The view from our “front”door {post 15} Removing base molding

By Pinktoesandpowertools | Woodworking Tutorials

Molding pry bar in the middle

Is it molding or moulding??  I’ve covered my bases and used both spellings in these posts.

However you spell it, I needed to remove some of it to place the cabinet next to the wall.  I learned how Sandra does it over at Sawdust and Paperscraps, one of my favorite places to visit.  But I had to modify my approach, so I guess this is somewhat “my way” of doing this.

I have two layers to remove: the base and some quarter round at the bottom.

Cut right at the edge where the molding meets the wall.

And again here.

Here’s where I made it up as I went along.  I started at one end and used a small putty knife which I had to pound in with a hammer.  Then I wedged a 3″ plastic putty knife in behind the small one.

The front knife protects the molding (which I want to reuse) and the back knife protects the wall.  Be aware of the ridges in the back knife–they will make indentations in your drywall if you aren’t strategic on the next step.  I used a small molding pry bar on this part.  Put that in the middle of both knives.

Molding pry bar in the middle

Gently pry the molding away from the wall.  Once it begins to pull away, move all the entire set a little further down the length.  You won’t actually pull any nails free at first, you will just be pulling them a little way out.  Once you feel that you won’t snap the molding because you have enough loose, you can get more aggressive.


Now you can move to the larger base molding.  This one was held in with two nails at each spot and they were 2.5″ long.  This took a little more muscle.  Begin the same way as with the quarter round, but once you have it loose enough to get a larger pry bar in, use that instead (still use the larger putty knife behind it).  You aren’t pulling nails at first either, just get them pulled a little ways out and move down the length.  Once you feel like you’ve gone far enough, use more muscle with the pry bar and pull the nails free.

Some of the molding had flooring in front of it, so the flooring prevented the molding from coming out.  There I had to use the pry bar under the molding, lift up to bend the nails upward, and then pull it out from the wall.

Remove the nails from the back of the molding with nippers (tip from my Family Handyman mag–I think I found the equivalent of my seam ripper in sewing–yay!)  Use the block of wood to protect your molding (tip from My Man).

Mark the wall above the molding where the prior nails were in pencil (so you can clean it off later).  This will tell you where you need to nail when you reinstall the molding.

All done!  The inspector is checking my work to see if it is up to par.

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