Proper Steps for Removing a Baseboard

What You'll Need
Putty knife
Pry bar
Work gloves
Protective goggles
Utility knife (optional)

Many homeowners want to retain their old baseboards which make removing baseboard molding important because you do not want to break or damage them. You also do not want to damage your walls in the process of baseboard removal. This article will show you how to properly remove the baseboard molding without damaging it or the walls.

Step 1 - Inspect the Baseboards

Before you begin removal of the baseboards it is important to inspect them first. Find where the edges are, as this is where you will begin removal. Also take notice of the kind of paint that was used on the wall and the baseboards. If there was latex-based paint then there is a chance that it formed a seal between the baseboards and the wall. Prying the baseboards away from the wall without first taking care of the paint can cause you to potentially damage the wall. If you find this to be the case you will want to use the utility knife. Slide the knife between the wall and the baseboard and move it along the length of the baseboard. This will cut the latex paint without damaging the wall or the baseboard.

Step 2 - Loosen the Baseboard from the Wall

The baseboard is attached to the wall with many nails which span the entire length of the baseboard. They can be present on the top, bottom and even in the very center. Before you pry the baseboard away from the wall you want to loosen them. To do this you will insert the putty knife between the baseboard and the wall at one of the ends then pull forward until the baseboard moves slightly. You can then slide the putty knife between the wall and baseboard in other positions. Turn the putty knife with your wrist to loosen the nails. The putty knife does not possess the rigidity of the pry bar to fully remove the baseboard.

Step 3 - Remove the Baseboard

Now that the baseboard is loose you can use the combination of the putty knife and the pry bar to finish the job. Start at one of the ends and work methodically. First, place the putty knife between the wall and the baseboard. The putty knife will protect the wall from the pry bar. Now, insert the straight end of the pry bar in front of the putty knife. You can now pull the pry bar forward to pull the baseboard from the wall. Work along the top of the baseboard until all of the nails are loose. You may have to insert the pry bar further down toward the floor to remove other nails.

Step 4 - Cleanup

With the baseboard removed you will notice that nails may remain in the wall or the baseboard. Use the hammer to remove the nails.