How to attach base molding on bowed wall?

JavachikJuly 3, 2013

I need to replace the base molding on a 3-foot wide wall, but the wall appears to be quite bowed at the bottom. When I hold the new molding flat to the wall at the right side, there is about a 1/2 inch gap at the left (or vice versa - flat on left causes gap on right). I can bend the molding a bit, but not enough to get it close enough to the wall along its entire length. The molding that was removed appears flat (as judged by holding the new and old pieces back-to-back). If the wall were wider, a longer piece of molding might have enough flex to accommodate the bow, but this short piece doesn't seem to want to flex.

There must be a solution, but I don't know what. Do you?

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Can it be attached by deck screws into the studs at one end, and then at the other end. That might be enough to pull it tighter to the wall than you can with your bare hands. Youd have to sink the screws and use filler of course. I had to do something similar with a new window sill piece and the bow was way more than a half inch. I suppose the proper way to install trim would be nails but I liked the screws because they really pull down tight and closed the gap nicely (and my bow was so extreme I didn't know if nails would hold it).

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 11:25AM
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Put the molding on as best you can.

User a paintable caulk to caulk the gap.

Paint the caulk the same color as the wall.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 11:32AM
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Make several shallow saw kerfs through the back of the molding to give it some flex.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 12:49PM
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If it's really that stiff (a bit hard to imagine) you can kerf the moldiing on the back side to allow it to bend to a smaller radius. Google "kerf bending" for how-to information.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 2:44PM
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Oops, I guess lazygardens just said that!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 2:45PM
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Kerf the back of the moulding

Just don't cut through the front of the moulding as in show in the second picture.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 2:52PM
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The key to kerf-bending is that unless the kerfs are exactly the same space and depth, the bend will be uneven. And it has to be clear lumber, as knots are too hard to bend properly.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 12:01AM
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Get plastic moulding. That stuff is so bendy, I have a hard time even measuring it.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 7:02PM
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