Baseboards intallation with plaster walls


I am in the process of replacing the 3 1/4" baseboards in my 60s era condo with plaster walls. When I removed the old boards in lieu of 2X4 studs there is a 2X2 runner along the base of the wall that the boards were nailed into.
My question...I want to install 5" baseboards for a nicer look. Is it better to nail the new baseboards into the 2X2 at the bottom of the board and use an adhesive such as liquid nails to secure the upper portion of the new boards or would it be suffice to just nail them in and use caulk to cover any gap? To nail the upper portion of the baseboard I would be nailing into a plaster wall wich I doubt would hold very long.
Or...is that just too daunting of a task and I should just put 3 1/4 back in?!!
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Obviously, if the fastening point is less than 2 inches above the floor and the material is 5 inches above that, there is going to be a tendency for ugly gaps at the top of the 5 inch baseboard.
All is not lost. Some careful checking with a length of the new baseboard might tell you that it will work. If not, some careful shimming will make it work.
Adhesives are OK, but are not magic. There is no substitute for a good fit.
Also, I personally hate quarter-inch caulking which is the characteristic signature of many of today's would-be craftsmen.
My Dad used to say: "When some folks pick up tools, they should have their hands cut off." He was just kidding, of course ... to make a point.
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Baseboard is never attached to the plaster. The nails should go through to the beams behind the wood lath. However, the lath is sometimes very strange - it'll resist nailing for reasons I don't know. Very fibrous, or something. I ended up nailing low, to that wood strip you mentioned, and then predrilling the upper part of the molding all the way through to the beam. This was planned before putting the baseboard in place, by measuring the precise depth for drilling, and marking the drill bits. I knew I had to feel three things while drilling:
- Pass through baseboard - Pass through plaster - Pass through lath
and then, watch the tape marks on the drill bit. Finishing nails were 1" longer than total drilling depth, to be sure there'd be enough nail in the beams. Besides drilling to avoid splitting the molding, I also figured it would minimize the amount of pounding, which is the last thing you want to do around plaster.
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