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Old 08-24-2008, 03:35 PM   #1
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Replaceing Baseboard to curvy wall problem


I am in the middle of replacing my baseboard (old was pretty gouged up) in my 1975 era home in the living and family rooms. New base board is 1/2 inch taller than old (is 3 inch tall now), simple curve on top type. Old baseboard came out easy. was not glued in, 1 1/2 finish nails, and 7/16ths thick. I am using same nails to replace, and new baseboard is same thickness.

Problem is that new baseboard is straight...pretty much, and walls are kinda curvy. I just can't get the baseboard to hug the wall like the old did. I am leaving carpet in place as I do this, but how on earth did original base molding follow the wall so well? I'm getting places where gaps to the wall are up to an eighth of an inch!

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Old 08-24-2008, 03:48 PM   #2
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Replaceing Baseboard to curvy wall problem


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I am in the middle of replacing my baseboard (old was pretty gouged up) in my 1975 era home in the living and family rooms. New base board is 1/2 inch taller than old (is 3 inch tall now), simple curve on top type. Old baseboard came out easy. was not glued in, 1 1/2 finish nails, and 7/16ths thick. I am using same nails to replace, and new baseboard is same thickness.

Problem is that new baseboard is straight...pretty much, and walls are kinda curvy. I just can't get the baseboard to hug the wall like the old did. I am leaving carpet in place as I do this, but how on earth did original base molding follow the wall so well? I'm getting places where gaps to the wall are up to an eighth of an inch!
First you should be using at least a 6p finish nail. being that the trim is almost 1/2" and the drywall is , lets say 1/2" maybe 3/8" back in the 70's you ate up 1" and still did not hit the stud.which is giving you 1/2" to penetrate the wood. not much holding power,you won't be able to use the nail to pull the base tight to the wall. And also make sure you are hitting the studs and not grazing them. before you install the base make sure you scrape the old paint build up off the drywall where the old base top rested.

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Old 08-24-2008, 06:39 PM   #3
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Replaceing Baseboard to curvy wall problem


Use at least two 15 a/ 6pd nails per stud, and hit each stud.
If its paint grade, caulk where the wall and top of the base meet.
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Old 08-24-2008, 08:56 PM   #4
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Replaceing Baseboard to curvy wall problem


Thanks for the quick advice!

Interestingly enough, after I wrote the note, I got called to talk to a neighbor who was doing similiar re-modeling work on his trim, and I am now in possession of a nailgun and compressor. I don't have time tonight, but I will see tomorrow what the capabilities of the gun are and go from there. I think he said it will do up to two inches. It is a Bostich (sp?) nail gun.
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Old 08-24-2008, 09:04 PM   #5
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Replaceing Baseboard to curvy wall problem


being your a first time user of of said tool, before you install moulding take a nail and locate the center of the studs mark a small pencil mark on the wall for reference when you go to install. reason being you will not be able to no if you had nailed into a stud. nothing is worse to see then a shot up piece of molding. Good luck BOB
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Old 08-24-2008, 10:20 PM   #6
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Replaceing Baseboard to curvy wall problem


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being your a first time user of of said tool, before you install moulding take a nail and locate the center of the studs mark a small pencil mark on the wall for reference when you go to install. reason being you will not be able to no if you had nailed into a stud. nothing is worse to see then a shot up piece of molding. Good luck BOB
buletbob is right about most of the above. test the gun on some scrap and adjust air so you get a clean strike.

My wife in her usual (not pleasant) mood is much worse than beat-up molding....your base can be made smooth.. caulk and paint... my wife.... well... at this time...27 years of ...(BLISS)... she will not allow me to caulk and paint her...
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Old 08-24-2008, 10:23 PM   #7
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Replaceing Baseboard to curvy wall problem


I leave the small gaps along the wall. 1/8" would be the max I'd leave. It the gap is any more than that, I take a pencil, hold it vertical against the wall at the gap so as the tip touched the back edge of the top of the baseboard. I then slide the pencil at the same angle over the wall where the bump out is so I get a good coutour of the wall. You can use a compass if you have one instead of the pencil technique.

I then take a belt sander and sand the back of the baseboard to that line I just drew. Your baseboard will then hug the wall but won't be wavy. It it's too large of a gap, I stil do the sanding above with only to 1/8". I then stick some folded cardboard or shims between the baseboard and wall then push it in and nail it. This will give you slight wavyness but it's less noticeable. If it's even more wavy, I don't have an easy fix for that.

I then take some good quality caulk and caulk along the baseboard and wall filling in the gaps. I then paint when dry.

This should help mask the wavy wall some.
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Old 08-24-2008, 11:30 PM   #8
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Replaceing Baseboard to curvy wall problem


If some small gaps remain after you're done you can do a pretty decent job of hiding them with caulk and paint.

When installing painted trim, you can put some masking tape on the wall right in line with the top of the base. Run a bead of caulk into the gap, smooth it with a wet finger, and remove the tape while the caulk is wet. Once it is dry you can re-mask and paint it the same color as the base.

When installing stained trim, I mask the trim and install the caulk so no caulk gets wiped on visible faces of the trim but it still bridges the gap. Then I paint the caulk the color of the wall.

It isn't as good as tight-fitting trim, but it is a good way to hide gaps.
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Old 08-24-2008, 11:39 PM   #9
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Replaceing Baseboard to curvy wall problem


VERY IMPORTANT.. as advised by buletbob ....scrape old paint and caulk line OFF.

b4 u
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:11 AM   #10
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Replaceing Baseboard to curvy wall problem


All good advice - You may also want to use trim head screws in some spots. I have found these nifty things a life saver when I needed to really pull in a section of base to an inside curved wall.
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Old 08-25-2008, 08:47 PM   #11
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Replaceing Baseboard to curvy wall problem


Thanks for the excellent advice from all. I will be back at work on the base molding tomorrow (if I can get home from work before too late) and will test the gun and pressure to molding scraps, and mark the studs (why didn't I think of that?!?) and see what the gaps look like after that. I'm not too scared of caulking, and I'll try the advice from kctermite.

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Old 08-29-2008, 03:24 PM   #12
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Replaceing Baseboard to curvy wall problem


Also, mdf trim has much more flex to it than actual wood. Probably too late to worry about now, but for future reference....... All of the above advice will get you on the right track, I'm sure.
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:01 PM   #13
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Replaceing Baseboard to curvy wall problem


Generally, I keep MDF out of bathrooms due to the effects on it from moisture.
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:40 PM   #14
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Replaceing Baseboard to curvy wall problem


Agreed wholeheartedly, kind of like particle board sub flooring. My daughter left the carpet cleaner sitting in her bedroom over night (we didn't know it had developed a small leak) the next morning, there was a 2" high x 2' round hump in the floor. MDF will be fine for the living and family room, though. I personally prefer working with wood, though it costs a few cents more/ft. Just pointing out the added flexibility of mdf.

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