Replacing Damaged Or Missing Pieces Of Wood Wall Molding
REPLACING DAMAGED OR MISSING PIECES OF WOOD WALL MOLDING
A. This procedure includes guidance on removing and
replacing damaged wood wall molding. This may include
crown molding, chair rail, wainscotting, base, and door
and window casings.
B. See 01100-07-S for general project guidelines to be
reviewed along with this procedure. These guidelines
cover the following sections:
1. Safety Precautions
2. Historic Structures Precautions
4. Quality Assurance
5. Delivery, Storage and Handling
6. Project/Site Conditions
7. Sequencing and Scheduling
8. General Protection (Surface and Surrounding)
These guidelines should be reviewed prior to performing
this procedure and should be followed, when applicable,
along with recommendations from the Regional Historic
Preservation Officer (RHPO).
For Wood Molding:
1. For names of suppliers, check building trades directories and publications
and websited oriented to the custom and historic preservation markets, including but not limited to:
Fine Woodworking; Fine Homebuilding; Traditional Building; Period Home; Preservation Magazine;
Old House Journal; and Old House Interior among others.
2. Also review the AWI - Architectural Woodwork Institute, www.AWINET.org for member directory.
3. Consult also local preservation architects, architectural conservators, and restoration contractors
to identify custom millwork shops that may not have ads and not internet exposure.
4. Old World Moulding & Millwork
5. Silverton Victorian Woodworks
A. Molding replacement piece of matched species, age, and
B. Finish nails
C. White or yellow wood glue
D. Wood putty
A. Claw hammer
B. Nail puller or pliers
C. Putty knives
D. Knife for marking
E. Coping saw
F. Backsaw or dovetail saw
G. 12" combination square
F. Compass or pair of dividers for scribing
G. Sturdy work gloves
A. Inspect for paint that is worn, chipped, peeling,
blistered, or flaking. If any of these conditions exist
there may be moisture entering the feature. Check for
possible sources of this moisture and correct as
B. Inspect for the signs of decay and/or insect infestation
and make repairs as necessary.
C. Determine the type of corner construction used before
removing any molding. Outside trim corners are usually
mitered (joining pieces are both cut at 45 degrees).
Inside corners are usually coped (one piece is cut with
a coping saw so that it contours the adjacent piece at 90
A. Surface Preparation:
1. Mask or cover adjacent surfaces and permanent
equipment during repair and maintenance. Coverings
must be adhered without adhesive tape or nails.
Impervious sheeting that produces condensation
shall not be used.
2. Repair any scratches, gouges or dents in molding
before removing it. See 06440-04-R for guidance.
3.03 ERECTION, INSTALLATION, APPLICATION
NOTE: IF MOLDING IS DAMAGED, REPLACE AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.
SEARCH STORAGE AREAS FOR POSSIBLE SPARE PIECES OR TRADE WITH
A PIECE IN AN INCONSPICUOUS LOCATION.
IF A REPLACEMENT PIECE MUST BE PRODUCED, USE THE SAME WOOD
SPECIES AND GRAIN ORIENTATION. IF POSSIBLE LOOK FOR SALVAGED
WOOD OF THE SAME AGE AS ORIGINAL BECAUSE IT MATCHES BETTER
THAN NEW WOOD.
A. Remove damaged section of molding.
1. Use a putty knife or scraper to loosen glue or
paint build-up between the molding and the wall.
2. Determine the type of corner construction used (see
Section 3.01 above).
3. Remove the coped board first (it would have been
installed after its adjacent mate).
4. Pry boards at the edges or joint; if removing
baseboards or ceiling moldings, begin at the
5. Beginning at one end, gently hammer a prybar
between the molding and the wall. PLACE A WOOD
SHINGLE OR WIDE-BLADED PUTTY KNIFE UNDER THE PRYBAR
AND AGAINST THE WALL TO PROTECT THE WOOD FROM BEING
DAMAGED BY THE PRYBAR. FOR VERY SOFT WOODS, USE
TWO PUTTY KNIVES - ONE FOR PROTECTING THE WALL AND
ONE FOR PROTECTING THE TRIM.
6. Gently pull the wood away from the wall using the
prybar until a nail is visible.
7. Pry the molding open at the visible nail until the
next nail is visible. Continue prying along the
length of the molding. WORK THE PRYBAR ONLY AT
a. If large-headed common nails are used to
secure the molding, try removing the nails
before completely removing the molding from
1) Pry molding approximately 1/4" away from
wall as described above.
2) Using a wood block, gently tap the
molding back against the wall. The nail
heads should project enough from the
surface so that the nails can be removed.
3) If the nails are thin enough, cut off the
exposed nailheads using wire cutters.
Use a prybar to pry the nails from the
wood. PLACE A WOOD SHINGLE OR PUTTY
KNIFE UNDER THE PRYBAR AND AGAINST THE
MOLDING TO PROTECT THE WOOD FROM BEING
DAMAGED BY THE PRYBAR.
b. If small-headed finish nails are used to
secure the molding, they will either slide
through the molding and remain in the wall or
come out with the molding when it is removed.
8. When all of the nails have been pried loose, gently
remove the entire board away from the wall.
a. Remove any finish nails remaining in the wood
using a nail puller or pliers.
NOTE: ALWAYS REMOVE THE NAILS FROM THE BACK
OF THE WOOD. NEVER HAMMER THE NAILS THROUGH
THE FRONT. NAILHEADS ARE USUALLY SET BELOW
THE SURFACE AND FILLED WITH PUTTY. PUSHING
THE NAILHEAD THROUGH THE FRONT OF THE WOOD CAN
CAUSE THE WOOD TO SPLINTER.
b. If common nails remain in the wood after it
has been removed, cut them with heavy wire
cutters as close to the back of the board as
possible. File any remaining pieces of nail
projecting from the surface.
9. If molding is to be reused, be sure to mark each
piece on the back with its location.
B. Cutting the Replacement Molding:
1. For a Mitered Joint: Measure the new piece from
the short point (the inside edge). Make cut mark
with knife instead of pencil for more accurate cut.
Always cut on the waste side of the line.
2. For a Coped Joint: Profile cut the new piece.
Smaller pieces can be cut to the right length in a
miter box. Slightly undercut sawn edge with coping
saw to assure tight fit.
3. For larger moldings, butt board to be cut up
against board to be mated at 90 degrees. Scribe
the profile with a compass or a pair of dividers.
Cut along scribed line with coping saw.
4. To join a long piece of baseboard, ceiling molding,
etc. to existing, make a scarf joint. To achieve a
scarf joint, cut meeting pieces at a 45 degree
angle. Position the joint over a wall stud for
C. Installing the Molding:
1. Test the fit of the molding by temporarily tacking
it in position using two finish nails. DO NOT
hammer the nails all the way in.
2. If the piece fits well, nail in place with
finishing nails. Use existing nail holes if
possible, but hammer nails at an angle so that they
will strike new wood.
3. Hammer the nail into the wood until it is just
above the wood surface.
4. Use a nailset to set the nail about 1/8" below the
5. Cover the recessed nailhead with putty and wipe
clean so that it is flush with the surface.
END OF SECTION