Suppose you need to remove a carpet wedged between the floor and a baseboard or repair a part of a baseboard. In that case, you will want to remove it without damaging the wall. Damaging the wall will only delay the project with patching at the end after you have put the baseboards back on. So, how do you remove a baseboard without damaging your wall?
To remove a baseboard without damaging the wall, follow these steps: cut the caulk between the baseboard and wall, separate the baseboard from the wall and pry it away with a crowbar pressing against a piece of wood to protect the wall, and finally pull the baseboard off.
Removing a baseboard from drywall without damaging the wall can be tricky. If you get it wrong, working with chisels, utility knives, and hammers could end with a lot of patching. But keeping the wall intact is not only possible but you may be surprised how easily the job will go if you follow one trick and these five simple steps below! Keep reading!
- Utility Knife
- Block of wood
- Crowbar with 90 degree hook at end with claw
Step 1: Cut Away the Caulk Between the Baseboard and Wall
When installed, the baseboard will most likely have been finished off or sealed with caulk. You will need to remove or cut away this caulk to allow you space to insert the chisel between the baseboard and the wall.
To cut away the caulk:
- Cut through the caulk with the utility knife along the top edge of the baseboard.
- Inspect the seam between the baseboard and the wall to see where the caulk is filled in.
- Place the utility knife firmly in this seam and push it between them.
Be sure to cut through the caulk, or the baseboard will be more difficult to pry away from the wall later and may tear the paper away from the drywall later. Cutting all the way through will require a firm grip of the utility knife and some effort.
If you cannot cut through on the first try, go over the same cut line a few times to cut through.
Do this for all the baseboards you need to remove around the room.
Top Tip: The angle of the utility knife will make all the difference. Try to hold the knife so that it is vertical to the floor and push it down into the caulk. This is less likely to cut into the drywall paper. You may want to score the caulk vertically in the gap between the backboard and the face of the wall first.
Step 2: Separate the Baseboard From the Wall
Always start at the beginning of a run of the baseboard rather than in the middle of the board. There is less resistance when pulling away one end as opposed to pulling away in the middle where there is pressure from both ends.
It is best to start where the baseboard meets a door frame or at a protruding corner, as it will not be wedged between the corner of the wall and another baseboard. This should allow it to come away easier.
Start with a utility knife because its blade is thinner than a crowbar and will help you create a gap big enough to fit the crowbar into. Start by creating a small gap with the utility knife and working it open enough to fit the crowbar. Do not start with a crowbar, as it will damage the baseboard and the wall if you try to force it between them.
Place the utility knife's blade vertically between the baseboard and the wall. It should fit in the gap you created when removing the caulk. Using your hammer, gently tap the top or head of the utility knife so that the blade edge sinks deeper between the gap in the baseboard and the wall.
Once you've gone about 1/2 to 1 inch deep, remove the blade and repeat this an inch or two further along the top of the baseboard. Repeat this for about a foot down the baseboard until there is a gap or enough play where you started that will fit the crowbar hook.
Step 3: Insert the Crowbar Between the Baseboard and Wall
Pull a portion of the baseboard away from the wall in the gap you have created with the hammer and utility knife, creating a gap large enough to insert the claw end of your crowbar between the baseboard and the wall.
Insert a one-inch-thick piece of wood between the crowbar and the wall. Using the leverage of the crowbar and the protection of the piece of wood against the drywall, pry the baseboard away from the wall.
Top Tip: Do not start levering the crowbar without the piece of wood in place! All the pressure from the crowbar will concentrate on the head of the crowbar (the lever's fulcrum) and leave holes or marks on the drywall. A one-inch-thick piece of wood placed between the crowbar and the wall will distribute the pressure across the whole piece of wood and protect the wall from the pressure created by the crowbar.
Step 4: Pull the Baseboard off With a Crowbar and Hammer
With the crowbar firmly in place between the wall and baseboard and the head of the crowbar resting against the piece of wood, lever the crowbar so that the baseboard pulls away from the wall.
Using the crowbar and hammer claw, you can pull more of your baseboard off simultaneously. Using the claw end of a hammer, hold the baseboard away from the wall so you can move the crowbar over.
Lever the baseboard off the wall with the crowbar a second time and then repeat placing the hammer claw in the gap so you can move the crowbar. Do this along the entire length of the baseboard until it has pulled away along most of its length.
Step 5: Remove the Baseboard From the Wall
Once the baseboard has been pulled away with the crowbar and hammer along most of its length, firmly grip the baseboard with your hands and gently jiggle the last few inches of the baseboard off. Use the leverage of the baseboard against the wall to do this.
Be aware of any nails in the baseboard that may snag a finger. Remove the nails from the baseboards for safety.
Repeat Steps 1 to 5 on all the baseboards in the room.
Top Tip: If you plan to put the baseboards back in the same place after a repair or relaying new flooring, label each baseboard as it is removed and stack them out of the way so that you know which baseboard goes where when you put them back.
Top Safety Tip:
Always wear protective gear when doing any DIY work. When removing a baseboard from a wall, the following safety equipment may be necessary:
- Safety glasses
- Knee guards
As there may be pieces of caulk, splinters, or paint that fly off the baseboard when chiseling the baseboard, it is recommended to wear safety glasses to protect your eyes. Similarly, the noise from hammering the chisel may be loud, so earplugs are recommended.
For extra comfort, especially if the floor is hard, knee guards will give you more freedom of movement when moving along the length of a baseboard.