Removing Baseboard Trim

Simple Techniques for Removing Baseboard Trim

By Mark J. Donovan

There are many reasons for having to remove baseboard trim. Removing baseboard trim is easy to do, as long as you have the right tools and know what you are doing.

Frequently it is necessary to remove baseboard trim due to installing new hardwood floors or other types of flooring products. Other times the baseboard trim is just badly dinged up and needs to be replaced.

Tools Required for Removing Baseboard Trim: Hammer, 2 Pry bars, Pliers / Pincers, 2 or 3 small thin blocks of wood (shim), and a nail punch.

Removing Baseboard Trim

After emptying the room of any furniture and other items that may impede your workflow, or could be dinged by the removed baseboard trim, begin in one corner of the room.

Start by using your hammer and nail punch and sinking the finished nails holding in the baseboard trim almost all the way through the trim.

Next, slip your pry bar behind the back of the baseboard trim, near one of the ends. Use your hammer to tap the pry bar behind the old baseboard trim. Put a shim along the wall where you apply the pry bar so that when you pry the baseboard trim off of the finished nail and away from the wall you do not mar the wall.

Once you have one end of the baseboard trim separated from the wall. Gently pull it away to loosen the other nails further down the piece of trim. Continue to use your pry bars to assist in the removal of the baseboard trim. Again, use the shims wherever you apply the pry bars up against the walls.

removing baseboard trim

Once you have removed the baseboard trim, immediately pull out the nails. Waiting until later will put you at risk of stepping on a nail or scratching something that snags on the nails.

You may find that many of the finished nails are still stuck in the wall studs, after removing the baseboard trim. Use your pair of pliers, or pincers, to remove the finished nails. To gain leverage with your pliers, hold the pry bar’s flat surface up against the wall so that it protects the wall as you pull and twist the pliers to remove the finish nails.

Reusing Removed Baseboard Trim

For most situations I do not recommend reusing removed baseboard trim. In the process of removing it you inevitably wind up increasing the size of the nail holes by using the nail punch. In addition, the edges of the baseboard trim are frequently marred where the pry bar was used.

If however, you want to reuse the baseboard trim then use either a very thin nail punch or do not sink the nails to deep into the baseboard trim. In addition, use the smallest pry bar possible to prevent damaging the baseboard trim edges.

Also, use your hands as much as possible to remove the baseboard trim from the walls. Finally, when removing nails from the baseboard trim it is best to pull the nail from the back of the baseboard trim. This technique helps to protect the finished surface of the baseboard trim from splitting, as is frequently what happens when pushing the nail out the front side of the baseboard trim.

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