Removing baseboard without damage to your wall or molding is a fairly simple task if you do it right. If not, you might end up damaging your wall or trim piece. This tutorial covers removing baseboard the old fashioned way with several common tools. If you’re interested in a faster way, check out my Trim Puller post.
Removing Baseboard Without Damage
In the last week, I’ve had three clients ask me for tips for removing baseboard. I tried to locate a post I did on the very subject a couple years ago but apparently it was lost with dozens of others in “The Great Blog Break”. Luckily, I needed to remove some baseboard this weekend so … I’ve redone the tutorial — bigger and better.
Pictures for those that want the quick and easy “read it and go” explanation and a video for those than want to SEE exactly what I’m talking about.
What you need to get the job done:
- utility knife
- 5 in 1 painter’s tool
- scrap of wood
*I find it best to start at the beginning of a run of trim.
Cut through caulk
First CUT through your caulk. Don’t just score it, cut it. The caulk can tear the drywall paper if you don’t cut through. Got it? LOL
Use a 5 in 1 painters tool or thin scraper to wedge behind the trim piece. Gently pull the trim away from the wall –just enough to get your prybar behind it.
Then put a block of wood behind the prybar. The block of wood disperses the pressure so your prybar doesn’t bust through your drywall.
Now gently pull and pry and work down the line of trim focusing on each area you feel some resistance. That’s most likely where the installer put a nail. Go slowly and gently. Don’t ream on the prybar. Don’t bend the moulding too far that it snaps. Easy does it. If you see an area where the caulk did not get cut through, go back over it. You’ll see it starting to pull UP which will tear the drywall paper.
Scrape off any caulk that was left on the wall and then you are ready for whatever awesomeness that you have planned for that space!
Also, check out this post to Remove Baseboard with the Trim Puller. The trim puller makes it possible to use 1 tool instead of four as in this tutorial!
Jann Newton says
Thanks for re-doing this post!
Great tips. The last thing anyone wants is damaged drywall to fix. This is a must read for anyone tackling a baseboard project 🙂
Can you put the the baseboard back on the wall or do you need to replace it with new materials? If it can be reused, it would be a good idea to lable the pieces, right? Love the posts and the blog!
Absolutely you can re-use it. That’s why we want to be so careful not to break it as well as not put a hole in your wall. Yes, labeling each piece is a great idea.
This is so great! Thanks for posting it! And I really appreciate the video! Pinned!
And…I just entered your giveaway!!!! (for some reason I couldn’t comment on that post) I wanted to let you know how awesome I think it is and I would DIE if I won, seriously I have been jealous of everyone who is getting to work with you, I love your work! Thank you so much!
Thanks Mindi. (I actually disabled comments on that giveaway just so no one would mistakenly think they were entering with a comment and not actually use the rafflecopter.) If you do win — please don’t die. 🙂
can you post a “just in case you didn’t follow my remove trim without damaging walls” post for those of us that didn’t see your post in time? 😉
LOL HOw to patch the drywall if you bust it? I have a post on that already. 🙂
Jen Atkinson says
Wish there were a way to remove those horrible “marble” side pieces on bulder vanities…those suckers are glued on, and you have to live with holes…not that I know anything about that. 🙂
Oh they can be removed. Cut through the caulk and use the same method as described in this tutorial. Board under crowbar so you don’t punch through your drywall. Then repair the drywall behind the marble (where they put those big dobs of glue.) 🙂
Our house was built in the 1930’s and our base board molding is about 8″ deep. Do you think it could be taken off in this same method?? I want to fix some issues with the walls and the flooring and the best way would be to take the baseboards off.
8″ DEEP? Holy crap! That’s deeper than my wall! I don’t want to assume that you meant 8″ tall but am going to…it should work. You just have to go slow and see what happens. IF your base moulding truly is 8″ deep, I have NO idea what’s going on there and wouldn’t touch it.
I don’t know how often ‘newer’ baseboards are removed…
Tips for really old ones with possibly plaster walls are 2 I’d appreciate tips with.
The craftsmen who installed these back in the day…did it so woodwork would not move.
If it’s super duper old I can only make a guess as to HOW it was installed. If it was nailed and caulked, this method should work. There are most likely tons of layers of paint over the caulk so you’ll have to really work to cut throughout that before you try to pull the base off. If they didn’t install it with nails and glued it, then I don’t know. If they SUPER DUPER glued it on, you’re looking at a real mess! You’ll have to decide how badly you want those baseboards removed and what’s going back up after you remove them. Will the damage to the wall be covered with a taller base? Then it might not matter. BUT, if the plaster comes up in chunks and you have damage above the base I wouldn’t want to get into that personally.