Can't find the right size vent cover? Enter the multi-tool

This week, Jill Washburn, our Jill of All Trades, helped out Producer Connie with a nagging little problem in her Front Room. 

When Connie had her wood floors refinished, the crews removed the vent covers at baseboard level. The large one near the front door was lost along the way. 

Normally, this wouldn't be a huge problem. They are normally easily replaced. But… Connie's house is older and the size of vent cover she needed is not easily found anymore. No worries, says Jill. She just bought a larger one to make sure that she covered the open space. The only hitch is that the baseboard molding would have to be trimmed back a bit to accommodate it.

Therein lies the problem. Not a big problem, though, because there is a tool that can do that, without even having to pull the molding off the wall. Jill shows us how. By using a tool known as a multi-tool or a multi saw, Jill trimmed back the molding right on the wall.

First, Jill placed the vent cover against the wall to determine where her cut line should be and she marked it with a pencil line. Then, she placed a carbide blade on the multi saw that was rated to cut through wood, metal & drywall. Time to start cutting.

Jill recommends practicing on a scrap piece of wood, first, if you've never used one before. The vibration makes it want to "dance around" a bit once you get it on the wood. It can be a little tough to start your cut exactly on the line that you've drawn. It doesn't take long to get the hang of it, though, says Jill.  It helps if you can brace your hand or arm against something. Jill braced against the floor, to start.

Once you get your line started, it's easy to extend it in either direction. Jill says to keep part of the blade in the cut you've already done and extend your line about a half of a blade-width at a time.  As far as depth, Jill knew that she was through the molding when she started seeing white dust coming out versus sawdust. Jill knew, then, that she was into the plaster, so she'd gone all the way through the molding. After that, she just pried the molding away from the wall and removed the cut piece.  

All that's left, at that point, is to try putting the vent cover into place and check the fit. Jill ended up having to make some minor adjustments and then the cover went into place easily. Jill finished by installing the screws to hold the vent cover in place, and called it a job well-done.


To watch Jill take you through the process, click on the video player above.