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
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
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.
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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