Molding: How to Remove and Save Moldings


The first pieces to come off a wall are the last pieces to be reinstalled -- the moldings and other pieces of trim. It can be worthwhile to remove them carefully for reuse, especially when dealing with the ornate woodwork found in older homes. Matching new replacements to old woodwork can be expensive.

The challenge is to remove the moldings without damaging them or anything else that will remain. Work slowly and methodically, prying the pieces loose from the nails that hold them.

Nails present two problems. First, if the molding has been painted, the nails are probably concealed. Second, even if you know where the nails are, you won't be able to get at them because their heads are set beneath the surface of the molding. There are two solutions: You can pry the molding away from the wall and pull out the nails from the back or cut them off, or you can drive the nails through the molding. Don't try to back the nails out; their heads likely will chip the face of the molding as they are driven out.

Prestart Checklist

About 10 to 15 minutes per piece of molding, depending on length

Putty knife, 3-inch drywall knife, flat bar, hammer, nail set, end nips, file

Prying, driving nails, cutting nails, filing

Step 1

Beginning at one end of a piece of molding, gently work a putty knife between the molding and the wall. You may have to tap the putty knife gently with a hammer to force it between the wall and molding.

Step 2

As the molding loosens, work in a 3-inch drywall knife from underneath or from the other edge. Continue to pry gently along the length of the molding until you can see the nails that fasten the molding in place.

Step 3

As the gap widens, slip a flat bar behind the molding. Work along the length, gently prying the piece away from its home. Back up the bar with a scrap of 1/4-inch plywood to avoid damaging the wall or floor.

Step 4

Free one end of the molding, then work along the rest of the piece, prying where each nail is located.

Step 5

Grasp the nail with end nips at the back of the molding and pull the nail sideways, being careful not to dent the edges of the molding.

Dealing with Stubborn Nails

The small heads of most finishing nails pull easily through the back of molding, but sometimes, especially with older nails in hardwood molding, you can't pull nails without causing damage. In that case, clip off the nails with end nips and file away any protruding part of the nail until it is flush with the back of the molding.

Comments (2)
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6/6/2016 09:01:50 PM Report Abuse
hakimzadeh_al wrote:

very usefull

10/16/2013 01:20:12 PM Report Abuse
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