Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day One: Removal

To remove or not to remove?

When we did the trim in the bedroom upstairs, some of the woodwork had been removed for the electrical project and some remained in place. We decided it would be a good opportunity to see which way worked better.

There are pros and cons to each method, but ultimately we decided to remove the trim for this project. For the following reasons:
  1. We are doing this over the winter and paint stripping creates a large mess that we didn't want to be living with.
  2. It's easier to get crisp lines where the wood meets the wall if it's removed.
  3. When the wood is left in place, the cracks and corners are really hard to get into, which means lots of work with dental tools picking out little bits of paint.
  4. The finished job looks better where we removed the woodwork than where we kept it installed.
The cons for removing the trim:
Okay, so that's a pretty unlikely occurrence, but the point is you can get plaster damage. You can also crack the trim (I had a couple mishaps of that nature today), but usually both cracked (or missing) plaster and cracked woodwork can be fixed. I would rather fix that than spend hours with dental tools, but it's really a personal choice.

If you would like to remove the woodwork to strip it, read on. If giant chunks of plaster falling off scares you, wait until the next installment.

First step: gather your tools.
Stuff you Need:
  1. Marker or pencil
  2. tape
  3. utility knife
  4. five-in-one or stiff putty knife
  5. hammer
  6. crow bar (the little ones work well too, I just couldn't find ours)
  7. stiff piece of plastic or wood (I use a plastic putty knife)
  8. drop cloth
  9. Shop-Vac
  10. Vise-Grips
  11. small step ladder
Step One:
Score the paint. Kevin uses a utility knife for this and runs it between where the wood meets the wall or other trim piece. I like to use a five-in-one tool and gently tap the end with a hammer to break the paint. If you don't do this, the paint can sometimes be bonded to the wood so badly that it will pull chunks of the wood off.

Step Two:
GENTLY, GENTLY, tap the five-in-one with the hammer at the edge of the woodwork. Move up and down the entire length of the trim gently prying it away from the wall. Once you get enough room, you can move to the crow bar. This is where the stiff plastic comes in. I use the plastic putty knife because the handle is easy to grip. Place it between the crow bar and whatever surface is behind it so the force of the prying is on the plastic. You'll do less damage this way. Focus on the nails that are nailed into other woodwork, as wood is much stronger than plaster when it comes to prying.

Step Three:
At this point, the trim should be off the wall. This is where the marker comes in. Label it. My labels look like this:

"Hallway- S. Side- E. of Kitch Door"

I try to be as detailed as possible, because I am kind of scared of putting it back together.

The tape is for taping pieces that become cracked back together. Our trim style is unusual enough that the cap is not available in the twin cities. I save even little chips that fall off by just wrapping some tape around the board with the chip in place.

Step Four:
Get the nails out. This is where the Vise-Grips comes in. The key to pulling the nails is to pull them through the entire board from the back, not pry them out from the face. This way, you don't risk break-out from the force of the nail.

Finally, interesting pictures from the day of trim removal:

Here is a shot of the round doorway. The trim is removed on one half.

The fruits of my labor. I just hadn't removed all the nails yet. There were four doorways in this hall, so a lot of the work was vertical.
If done really well, this is what the plaster should look behind the trim. I'm not going to lie, this is the only one that looks this nice.
Finally, hidden treasures. This is the original wallpaper I unearthed behind some of the trim. It looks almost stenciled. I might use the design somewhere eventually.
And finally, a partially disintegrated crayon that a child pushed down a crack in the molding. Can anyone date it?
Stay Tuned for: Stripping....

1 comment:

benningtoncolonial said...

A subject near and dear to my heart... In fact, so much so that I felt compelled to create a post in response to yours. Good luck!