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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    1

    Default Refinishing wood trim - remove or leave on wall

    My husband and I have a 1920s bungalow and have extensive work to do on the original wood trim work. The wood pieces are oak and have taken on a green tone over time. We aren't sure if the discoloration is the result of something done by the previous homeowner or it is simply wear and sun exposure that has occurred over time.

    I am wondering if anyone has experience in removing the trim work in order to complete the necessary refinishing steps. Is it possible to carefully remove the trim and reinstall it? We unfortunately did our home projects out of sequence (already refinished the floors and repaired plaster on the walls), so completing the work while it is on the walls seems a bit impossible.

    Any advice on this home project would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,841

    Default Re: Refinishing wood trim - remove or leave on wall

    Quote Originally Posted by huikri View Post
    My husband and I have a 1920s bungalow and have extensive work to do on the original wood trim work. The wood pieces are oak and have taken on a green tone over time. We aren't sure if the discoloration is the result of something done by the previous homeowner or it is simply wear and sun exposure that has occurred over time.

    I am wondering if anyone has experience in removing the trim work in order to complete the necessary refinishing steps. Is it possible to carefully remove the trim and reinstall it? We unfortunately did our home projects out of sequence (already refinished the floors and repaired plaster on the walls), so completing the work while it is on the walls seems a bit impossible.

    Any advice on this home project would be greatly appreciated.
    Yes it can be done. A 5 in 1 tool is handy, a large putty knife, a utility knife, and a small pry bar. You will probably have some wall damage and old oak is probably very dry and brittle and can be split easily.

    Start by breaking any bonding material between the wall, the ceiling, and the moulding. Use a utility knife to break paint or caulking bonds. Slid or tap a 5 in 1 tool under the trim and pry up. Do a little at a time and all the way down the trim. Once you have it started use the small pry bar. Slide it under the trim and place the putty knife blade under the pry bar so your pry leverage is on the knife blade rather than the wall. Once the trim is removed pull all nails out the back of the trim, if you try to tap them out the front you will most likely splinter the front surface. And you're ready to refinish and re install. Some wall clean up will probably be required.
    Hope that helps,
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Refinishing wood trim - remove or leave on wall

    We also have a 1920 house and have not had good luck removing the wood trim without collpsing walls. I have found a few good ways to work on the wood in place. Tape around it very well and either use Denatured alcohol (which dissolves shellac, but does not harm paint, varnish, or polyurethane) or use a good wood cleaner that will take off a lot of the "gunk" but not dissolve the finish. This will stain paint around the wood or anything else it touches - so the tape job is more important with this product. Good luck as I am working on miles of woodwork in our house and don't envy you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    367

    Default Re: Refinishing wood trim - remove or leave on wall

    I'd certainly go with the tape job and work on the trim, in place. Taking it off will be a big project and not something I'd want to do. Masking tape has a tendency to let liquids like paint and other things, seep behind it as you work. Messes up the walls more and makes more work.

    They've come out with a new tape called Green something but I can't remember the exact name. I saw it written up in one of the woodworking mags and it got pretty good marks. I've seen it on the shelves at Lowe's, in the paint dept. You might want to try some of it. It's supposed to seal things better than painter's tape or masking tape and keeps the seeping from occurring.

    Good Luck.

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