Home>Discussions>INTERIORS>Molding & Carpentry>How do Ireplace flooring under existing baseboard/trim on plaster walls?
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Seth
How do Ireplace flooring under existing baseboard/trim on plaster walls?
Seth

We have ripped out the floors down to the joists, used 3/4" t-g plywood glued and screwed, and now we are ready to start flooring with 2.25" oak strip flooring, I think 5/8" or3/4 thick". However, on some of the walls (particularly the walls with lots of small 90 degree zigzags and with steam pipes and receptacles in the way) are too low to slide the flooring under. The baseboard is 1" thick and secured with 3-4" thick cut nails through the plaster and lath into the studs, then there is a molding piece on top of it.

My fiancee wants to pull the baseboards off the walls, but I fear I can't get them off without damaging/destroying the 150-year-old plaster. I want to cut the bottom edge off while they are on the wall, but she is afraid my cuts will be jagged or too wide (she has been looking at my work with a sawzall, but I was planning on using a reciprocating saw and hopefully get better results, at least where it reaches.) Her plan would probably take less time and be more accurate, assuming I can get the trim off.

What do you think?

ed21
Re: How do Ireplace flooring under existing baseboard/trim on plaster walls?
ed21

Can you butt the flooring to the baseboard and use a shoe molding or quarter round to cover the edge?

Jack
Re: How do Ireplace flooring under existing baseboard/trim on plaster walls?
Jack
Seth
Re: How do Ireplace flooring under existing baseboard/trim on plaster walls?
Seth
ed21 wrote:

Can you butt the flooring to the baseboard and use a shoe molding or quarter round to cover the edge?

Sorry, I forgot to mention that quarter round is verboten, for... stylistic reasons I don't completely know, but it just is. She does the designing, I do the work.

Also, I am assuming the wood floor must slip underneath the trim on all sides to allow expansion in all directions. Is that correct? Oak strip flooring stapled to the subfloor.

Those jam saws look dangerous, I might have to get one. Definitely looks like it would be faster than the reciprocating saw (which makes a horrible racket as well). Thanks! Edit: oooh they have them at amazon for cheaper and free 2-day shipping, I really could finish the floor before hosting Thanksgiving! Thanks again!

A. Spruce
Re: How do Ireplace flooring under existing baseboard/trim on plaster walls?
A. Spruce

Is it quarter round specifically that she has issue with, or is it any type of shoe molding?

Yes, you want to leave room between the edge of the flooring and the wall/base for expansion, but here's the thing, if you don't remove the baseboards, you're NOT going to get the flooring under the existing base on one side or one end, which is going to look awful! And, yes, you are correct, you will likely obliterate both the walls and the existing base if you try to remove it. Additionally, you're likely to hit a good number of nails with the saw if you try cut it.

If the baseboards are painted, I would recommend the use of a shoe molding that matches the floor, which very nicely ties the flooring into the wall. You can use virtually any molding you like for the job, it does not have to be quarter round or an actual shoe (elongated quarter round ) molding.

HoustonRemodeler
Re: How do Ireplace flooring under existing baseboard/trim on plaster walls?
HoustonRemodeler

Jamb saws are fairly easy to use, especially with a sharp blade.

Seth
Re: How do Ireplace flooring under existing baseboard/trim on plaster walls?
Seth

Home depot will ship it to me in 2 weeks for $200 or rent me one for 4 weeks for almost $400. Interesting business model.

Amazon is delivering one to me on Saturday so I can hopefully knock these floors out my Thanksgiving, thanks for the help!

ed21
Re: How do Ireplace flooring under existing baseboard/trim on plaster walls?
ed21

Let her do some of the work and maybe she'll modify her view on molding and a "clean" look on the floor. :rolleyes:
Don't forget the steam pipes and receptacles will have to be moved/removed and the jamb saw may not get into the corners of the zig zags.
It one thing to do that in new work, but existing conditions often dictate or suggest different solutions. There's a reason trim is often used other than for the aesthetics.

Sombreuil_mongrel
Re: How do Ireplace flooring under existing baseboard/trim on plaster walls?
Sombreuil_mongrel

Hi,
A sawzall with a long metal-cutting blade is what is called for. The damage to the plaster will be minimized, but no way I can say there would be zero damage.You would first pry off the base cap molding, use a japanese "fishtail" or trim bar to get it away from the baseboard and the wall, work it loose a bit at a time. Label where the pieces go so they can go back. If you do break some, save the pieces and epoxy them back together. You can then pry the base itself away just enough to get the sawzall blade in between wood and plaster. IIRC the Milwaukee "torch" blades are fairly good for this. https://www.milwaukeeconnect.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_27_40028_-1_682179_192584_192327
I have removed/reinstalled rooms full of base in this manner.
Once you get the flooring down and sanded, you may want to rough-plaster back down to the flooring before re-installing the base, if there are substantial gaps. (Use structolite plaster for this). While you're at it, if you caulk the plaster/floor joint, you will have eliminated a great source of drafts in any old house.
Casey

Clarence
Re: How do Ireplace flooring under existing baseboard/trim on plaster walls?
Clarence

A house with 150 year old plaster will have wood screeds and nailers behind the base boards.
The plaster is most likely only one inch below the top of the base board no nails will be in the plaster
Use a sharp blade to cut the paint between the plaster wall and the base board.

Mastercarpentry
Re: How do Ireplace flooring under existing baseboard/trim on plaster walls?
Mastercarpentry

A jamb saw is ideal here- the exact kind of job that tool is made for. Once you're done you can sell it on Craigslist to recoup the considerable investment. You might even find a deal on a used one there but beware that some old models (like mine) take a special and expensive blade, which won't last forever and won't last long if you run into thick cut-nails which is very likely for a home of that age. I wouldn't attempt the job with any other tool myself.

Phil

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