It's a good idea to start at an outside corner.

How to Remove Baseboards Without Damaging the Drywall

by Rochelle Leggett

A baseboard gives a wall a finished look by hiding the raw edges of drywall or flooring, so you'll have baseboards throughout your house. Certain projects will require you to remove the baseboards, for instance, you might want to access the space behind it, change the baseboard or remove it to install new flooring. Removing it without damaging the drywall is not always possible, but there are steps that will make the process easier and keep damage and repair to a minimum.

1 Run a utility knife along the top of the baseboard. Be gentle so you don't cut deeply into the baseboard or drywall. Cut through any paint or caulk that might be adhering between the drywall and baseboard. Not doing so will make removing the baseboard more difficult, and may pull up paint and paper and damage the drywall.

2 Locate the wall studs with a stud finder. Make marks in pencil on the wall just above the baseboard to indicate where these are. The baseboard will generally be nailed to the studs.

3 Slide a wide putty knife between the baseboard and the wall. Start at a wall stud toward one end of the baseboard, at an outside corner if possible. Pull gently to create an opening between the wall and baseboard.

4 Place a the flat end of a crowbar in the opening formed by the putty knife. The wider and flatter the crowbar, the better.

5 Pull gently to bring the baseboard away from the wall. To protect the wall from dents, you may want to put a flat wood shim or similar item behind the crowbar, between the tool and the wall. Be gentle and pull a little at a time, working your way down the length of the wall. You'll need to pull more firmly at the studs to get the nails loose.

Items you will need

  • Utility knife
  • Stud finder
  • Putty knife
  • Crowbar

Tip

  • If you have vinyl molding, it's most likely glued on rather than nailed. If this is the case, follow the same basic instructions, but use a heat gun to warm the baseboard first. The adhesive is heat-sensitive and will soften when hot, allowing you to pull the molding from the wall easily.

Warning

  • Wear goggles to protect yourself from dust and any debris.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images