One of the skills needed by any carpenter is how to remove old baseboards. Most baseboards or moldings are attached to the wall with small fasteners, usually nails; sometimes glue may be used.
In either case, baseboards may be taken off and reused, so the proper method to remove baseboards is mandatory; otherwise, you may mar or damage it in some way during removal and you may possibly need to replace it.
Learning how to remove old baseboards is not hard, though great care is required so as not to cause damage to the wall or the baseboard itself.
While it is true that a great many moldings are not expensive, you may find it challenging to locate the same type of material. This can be avoided by learning how to remove baseboards properly.
This is especially true in older homes or buildings. The same type of baseboards may no longer be available making proper removal a requirement.
Also, you do not want to mismatch the baseboards and may, in this case, need to replace ALL the baseboards even if you only damage one.
How to remove baseboards
Begin by checking for any adhesives or caulking used. Wherever this is present, you will need to cut through it to loosen it up. Then, gently pry the baseboard away from the wall and the nails should come with it.
Typically, the original nails are difficult to remove singly. This is why prying the whole piece away from the wall is the best method of how to remove baseboards.
At times, you will find that the nails pull through the old baseboard and remain in the wall. Just remove them from the wall if that happens.
The key here is to support the baseboard and protect the wall behind it to avoid damage. Anything that is underneath the baseboard will not be seen when the job is done.
To avoid damage to the wall, I suggest using a small wood block between the molding and the wall or plaster. The goal here is to NOT break through it. Small hand tools are usually a bad choice for this task.
The tendency is to leave dents, marks and scratches on the baseboard or wall. Specialty tools are available for the removal of baseboards and are designed to be gentle.
When actually prying the baseboard, get as near to the nails as possible. Never start removing a baseboard and then switch to using your hands.
It is possible to injure yourself and the probability of damaging the baseboard is greatly increased. Instead, place the tool(little bar) directly behind each fastener in turn and pry each one away from the wall.
If you are more comfortable, do this for each place where it is fastened in the entire baseboard, effectively detaching the whole piece of material from its moorings. The nails can be pulled out easily with a pair end cutters or if necessary a pair of pliers. Most of the time it is best and easiest to pull the nails through from the back.
By learning how to remove baseboards properly, you will save time, money and energy over the long term. Your work will be better, the finished job will be neater and you will be done in no time at all.