How do I remove molding with out damaging the molding or the wall?

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Whether you spell it “mold” (American English) or “mould” (British English), isn’t important — so long as you know how to remove mold from walls. Just about every home gets the stuff. Surprisingly, newer homes get it more often than older ones. That’s because mold occurs in areas of higher humidity; tighter seals around windows and doors in new home construction keep in more moisture than in drafty old homes.

Signs of Mold Problems on Walls

The most obvious sign of a mold problem is finding green, brown, orange or even black spots. But there are other, less apparent signs:

Cracked or peeling paint Discoloration A recurrent “soot” or black streaks Bulging A musty, damp smell

Places Most Prone To Mold

Mold often grows in areas where condensation forms from water vapor in the air meeting a cold surface which turns the vapor into a liquid. This often takes place on exterior walls or in basements.

Very humid areas in the home are prone to...

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This week’s Ask The Craftsman Question comes from my younger brother Daniel actually.

“How do you get the nails out of crown molding without damaging it?”

Daniel, asked me this question over Christmas when I was home visiting our parents. He and his wife were just moving into their first house and I was helping him get some repairs done while in town. When he asked me this I knew immediately it would be a great Ask The Craftsman question!

There is a very simple carpenter’s trick for how to remove nails from molding without damaging your trim pieces. If you haven’t removed the molding yet just pry it away from the wall not worrying whether you get any of the nails out yet.

Once you have the molding off flip it over and using end cutting pliers you can easily pull the nails out through the backside.

By pulling the nail through the back you virtually eliminate the chance of damaging the face of the molding. The heads on trim nails are small enough that they...

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previous owners did a real good job of hiding it. So good the home inspector missed it completely. An undetectable leaky skylight allowed moisture to enter the wall which was all the sleeping fungus needed to start growing again. I found out when the siding started to look a bit different in that area. I tapped on it with a hammer and the hammer went right through the siding. This was not good.

I opened a small opening to have a look inside. All of the wood framing looked like there had been a fire. I could push a screwdriver about one quarter of the way into the framing studs with ease. Being in construction, I knew this would be an expensive and extensive repair. Not being a carpenter, I knew I would be at the mercy of several contractors, specialists and testing labs who could tell me anything and I would not know if it was the truth or an exaggeration. So I did some research on the internet and after some trying a few different things I found a system that works pretty...
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Know Your Mold and Mildew

Mold can grow in your home wherever there’s an abundance of moisture, especially when it’s allowed to remain for extended periods of time. Mold usually appears on walls, ceilings and floors of homes where moisture management is not at its best. In particular, basements, shower walls and windowsills are areas where mold commonly likes to live. Mold and mildew, for all intents and purposes, are essentially the same thing; mildew is generically used to describe many minor mold problems in the home, such as on shower tile grout. However, some molds can become highly toxic to people if left to prosper. Mold can cause allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complications, and is especially a risk for small children, the elderly and those with existing respiratory illnesses or weakened immune systems. Mold can appear in many shapes and colors, none of which accurately determines the actual species of mold. However, it does commonly present...

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Whether it's from high humidity, flooding, or a plumbing leak, dealing with mold damage is no fun. Mold is a type of fungus with spores that are always present in the air, even in the cleanest of homes. When conditions are right, however, these spores can attach to household surfaces and form musty smelling white, brown, blue, green, black, red, or orange colonies. If mold damage repair does not begin within 48 hours, mold can spread very quickly throughout your home.

When repairing mold damage, safety should be a top priority. Mold can cause many health problems, especially for those with allergies, asthma, or weakened immune systems. Wear gloves, goggles, and a cotton face mask when repairing mold damage. Make sure the area is properly ventilated when cleaning with bleach or other harsh chemicals.

The easiest surfaces to repair after a mold infestation are wood, metal, plastic, glass, and ceramic. Most types of mold can be removed by scrubbing these surfaces with a...

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One of the biggest problems associated with water damage is the formation of mold. It is a health hazard for many people, which can intensify asthma symptoms and cause other breathing disorder problems. There are a variety of techniques and tools to remove water damage mold from homes and other buildings. To completely remove water damage mold, all moisture must be eliminated from the water damaged area, all major surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned, and all wood and fabric furniture must be treated with a mold-preventing solution.

There are a number of necessary tools and supplies are necessary for water damage mold removal. A dehumidifier is essential to help remove all traces of water and residual moisture from the previously flooded space, as any overlooked moisture can result in a continuing black mold problem. Cleaning supplies consisting of bleach solution, clean water, and a high quality disinfectant will kill existing mold spores. A ventilation mask and gloves are...

