 AM
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Another method is to us a nail punch and drive the nails all the way through the moulding. Then the only thing holding the moulding in place is paint.

Obviously painted moulding is more difficult to find the nails than stained but this method is much less stress applied to old, dry, brittle moulding.

Old 09-06-01, 05:30 AM
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Thanks very much!

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