Baseboards serve a pretty basic purpose, and they serve it well: hide the part of a room where the drywall meets the flooring. Sometimes, though, they’ve got to go, whether it’s because you need to remove them to complete another project, or whether they’re outdated and you’re looking to replace them altogether. Either way, you want to remove them without damaging the walls in the process.
How to remove baseboards with a hammer and putty knife
If you are a relatively handy person, you probably already have all the tools you need to remove your baseboards and spare your walls any damage:
- Painter’s tool (either a five-in-one tool or a putty knife)
- Small piece of wood to protect the wall
- Utility knife
To start, take the utility knife and cut along the baseboard where it meets the wall. This technique scores the baseboard to remove any paint or adhesive that sticks the baseboard to the wall — and it’s particularly important for homes with older baseboards in which the paint has fused to the baseboard, making it more challenging to remove.
Starting at one end of the baseboard, take your putty knife or five-in-one tool and wedge it between the baseboard and the wall to create space for your crowbar. If you’re struggling to get the putty knife wedged behind the baseboard, lightly hammer the curved end of the crowbar in until the baseboard begins to separate from the wall.
Before you start prying any further, grab your small piece of wood and wedge it between the crowbar and the wall. The plank of wood provides leverage and displaces the pressure as you pry, preventing any damage to the wall. Next, use the crowbar to pull up and out to slowly remove the baseboard. Continue the same steps down the wall, gently removing the baseboard as you move along. Watch construction site House Improvements’ video for an example of the process.
How to remove a baseboard with a trim puller
You don’t need any special tools to carefully remove baseboards, although they do help. Handyman site by Bob Vila says the only tool you truly need is a specially designed trim puller. The puller combines the work of the putty knife and crowbar for an easy release from the wall without damage. Handyman Ron Hazelton shows just how easy it is to use a trim puller for multiple projects.
The specialised tool is designed with a curved edge similar to a crowbar but with a thin edge like a putty knife. The wider frame lets you wedge the bar between the wall and the baseboard and rock from side to side to pry the board off the wall.
Inside the curved edge is a smaller elevated piece that uses the baseboard as leverage to lift from the wall, rather than the bar digging into a plank of wood to pull the board away. This method allows you to remove the baseboard following the same steps detailed above but with less pressure than prying with a hammer and crowbar.