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Whether you’re removing baseboards to replace the flooring, paint a wall, or update the baseboards themselves, following these easy steps will save you both time and money.

Steps for Removing Baseboards

Step 1: Score a line along the baseboard

  • Score a line along the baseboard and any quarter-round molding to help it release more easily from each other and any woodwork or drywall above.
  • The joint may have been caulked or even just painted over several times. Skipping this step can pull large pieces of the paint on the adjacent surface and create the need for additional patchwork.

Step 2: Choose a starting point

  • If possible, start at an outside corner where it’s easier to open the joint, versus an inside corner where the miters can lock the pieces more tightly in place.

Step 3: Tap a putty knife behind the molding

  • Using a hammer, tap the blade of a thin putty knife behind the molding, starting with any quarter-round trim installed in front of the baseboards, to start working it loose.

Step 4: Create a gap

  • Once you create a gap, slide the end of a pry bar into the opening to work it free, sliding a block behind the bar to create a fulcrum and to prevent it from marring the wood or wall above.
  • Repeat this process to free the main baseboard molding, using a pry bar or hammer supported by a block to open the gap.
  • If your floors were installed in front of the baseboards, you may also need to pry the baseboards up slightly to get them free.
  • Once you get behind a section, work your way down the board and around the room.

Step 5: Pull out leftover nails

  • Remove any leftover nails with a hammer, using a block to support near the base of the drywall.