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Recently I've been interviewing architects for a renovation for an UES prewar apartment. During one interview on site, I mentioned that I'd like to remove all of the mouldings (door frames, etc. ) in the apartment and replace with new ones since the ones that are currently in place look like they have 40 coats of paint on them. I've heard (and read on this site) that sanding/stripping the paint off of the existing mouldings is quite expensive due to the labor involved and that replacing them is the way to go. Anyway, he said that the door frames are original and are metal filled with cement (or something like that) and that it would be very expense to replace (because you'd have to do something to the wall to get them out, etc.)
My questions are: is this common? Are they really that expensive to replace? Can someone explain exactly what would be required? Any insight or experience would be appreciated. I'd just like nice looking mouldings without breaking the bank and right now it seems that's not an option.
It depends what one considers expensive. Moldings themselves are not expensive but the labor it takes to either strip them or replace them is time consuming. When you remove the moldings the walls will need to be repaired and then the new molding installed. The walls will then have to be painted
wow sounds complicated, lol. cha ching right primer?
uesnovice, buy some chemical peeler and strip the doorframes yourself. brush it on, wait, wipe it off, repeat - and follow directions. I did it in my apt. It is not hard, and it can be fun to do stuff like that yourself if you are careful and safe.
I interviewed several contractors for similar project and 3 out 4 would rather rip out metal door frames and install new ones rather then deal with stripping existing frames.
It sounds like the doors are installed as part of metal framed units. What is protruding from thhe walls around the doors isnt actually wood but rather is the metal frames ey are set into. If you tear it out, you tear up the walls to either side and transom. Ten you need to replace the door frame by rebuilding it, rehinging he door or new door, and only then applying a decorative casing (thats what you call molding around a door). Ats why it is costly. As part of a gut remodel it may make sense. But it isnt worth it for just a quick cosmetic overhaul of the place probably. And primer is absolutely dead on aboutnmolding cost. The price per sq ft is very low for nearly all types. It is the installation thats costly. Demo, repair to walls, careful cutting and installing new molding, dealing with walls and flooors and ceilings that arent plumb, applying footings and caulk, priming, painting. Lots of work.
Are you talking about decorative plaster molding in addition to the woodwork? If so I would strongly recommend getting some quotes for restoring the plasterwork. The end result will look far better than Before you rip out the moldings I'd really recommend getting some quotes for stripping/restoring. The restored originals will look far better than trying to replicate the look with cheap modern elements.
We restored our original plaster moldings, which had been all but obliterated with decades of paint, and it was WELL worth the effort.
(1) Will your electrical outlets need wiring upgrade/replacement? Will you be installing home runs for CAT5 and/or coax? If so, it might be easier/cheaper to do this with the old molding removed.
(2) If the doors are metal framed units, the frames can be stripped and either painted or clear coated (will look like worn pewter and actually nice). Way too expensive to replace and no reason to. The stripping process is not easy, however; don't believe all the claims on the product labels!
just for reference, I stripped my metal door frames/mouldings with chemical stripper. It was easy. I was careful not to spill, etc, and the apt was well ventilated. Of course, if you like wasting your money, hire someone to do it. By the way, you can strip wood moulding too.
You know, contractors are not exactly rocket scientists, although there is certainly value to experience when *building* - but demolition, and stripping paint counts, is not difficult... If they can do it, so can you. So, do not overpay someone to strip your mouldings, when you can do it yourself.
I am adding contractors to my "I hate these people" list, right under lawyers right behind anyone who brokers anything.
I had mine stripped down a while ago since replacement is costly, cost me 400 dollars a door, fully finished. Well worth it as they are beautiful
Sorry but on this one I have to agree with Jeff. Metal frame doors from before 1978 will most likely be painted with lead paint. Stripping lead paint can be very dangerous especially to young children.I personally would never do it in an enclosed NY apt.
I don't think everyone has the opinion that if you could do it yourself you are wasting money if you hire a professional. I can clean my apartment, wash my dog, clean my car, as well as so many other things but I choose to hire people who do those things for a living. I am not wasting my money and I actually appreciate their hard work.
of course you do Primer!
I am amazed that anyone survived the scourge of lead paint. Oh hey when you bought your apt did you get a lead paint disclosure and did you accept the answer "gee we dont know what is on that wall"?
I agree, pay primer or someone X thousand for what you can do yourself.
Thanks all for the insight. Given that we're not gutting the apartment, it sounds like reburbishing the doorframes is the appropriate way to go in our situation. I do actually like tackling projects around the house (to a limited extent), but since I have a newborn and don't have much free time these days, I think hiring someone makes more sense for me. Not sure I have much energy left after those middle of the night feedings.
birdier- thanks for bringing up those questions. I actually don't have the answers but it seems there is more that I need to think about with the renovation that we'll be doing to this apartment.
liamae- Thanks for the estimate. I'll keep that in mind when we get bids to see if they're in line with what you experienced.
kylewest, bramstar- A big thank you to you both. As I've been going through the archives your wisdom has been extremely helpful in understanding how to approach a renovation.
After we find an architect we'll work on finding a contractor and hopefully we'll have detailed drawings made in the interim. I find one of the biggest challenges of this process is sequencing, as in when do we do drawings, when do we get board approval, do we get GC's before or after, etc. There seems to be a million minutae to tackle!
Thanks again all.
I am truly... Laughing Out Loud
Here's a link to some photos of our plaster molding--before and after restoration. The work was neither cheap nor particularly fast but definitely worth the effort. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.