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Old 01-09-2017, 11:28 AM   #1
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How can I remove this board without destroying it?


House built in 1930. See attached picture of a small closet whose back and right side walls are right up against the outside of the house. The closet is very cold inside and I've determined that air is leaking up through the raised "floor" on the bottom of the closet. I was able to peek through one of the cracks in the three wide floor boards and can see that there's open space under there where some sealing and insulating could help a lot. If I could remove one of those floor boards I would have access. They are nailed down with finishing nails, of course. I'm able to get a wide chisel scraper under that front board, but can't loosen the nails by just lifting up. There's also a small gap between the first and second boards.

Is there a way to remove that board (or perhaps the middle board) without destroying it? I have to be able to re-use it. Any special tools for removing the nails, or ??? Thanks.
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:58 AM   #2
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Re: How can I remove this board without destroying it?


There's a hand tool called a CAT'S PAW , used to carefully remove the nails.

Takes patience and a brain to operate.


ED
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:53 PM   #3
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Re: How can I remove this board without destroying it?


Cats-paw is great for nails with heads. Nail set or pin punch would work better for your finish nails in this case, IMO. 3/4" board= nail set. 1-1/4" board or larger= pin punch. Add some rigid foam board and caulk/seal around the edges per energy code per location.

Gary
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Old 01-09-2017, 01:35 PM   #4
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Re: How can I remove this board without destroying it?


If they are finish nails you can use a punch of the same size and punch them through the board releasing it.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:05 PM   #5
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Re: How can I remove this board without destroying it?


If you have access from below, crawlspace of basement, do what you can to air seal and insulate that exterior area. I realize older homes may not make that easy or at all possible, but wanted to mention it.

Being cold in that cabinet is not just due to the floor. Closets or under stairs spaces have the same problem in that the closed space is isolated from the heat.

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Old 01-09-2017, 02:14 PM   #6
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Re: How can I remove this board without destroying it?


If you can tolerate a screw hole in the board, drill in a drywall screw near the nails, and use the claw of your hammer to pull up on the screw and thereby, the board.

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Old 01-09-2017, 02:50 PM   #7
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Re: How can I remove this board without destroying it?


These are all great ideas. I hadn't thought of punching the nails through the board. I already have nail punches but didn't know about pin punches. I think I'm going to try starting each nail with a nail set punch to create an about 1/8" deep hole, then switch to a pin punch to drive the nail the rest of the way down. The pin punch will prevent making too wide a hole like the tapered nail punch would. I'll let you know how this works.

Bud: We do have a basement, which has already been air sealed (blown-in insulation capped with rigid foam board, and expanding foam).
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Old 01-09-2017, 07:14 PM   #8
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Re: How can I remove this board without destroying it?


OP here. Success! After starting the hole with a nail set punch, I tried using a 3/32" pin punch, which bent fairly quickly and wasn't working anyway. A 1/8" pin punch worked. There was one particularly ornery nail which I couldn't easily get to from up top, but was able to pry the board up enough that I was able to cut it off with a Dremel from below. Anyway, the board is out now and I have the access I need, and I'll be able to re-install that board when I'm done (with a little wood filler and stain in those small holes).

Thanks so much, everyone! I love these forums!
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