How to Remove Glued Molding

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Removing molding without damage keeps the molding intact for reuse elsewhere.
Removing molding without damage keeps the molding intact for reuse elsewhere. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Gluing on molding provides a finishing accent on a surface without damaging the surface by nailing the molding into place. Removing the glued-on molding without damaging the surface, though, can be more difficult than the application. Just pulling the molding away can damage the molding or the surface beneath. With a heat gun, however, you can soften the glue holding it in place. After softening, you can then peel the molding from the surface, leaving both surface and molding intact.

Things You'll Need

  • Heat gun
  • Putty knife
  • Paintbrush
  • Sponge

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Plug a heat gun into the nearest electrical outlet. Set the gun to its lowest setting and hold it about 3 inches above the surface of the molding.

Turn on the heat gun and direct the heat toward the molding. Move the heat back and forth along a 12-inch length of the molding. Keep the movement constant, to evenly direct the heat without buildup in any one spot. Watch the surface of the molding carefully for any signs of singeing. If you notice signs of overheating in the molding, then immediately turn off the heat. As the molding heats, the glue holding it in place will soften.

Slide the blade of a putty knife into the softened glue between the molding and the surface beneath. Pry away the molding as you move the knife between the two surfaces, using the knife as a wedge between the two.

Work your way down the length of the molding, applying the heat as you go, to continue softening the glue. Pull the molding away when you reach the end of the panel.

Remove glue residue from the rear of the molding or the subsurface by brushing the surface with a layer of adhesive solvent. Allow the solvent to dissolve the glue, then scrape the glue away using the putty knife’s edge. Rinse the remaining glue residue from the surface with a sponge dampened with clean water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use the solvent only in a well-ventilated room to prevent inhaling toxic fumes.

References

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