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How to Remove Baseboard in the Installation Process

So you are about to install your new hardwood flooring as your next DIY project and are wondering if you should remove your baseboard first? If you are attacking this project on your own, you want to be sure to do your research for the entire installation. There is plenty of prep work and follow-up work to be done in addition to installing flooring. To begin your project, consider the current baseboards in your home.

How to Remove Baseboard in the Installation Process

There are a few factors you should consider before getting started with the removal process:

  • How your current baseboards are installed
  • Height of current baseboards
  • What you want the finished product to look like
  • Condition of the existing baseboards

Generally, it’s a good idea to remove baseboards before installing your flooring, and here’s why

The finished product will look better.

Short baseboards give a better-finished look, aesthetically, without shoe molding or quarter round. However, with tall profile baseboards, a shoe molding may enhance the decor.

You can match up to the same height of your wood floors.

The height of your new hardwood flooring may not be the same height as your previous floor covering. So, the height of the baseboards would need to be adjusted accordingly.

Tools Needed

The tools you need for carefully removing baseboards can vary. Check to see what you have at home first, and then take a quick trip to your nearest hardware store to get the rest of the materials you need to remove baseboard from the wall. Some tools go by multiple names, so feel

free to give us a call if you have questions or concerns while gathering your items.

  • Utility Knife
  • Putty Knife
  • Pry Bar
  • Trim Puller
  • Scrap Piece of Wood
  • Hammer
  • Pliers

How to Remove Baseboard Without Damaging the Wall

To remove the baseboard, begin by slicing the top edge of any caulk that may be sealing the baseboard to your wall. Wedge enough of an opening to slide your pry bar behind the baseboard. Once your pry bar is secure, place the scrap piece of wood above or behind the pry bar. The block of wood will act as a buffer between the pry bar and your wall, which will prevent damaging your wall throughout the process. Next, gently pry and work down the length of the base board to slowly loosen it from the wall. When you get to an area of increased resistance (most likely from a nail), pull the nail slowly until you feel the nail has been removed from the wall. Take your time and work throughout the entire length of the base board to completely remove the nails holding in the board. You do not want to remove one side before the other; this can cause damage to the molding.

prefinished hardwood flooring

Once you have a section of baseboard off, use pliers to pull the finishing nails out from the back side of the boards in a twisting motion. This will help disguise the nail hole in any visible area on the face of the board.

Pro Tip: If you number each piece of the baseboard and the wall it came off of, it can then be easily matched after the new flooring is installed.

Once the baseboard has been removed, it is time to install your hardwood floor. After the floor is installed, reinstall your baseboards, and touch-up and caulk where needed.

Why would I want to leave the baseboards on?

  • Your existing baseboard is not in the best shape and could be broken during removal.
  • The baseboards were glued to the drywall and could prove difficult to remove without damage.
  • You have no time to remove the baseboards and want a quick solution to finish the project.

If you have decided you do not want to remove the baseboard’s molding, you can follow these steps.

light hardwood floor for dogs

When installing wood flooring, you are required to leave an expansion gap of approximately the thickness of the flooring around the edges of the room. This gap will help ensure your flooring has enough room to expand and contract throughout the seasons.

Install the base shoe/quarter round molding over the expansion gap created by your new hardwood flooring. When attaching the base shoe/quarter round, nail the molding into the bottom of the existing baseboard and not into the flooring itself. Fill any nail holes and apply any touch up as needed.

As always, you can always reach out to the flooring professionals here at Patrick Daigle Hardwood Flooring. We are only a phone call away to help assist your questions or take on the job entirely for you. We are a fourth generation business in the flooring industry since 1927. We also install wood flooring, laminate flooring, and engineered wood floors. Call us today for FREE ESTIMATES!

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