How to Remove Skirting Boards

Though the idea of removing skirting boards seems relatively simple, it’s important to know how to do so without damaging the plaster -or the walls! There may be a number of reasons calling out for a change like general home renovations, worn surfaces, or a new decorative style. In any case, it's important to understand the steps, which is why we've put together this handy guide to show you the whole process! 

At the end of our suggested step by step guide, you'll find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about how to remove skirting boards successfully, read on!

 

What you’ll need to remove your skirting board:

  • Stanley knife
  • Claw hammer
  • Crowbar
  • Block of wood
  • Pliers
  • Chisel
  • Screwdriver -optional

 

Step by Step Guide To Removing Skirting Boards

 

1. Prepare the area

The first step for removing a skirting board is to make sure you have all your tools at hand. Then, make sure all cables or attachments connected to the skirting board are removed. You’ll be using force and sharp tools to take the board off the wall, which can cause electrical damage if wires and cables are not removed beforehand. You'll also want to put aside any objects around the area, and cover the floor with an old piece of fabric or a soft plastic sheet to prevent any damage.

 

2. Break the sealant and/or remove the nails

Next, take a Stanley knife and run it along the edges of the skirting board to break the sealant holding the board in place -skirting boards are usually glued to the wall. This step is important as it helps prevent damage to the plastering of the wall. It also makes removing the skirting boards a lot easier! You can also use the crowbar or the chisel if you prefer to gently start loosening up the board. If you’re wondering how to remove the architraves too, it’s pretty similar -it’s a good idea to run your knife down the inside edge of the sealant. 

Alternatively, if you are already certain nails are fixing the skirting board to the wall, you may prefer to locate and remove these first. This will make step 3 easier as the board may come off without the need of tapping the crowbar -risking breaking the plasterboard. If you decide to go for this, look for imperfections on the painting to locate the nails and break through the moulding with your drill and chisel. Once you can see the nails, use the claw hammer to remove them off the wall. This may seem laborious so we only recommend it if you are certain many nails are keeping the board attached to the wall.

 

3. Remove the skirting board

To remove your skirting board, find the weakest spot (this is usually a corner) and place the flat part of the crowbar against the wall by the weak point. Then, grab a hammer to knock the crowbar underneath the skirting board so that it starts to lift off the wall, allowing space for the crowbar to fit between the gap.

Once the crowbar is underneath the skirting board, place your block of wood behind the crowbar to help spread the pressure, preventing damage to the plaster. You’ll then need to repeat the process for each part of the skirting board. Be careful of trying to pull the board off entirely off the wall from one place; this will likely cause it to snap or damage the wall beneath.

 

4. Get rid of any nails or screws

When you’ve removed your skirting board, make sure you remove any nails or screws left in the wall. Ideally, these should be unscrewed with a screwdriver, but you could also pull them out using pliers or the claw end of the crowbar. If the nails prove difficult to remove, it might be easier to knock them into the wall. If you do this, make sure they don’t stick out, as this will affect the fitting of your new skirting board.

 

5. Assess the area and remove any hazards

Chipped wood, loose nails and general dirt can easily accumulate in a simple job like this. Once you've finished, clean the area and make sure there are no hazards left behind!

 

Top asked questions about removing skirting boards

 

How to cut skirting boards without removing them?

If your walls are quite extended and you are faced with meters and meters of moulding, you may wish to start by just cutting sections of it before you actually remove it off the wall. Maybe you just need to get rid of a small section of the board. In any case, you can do this by using a power drill. First of all, draw a line to use as a reference for cutting and drilling. Then, very carefully drill holes along the cutting line and finish the cut with the chisel. 

 

Should you remove skirting boards before laminate flooring?

We get asked this a lot and the truth is that you won't necessarily need to remove your skirting boards in order to lay down new flooring. That said, it will depend on how your house was built and which type of flooring you have. Some experts recommend to not even bother removing the skirting boards and just laying the laminate flooring and sealing the gap with beading! Easy as. 

 

Should you remove the skirting boards before plastering?

It's not really necessary although it's recommended, especially if you already know you'll replace your skirting boards -it's hard to remove skirting boards without damaging the plaster at all. If you are just plastering then keep in mind skirting boards can also be plastered!

 

 

Once you’ve removed your skirting boards, you’re all set to fit your new ones! If you’re not sure how to fit a skirting board, check out our expert guide. If you haven’t yet got yourself any new boards to replace your old ones, we’ve got a vast range of skirting boards to choose from, featuring a range of different profiles.