Flip This Condo #7 - Removing and Replacing Baseboard

We're moving full speed ahead toward our goal - completely renovating our condo in Bucktown, Chicago in 1 month.

If all goes according to plan, we'll be on the market on or around the July 4 holiday. 

Today's project - removing and replacing all of the baseboard in the house. 

This is a subtle upgrade, but it was necessary. 

Our condo was built in 2002, and it was fitted with 3.25 inch baseboards. 

They've held up OK - but they look a little shabby due to multiple coats of paint, and a little small. Most new condos we'll be competing against have 5+ inch baseboards. 

So, ours has to go. The new stuff will be installed on Friday. 

And to save a little bit of money, I agreed to do the baseboard removal myself. 
I already regret my decision!

Baseboard Removal

On this project, I have no intention of re-using the molding, so I didn't NEED to move so carefully. 
I'm also installing baseboards that are about twice as high as the previous baseboards, so I don't even REALLY need to worry about damaging the drywall. 

As such, I was able to work fast. 

You need two tools - a putty knife and a pry bar. 

I used a taping knife, which worked really well too.

(Really, any wide, thin metal blade will get the job done.) 

For the prybar, I used my WonderBar, which is a pretty great tool. 

Step one - Score the ENTIRE edge where the top of the baseboard meets the wall. 

(Do the entire piece you're removing all at once.... don't score the edge as you go.) 

To score the edge, basically, just slide the edge of your blade along that top joint. 

Right where the baseboard touches the wall. 

This serves two purposes.  

First, it will keep you from destroying your pretty drywall above the board. 

When baseboard is installed, you typically run a bead of caulk across this top joint, in order to fill gaps between the baseboard and the wall. 

And then, over time, whenever the walls and/or the board were painted, the board and walls got even MORE connected. 

So if you just pry the baseboard off without scoring this edge, you're occasionally going to mess up your drywall - the board will come off, but it will bring a bunch of the wall with it. 

Secondly, it creates a place to start prying!

Step Two - Slide the putty knife behind the baseboard. 

There's not going to be a heck of a lot of room between the baseboard and the wall - but you should be able to fit a putty knife into the line you scored earlier. 

Slide the knife as far behind the baseboard as you can, and then wiggle the blade, pulling it toward you.

You SHOULD be able to make enough room to fit the pry bar behind the baseboard.

Step Three - Use the pry bar to GENTLY lift the baseboard from the wall. 

At this point, we're using the relatively "straight" end of the pry bar. 

Move the bar forward and backward, gently pulling the board away from the wall. 

Eventually, you'll have created enough room to start using the "curved" end of the pry bar.

Step Four (and this is crucial) - Slide the putty knife between the pry bar and drywall!

Here in Step Four, we're going to be a bit more.... vigorous. 

Use the curved end of the pry bar, and use quite a bit more force.  

But before you do - slip the putty knife between your pry bar and the drywall. 

Drywall is NOT very strong, and your pry bar will push right through it. Putting the putty knife blade behind the pry bar will keep that from happening. 

Move left-to-right (or right-to-left) along the length of the baseboard, prying the board free as you go.

Step Five - Clean up the Brads and Nails

Most of the nails will remain in the baseboard you just removed. (Careful!)

An annoying amount of those nails will behind, sticking out of your drywall and floorboards at random angles. 

You'll need to clean those up with a claw hammer. 



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