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Removing trim or molding without breaking it can be a difficult job. Unless you want to keep the trim or molding, it would be easier to just rip it out and throw it away. However, if you want to salvage the molding or trim, there are some simple steps that can save you time and headache.

When removing trim or molding you will start by running a utility knife along the seam between the molding and the wall. Many layers of paint can make it difficult to remove molding and by running the knife between the seams you'll loosen that paint, making removal a much easier job.

When removing the trim or molding you do not want to use a screwdriver or anything of that nature - you'll be much more likely to gouge the wall if you do. It is best to use something flat and sturdy. You can find a flat pry bar at a local hardware store, but a good sturdy putty knife can do the job just as well.

Be sure to you lace something like newspaper or thin cardboard between your pry...

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Removing a nail depends on so many things, is the nail spiral shanked? Can you get beneath it? Big or small head? Years in wood? Does it need removed, or can it be sunk in? Can face of wood have scarring? If the nail is spiral shank, it's VERY difficult to get out. If a smooth shank was used, then you got a good shot at it. Lets solve worst case scenario... "If finished surface of wood needs saved, you cannot get behind wood (such as pulling trim away from wall), spiral shank or really stuck old nail, and also counter sunk deep. 1. Get a drill, drill bit, also #2 Phillips head. 2. Nail starter, small punch, or something else with a nice thin body and hardened point. 3. Safety glasses. 4. Hammer. 6. Bar soap 7. long smooth shank nail 8. Long #2 Phillips screw with tip ground or broke off. Place the nail starter in the exact center of the nail head, strike the nail causing a dimple to form, drill off the top of the nail with a small drill bit in an electric drill. Take a smooth...

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Traditional wall moldings are sized according to taste. There are some guidelines that will keep your moldings in scale with each other to give it a classically "balanced" look. Most homes feature at least baseboard and door and window casings, while others have as many as four moldings on one wall, with the addition of crown and chair rail. Selecting the right size can greatly impact the visual effect of your trim.

Baseboard

Baseboard molding runs along the bottom of the wall, against the floor. Typical baseboard moldings have a detail cut along the top edge, with a cove, or quarter round molding at the bottom edge. Most baseboards are 1/2 to 1 inch thick and 3 to 8 inches tall. Gauge baseboard size by its relationship to crown and casing. Baseboard is typically taller than casing is wide, and about as tall as the crown. The taller the crown, the taller the baseboard should be to maintain visual balance. A standard 8-foot wall typically has a baseboard 3 to 5...

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When you’re in the middle of about six different projects at once and you start to get overwhelmed, I find the best remedy is: Start a New Project. (That may not be the best advice.)

So, surprise! We’re doing a closet reno! First up, taking down these beauties:

YESSS. Popcorn ceilings in all their early 90’s glory!

Now. To whoever decided this was a fashionable look which should be installed in all homes, I have an important question for you:


WHYYYYY?

When we first moved into our house, step one was to remove the popcorn ceilings. We took them out of the entire house, except our coat closet.

I hadn’t realized until then how much light popcorn ceilings suck out of a room. All those tiny shadows make it feel so dark and yucky, but a flat ceiling bounces the light around and does wonders for the entire space. Check out the difference in our living room.

And after:

See how the light spreads across the...

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Removing an unwanted finishing nail, without doing damage to the wood surrounding it, can be a bit of a challenge. There is a way to accomplish it, which involves making a tool just for that purpose.

Start with a pair of old diagonal cutters. The idea is to remove the bevel on the back side of the tool.

Use a belt sander to grind away some of the material from the back of the cutters.

It's also helpful to grind the sides to form a point at the end of the cutters.

After sanding, the back of the cutters should be virtually flat.

Place the sharp, pointed ends on either side of the nail. Push them slightly into the wood, then squeeze the handles and grip the nail right below the head.

Repeatedly rock the cutter back and re-grip the nail to pull it out of the wood.

Use a piece of scrap wood to increase the range of motion if necessary.

With the nail removed, all that remains is a clean hole that's a snap to...

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I would like to know an easy way to remove tiles that were installed wrong. They’re not straight and I need to remove them without breaking them if that is possible. -Earle

Hi Earle,

If the tiles are firmly attached, you may not be able to remove them without breaking, but here’s how to give it a try.

Start by removing all the grout using a grout saw, rotary cutter, oscillating tool, or utility knife. Next, position a chisel in the grout line under the bottom of the tile, and tap it gently with a hammer to see if the tile will pop loose (be careful not to chip or crack the adjoining tile). If not, insert a thin, flexible putty knife under the tile and try working it loose.

Once you get the first tile out, it will be easier to work under the remaining ones.

Good luck with your...

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