How's Moulding Attached to Wall?

jambeJuly 10, 2009

I'm renovating an upstairs room in a late-1800's farmhouse. I ripped out the shoddy lowered ceilings to find the large piece of poplar/oak molding over the door had been knocked loose by the POs. They tried to nail the headpiece back up with two stud nails and split it.

The piece was just sitting atop the vertical flat trim pieces precariously since they only caught plaster with their nails, so I lifted it down (lest somebody get a nasty clonk on the head). When I examined it I found no fasteners of any kind (there are cut nails holding the 3 pieces of the assembly together, but there were no mechanical fasteners holding the assembly to the wall).

My question is... how was the trim originally attached? Was it just smooshed up into the uncured brown coat of the lath & plaster wall? There's no finish coat behind where the moulding was, and that's the only thing that makes sense to me.

The POs painted this room entirely black before doing the lowered ceiling and icky chipboard wall paneling, so I'll have to strip all the trim. If I'm to resurface the original wood effectively I'll have to remove it... but I don't know how to put it back up! Would liquid nails or something similar suffice, or will I have to resort to some mechanical fasteners?

I can provide some photos if necessary.

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Finish nails into the studs unless it was really shoddy work.

Often 12d.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 9:04AM
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jambe, can you see if there's any evidence of filled-in nail holes in the trim piece?

I'm wondering if the trim piece had been taken down earlier, the nails pulled out, the nail holes filled in, the piece repainted, and then they just set it atop the vertical pieces where you found it.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 12:08PM
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As long as you can get the peice to stay where it looks aesthetically correct while the construction glue is drying theres no reason you can't glue, unless you plan on doing pull-ups on it lol.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 9:40PM
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la_koala, you're right. There are filled holes. Why the heck the nuts bothered to pull the original fasteners and fill the holes before driving their huge stud nails into it I have no idea...

I'll just use some finish nails to reattach it! Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 10:24AM
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Glue is fine but if you can find the studs, mark them on the molding and drill a small pilot hole where you want the nails to be. This will avoid splitting the trim.

We've had to do the same thing with our trim issues, like around the windows in our upstairs bathroom. We had very little sash to nail to so we drilled pilot holes and then nailed the trim so we wouldn't split the exposed sash or the trim with the nail being at the edge. We wanted a relief to give the windows period character, with no damage.

I'm posting a link to our project. You will have to scroll through the photos because I'm being lazy. Good luck! It's very doable.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bathroom photos

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 11:39PM
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"...drill a small pilot hole where you want the nails to be. This will avoid splitting the trim."

Using a nail gun will also eliminate almost all splitting.

I use a Paslode 16 gauge angle finish nailer for trim work.

The 'nails' are t-head style and range from 1 inch to 2.5 inches.

The single stroke of the nail gun with thinner nails is less likely to split wood.

I can nail even 1 inch pieces of 3/4 inch oak quarter round without any pre-drilling.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 9:44AM
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