Strong BaseBoards

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Posted by: from Los Angeles
4/2/2018 at 6:59:58 PM

I live in a 100 year old building. My friend pulled the heavy oak baseboards off the wall and replaced them with thin slabs of press-board. They are in two pieces, one sits on the wall above the other, as they didn't have the height of the original oak baseboards. They are held to the wall with 3 inch screws. The wall behind the baseboard is turning to sand from age, so I know this isn't making the wall as strong as the original baseboards. I'm afraid he's ruined the strength / integrity of the walls. I want to re-attach heavy oak boards to the wall with the strongest epoxy I can find. We're in an EQ zone, so I want the walls to be as strong as they were before. Can you suggest the best way to accomplish this? Chantal

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Date/Time4/2/2018 at 10:39:08 PM

Hello Chantal,

Baseboards in your house are really just decorative. They are not holding the wall up. Or adding to the overall structure of the home.

The walls are crumbling because they are old and getting dried out.

There are many baseboard designs that are 10inches or more. They can cover the mess left behind after removing old oak baseboards. You can find them at specialty trim/wood stores.

I wouldn't recommend attaching baseboards with screws. It will cause some issues in the future. Long brad nails are the way to go.

Also if you attach the baseboards with epoxy it will make them virtually impossible to remove later without completely destroying the bottom of your wall.

Hope this helps!

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Date/Time4/3/2018 at 9:37:19 AM

Hi Chantal,

Baseboards are decorative trim, and don't provide any structural integrity. It sounds like you have some other issues there with your walls degrading. It might not be a bad idea to bring in a professional to investigate your walls turning to "sand". What exactly is turning to sand, the plaster or whatever is within the wall itself?

The baseboards should be reinstalled with with brad nails, or finishing nails if you don't have a nailer. Screws can cause them to split and you'd be left with a large hole to fill. Epoxy won't allow the baseboards to be removed, without damage, in case of future renos/work.

Good luck with your project,

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Date/Time4/3/2018 at 4:52:08 PM

Hi Chantal

First SAD to hear old baseboards were replaced with sawdust. Did you keep the old ones?

Also regardless of EQ Zone or anywhere there is something else at work making the walls urn to sand as you have mentioned.

The thing to do here is remove baseboards and trim and since the walls are made with Plaster Lathe and not gypsum board (DRYWALL / WALLBOARD) as is common term these days. over time the plaster becomes brittle due to humidity and dry periods and since baseboards were installed to this plaster after initial single coat of paint there is nothing to protect the surface layer under the baseboard and this is why it is decaying.

Unfortunately the loose plaster will have to be cleaned off and skimmed over with a new type of plaster that contains bonding agent, and is very much like a parging mix, primed and painted with a good NO VOC paint "Sherwin Williams" brand specially designed for plaster. Then reapply baseboards.

We would gladly take on this challenge but are in Canada.

BTW this is a fairly expensive and extensive project.

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