How to Remove Stuck Baseboards

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It is sometimes necessary to remove baseboard molding if you are painting a room or just want to replace the old molding. Baseboards usually attach to the wall with a series of finishing nails. However, some installers do use glue occasionally, along with nails. When baseboards have been glued down, it might seem that they're stuck there for good. Removing stuck baseboards requires cutting through the glue enough to pry the board away.

Things You'll Need

  • Utility knife
  • 2 small pry bars
  • Hammer
  • 6-inch-wide putty knife
  • Heat gun or hair dryer
  • Eye protection

Wood Baseboards

Score along the top of the baseboard where it meets the wall, using a utility knife. This cuts through paint in the seam, which can contribute to stuck baseboards. Score along the corners where the baseboards meet as well.

Go to the shortest baseboard in the room. Place the sharp edge of a small pry bar on the curved end between the wall and the baseboard, 3 inches from the end of the baseboard. Smack the top of the pry bar with a hammer to drive it behind the baseboard and wall. The baseboard will begin to separate from the wall.

Insert a second pry bar between the baseboard and the wall, 6 inches from the first pry bar. Tap the top of the pry bar with a hammer to drive it between the baseboard and wall. Gently pull the first pry bar toward you to release the baseboard from the wall just enough to insert a putty knife blade.

Place a sharp 6-inch-wide putty knife between the baseboard and wall where the first pry bar was located if there is glue holding the baseboard to the wall. Tap the handle of the putty knife with a hammer to drive the blade through the glue.

Move down another 6 inches from the second pry bar and begin prying the baseboard away from the wall with the other pry bar. Continue cutting through the glue as necessary, using the putty knife. Once the baseboard is loose from the wall, pull it off the rest of the way with the pry bars.

Remove any nails that pulled through the baseboard and stayed in the wall, using a hammer. Begin removing the next piece of baseboard in the dame manner. Removing the shortest piece first enables the end of the longer pieces to separate more freely and also gives you an idea of the nail spacing for the rest of the baseboards.

Vinyl Baseboards

Find a seam in between baseboards. If you cannot find a seam, start at a corner on the shortest baseboard.

Set the heat setting on a blow dryer or heat gun to "Medium." Hold the heat gun or hair dryer 6 inches from the baseboard.

Sweep the heat gun or hair dryer back and forth slowly while inserting a putty knife between the baseboard and the wall. Pry the baseboard away from the wall as the heat softens the glue.

Continue heating and prying along the length of the baseboard until the baseboard is completely off the wall.

Tips & Warnings

  • Expect some damage to drywall walls if there is glue on the baseboard. However, the new baseboards will usually cover any damage you might have created when removing the stuck baseboards.
  • Wear safety goggles or other eye protection to protect your eyes from flying nails or other debris.

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