How to Remove Baseboards Without Damaging the Drywall

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Before you can remove baseboards without damaging drywall, you should know a little about how baseboards are installed. A finish carpenter cuts and nails baseboards to the drywall with finish nails. A piece of quarter-round trim is nailed to the bottom of the baseboard to hide the gap between the floor and the baseboard, and a painter caulks the gap between the top edge of the baseboard and the wall. Knowing this and using the right tools ensures the baseboard removal takes place without damaging drywall.

Things You'll Need

  • Utility knife
  • Stiff-bladed putty knife
  • Hammer
  • Angled, flat pry bar
  • 6-inch-long piece of baseboard
  • Cut the caulk along the top edge of the baseboard with a utility knife. Cut along the entire length of the baseboard. This will ensure you don't tear the drywall paper when removing the board.

  • Set the blade end of a stiff putty knife down into the gap where the caulk was cut, at one of the ends of the baseboard. Hammer the putty knife blade down between the baseboard and the drywall until the gap widens to about 1/4 inch. Keep the handle flush against the wall to keep the blade from cutting into the drywall.

  • Slip the angled end of a flat pry bar down into the gap. Place a 6-inch-long piece of baseboard between the wall and the pry bar. Lift the pry bar handle up toward the wall until the bar connects with the piece of baseboard. Continue prying up until the nails holding the baseboard to the wall pull out of the drywall. The 6-inch piece of baseboard will keep the pry bar from damaging the wall. Repeat this process along the entire length of the baseboard.

Tips & Warnings

  • You only need to use the putty knife to start the removal process.
  • Don't use a block shorter than 6 inches or the pressure from the pry bar won't displace evenly across the wall. This will dent the drywall.

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