Moulding provides a beautiful architectural element to your home, but it also helps protect your walls. Over time, moulding can take a beating. Chair rails become dented by doors being slammed open, baseboards get hit by the vacuum a few too many times, or perhaps Fido used your moulding as a chew toy. All of this abuse can leave your moulding looking shabby. While extensive damage may require replacing all of the moulding, in most cases it can be repaired relatively easily.
The first step is to assess the damage to determine the best repair approach to take and what supplies you will need. Small dings, scratches, and cracks can be repaired using wood putty. For larger areas with more extensive damage that requires it to be rebuilt, such as deep gouges or broken corners, epoxy filler is a better option. If you are repairing stained wood, be sure to select a stainable wood filler.
Clean the area to be repaired to remove any grease and dirt. Use masking tape to protect your walls. Using fine grit sand paper, sand off any raised edges or splinters. Next, apply wood filler over the damaged area. If using wood putty, it will shrink as it dries and any excess can be sanded off after it dries. Allow it to dry completely overnight. If using epoxy, be as precise as possible and be careful not to use too much as it will not shrink and is more difficult to sand.
After it has dried thoroughly, sand it smooth and clean off the dust. If you are painting it, apply primer first, then paint. If you no longer have the original paint, take a chip to a paint store to get a match to ensure that the repaired section matches the rest of your moulding.
If the damage to your moulding is too extensive to patch, you may need to replace part of your moulding. If the damaged area is a short run, it may be easiest to replace the entire run. For a longer run, you can cut out replace the damaged section. If you have an older home, it may be difficult to find your moulding design. In this case, you may need to get custom millwork to ensure a match.