How to Replace a Wood Baseboard

Baseboards are protective finish elements, which protect the bottom of walls that are most likely to receive a significant amount of wear. In many older homes baseboards were thick and often the edges of the boards were joined in such a fashion that the baseboard are one effective unit. Using the simple tips and tricks in this article you can learn how to remove and repair or replace any baseboard.

To begin to remove the baseboard take a pry bar and wiggle the teeth of one end of the pry bar on top of and ultimately behind the baseboard. At this point you are not trying to pry the board away from the wall as much as you are just trying to get enough room behind the board that you can insert a small piece of scrap wood that you can pry against to protect the wall. Once you have enough room and a piece of scrap wood inserted begin to pry the top of the board and work left and right prying a little bit as you go.

If as you are prying, you notice that the baseboard is one solid piece, you can cut the baseboard with the tip of a saw. Insert two wood blocks behind the section that you wish to cut. This will cause the baseboard to bow out away from the wall at that point. Begin to make a vertical cut, holding the saw at an approximate 45-degree angle as you cut. Let the tip of the blade work for you as you cut.

Once you have a length of board sufficiently pried away from the wall you can remove it being careful not to bend, break, or split the board. Once the board is removed you should remove the nails through the back of the board so that you won’t crack the face of the baseboard.

To install a new baseboard back, first ensure that the wall is clean and any previous caulk or wood putty is removed. Next layout the new baseboard, and measure and mark the board according to the distance that you will need to bridge on the wall. If the previous piece of baseboard was mitered you will need to cut the end of the new baseboard at a 45-degree angle. Then using a coping saw you will need to cut the end of the board to match the profile and contour of the other piece of molding that you are going to place the new baseboard against . While this might seem challenging, it isn’t really, because if you make a mistake you can often fill the void with wood putty or even paintable caulk, if you plan to paint the baseboards.

Once you have dry fit the boards, you should then drill several small pilot holes on the face of the new board. The reason to drill pilot holes is to prevent the new baseboard from splitting when you go to nail it back on the wall. Place the baseboard against the wall and insert nails into the pilot holes and nail the baseboard back onto the wall. Try to space your nails so that they will hit the studs behind the baseboard. When finished hit each of the nail heads with a nail set, to countersink the nail heads. Then fill the nail head holes with either wood putty or paintable caulk to hide them.

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