How to Remove Baseboards

We’re finally all moved in but when I say “moved in” what I really mean is that we’re living with only the barest of necessities – our mattress/box spring on the floor, what little clothing the closets will hold, and the couch – although I’ll argue right now, that even the couch is unnecessary because after a full day of work, a night of demo, all we really care about is getting our aching bodies to bed!

It still feels so surreal that this is in fact – OUR HOME! #somebodypinchme

The rest of our belongings are being stored in the garage while we rip out the trim, baseboards, close off a doorway, widen another, and slap on a coat or twelve of paint in preparation for what will undoubtedly be the biggest improvement this place has seen in several years – new laminate flooring!

First order of business in a mile-long to-do list: removing the baseboards.

Aside from paint, adding thick, beefy baseboard and trim will without a doubt give you the biggest bang for your buck. Guaranteed. It’s an investment I will never regret and continue to make in every house we own after this.

The process to remove baseboards is actually quite simple and very straight forward. We had a general idea how to get-er-done but decided to watch a few You Tube videos beforehand just to help us feel extra confident going in.

Our house has 3 different styles/sizes of baseboards throughout (#iwishiwasjoking) but these steps will work regardless of what style or size baseboard you’re working with. But first – tools:

·         Gloves
·         Utility knife
·         Pry bar – (we used this one and this one)
·         Putty knife (optional)
·         Hammer or rubber mallet
·         Piece of scrap wood
·         Pliers (optional)

Step 1: Score

Using your utility knife, score along the entire top, bottom, and edges (where it meets the door trim) of the baseboard. This will help detach the baseboard from the wall a bit and score through any caulking that was used to fill any visible gaps after installation or numerous layers of paint over the years.

Step 2: Wedge

Starting at one end, use your mini pry bar or putty knife and wedge it into the top of your baseboard by hammering the tool with your hammer or rubber mallet into the top of the score line.

Step 3: Pry
Once the tool has been wedged down between the wall and baseboard you can pry the baseboard off the wall two different ways or a combination of the two. You can either pull the pry bar towards you and keep doing this all the way down the entire length – for extra-long runs of baseboard, we used the 2 pry bar method – one to use as we went along and the other to stick between wall and baseboard where we had just pried off to give us leverage and space between wall and baseboard going forward.

You can also pry the baseboard off by pushing your pry bar towards the wall – but always use a scrap piece of wood when you do this so as not to damage your walls, but to also evenly distribute the force across the piece of scrap wood.

If you didn’t score well enough the 1st time and notice that as you pry, you’re also peeling off layers of your sheet rock, go back and score those areas again or cut the base board away from the peeling wall.

Continue working your way down the entire length of baseboard, wedging and prying.

Step 4: Remove

Once the entire length of baseboard has been pried off the wall, now all you have to do is remove it. In some cases, you might have to tug, pull, wrestle with it to get it out of a tight spot but this is why wearing gloves is necessary! The baseboard should have been attached with a combination of caulk (along top/bottom seams) and nails so be careful of the nails when pulling the baseboard out.

Step 5: Clean-Up

 After your baseboard has been removed, there are still a few things left to do. You’ll want to remove any nails left along the baseboard line so that when you go to install new baseboards or re-install the ones you just removed they are able to sit flush against the wall. In some cases, you may need to scrape off the excess calking along the wall or floor where the baseboard was attached for the same reason. Since we’re installing bigger baseboards and removing the old tiles, we didn’t bother doing this.

If you’re planning to re-install your old baseboards, be sure to mark them with a corresponding number or location so that you know where they go when you re-install them.

Step 6: Take Pre-Caution

If you’re not planning to re-install your old baseboards, be sure to either remove all the nails from the baseboard with a hammer/pliers or bend them down. That way, anyone grabbing a pile of baseboards to discard isn’t getting nicked or poked by rogue nails. I’d also recommending taking a shop-vac to the perimeter to catch any stray nails or wood shards.

And that’s it! It took us only a few hours to remove all the baseboards throughout the house and it was the first step in the bigger renovation plan we’ve got going on over here. Keep tabs on us via Instagram for real-time house updates and as always, check back here for the full progress reports as it happens! Thanks for stopping by and I’ll be back again this week with our whole-house to-do list…and boy is it a long one.

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