Removing Skirting Boards Image

How To Remove Skirting Boards / Baseboards

Removing a room’s skirting boards (also known as baseboards) is often a daunting task for those relatively new to DIY. I have however always found that this part of a flooring project is actually one of the easiest tasks when armed with the right tools and some know-how. The only difficulty lies in trying to keep any significant damage to the plaster (behind the skirting boards) to a bare minimum.

In this article, we will discuss the best way to remove your skirting boards so as to keep any damage to a minimum and enable you to reattach the existing skirting once your laminate flooring has been successfully laid.

Do I Need To Remove Skirting / Baseboards?

In most cases it is likely that you could get away without removing your skirting boards, however, I believe that removing your skirting prior to fitting your laminate flooring will create a better-looking floor when the project has been completed. It will also mean that you don’t have to use beading which more often than not ruins the look and feel of a room.

If leveling your floor I would almost always advise you to remove the skirting to ensure that the job has been done properly, though it is a personal choice.

In recent times I have spoken to many professionals who specialize in laying all types of flooring, it is not uncommon for these contractors to insist on removing the skirting boards to ensure their job is completed to the best of their ability.

I would personally like to see more DIYers who are investing their time and money in laying a new floor attempting to lay it to the best of their ability rather than cutting corners by using beading.

While this remains a personal choice I believe that laminate flooring that is secured down with skirting boards as opposed to beading also has fewer ongoing maintenance issues such as the beading coming loose.

Tools You Will Require To Remove Your Skirting Boards

To help remove your skirting boards it is a good idea to ensure you have the correct tools at hand, this will make the whole job much easier, ensure that you limit any potential damage to either the skirting or the plasterboard, and speed up the whole process.

The tools required will be easily found in any DIYers basic toolkit, but just to make sure I have listed these tools below and have linked to my recommended choices on Amazon. If you are looking to save money you will likely be able to borrow these from friends and family as there is nothing specialist here.


Claw Hammer – You will need a claw hammer to help prise the skirting boards away from the wall and remove any nails from both the wall and the skirting board.

Chisel Set – The chisel is by far the best method of easing skirting away from the wall. Using both the hammer & chisel should ensure the skirting boards come away with ease.

Crow Bar (Pry Bar)– The pry bar (or crowbar) will help you remove the skirting boards completely. Use a piece of wood for leverage to avoid damaging the plasterboard that is likely underneath.

Stanley Knife (retractable Knife) – A Stanley Knife will help you remove the sealant that is often added between the top of the skirting and the wall – simply running the knife along this edge should provide you with enough room to ease a chisel in.[/container] [/content_band]

Removing any Cables and Obstructions

For health and safety purposes it is a good idea to check what (if any) cables are either attached to your skirting boards or are likely hidden behind sections of the skirting. Remove what cables you can and pay close attention to areas of skirting where you believe cables may be lurking.

As you will be using sharp-tipped tools and a certain degree of force it is best to remain aware of anything that could potentially be damaged or in the worst possible case scenario cause electrocution. While the latter is exceptionally unlikely it is better to be safe than sorry.

Remove Any sealant, and Loosen Your Skirting Boards

When building contractors fit skirting boards they often use a sealant along the top of the skirting to ensure it remains in place and has a flush wall finish. If torn from the wall this sealant can cause damage to the plasterboard, rip wallpaper, or ruin the walls painted finish.

Taking a retractable knife (Stanley knife) simply run the knife between the skirting and the wall to slice the sealant, removing any sealant you can along the way. This will ultimately make the removal of the skirting/baseboards much easier and create an area between the skirting and wall to place your chisel and allow you to ease the skirting away from the wall.

Once you have sliced the sealant and removed any visible remnants you can simply ease the chisel between the skirting and the wall. It is best to do this at the weakest point which is usually located at the corner join where it connects to another piece of skirting board. Start easing the skirting away from the wall, using a hammer to force the chisel. Start with light taps, working your way along the skirting, then gently increasing force as the skirting begins to come away from the wall. Simply repeat for each skirting board.

To pry the skirting of the wall completely you may use a crowbar by pushing off against the wall studs (using a piece of wood will also allow you to spread the pressure and decrease any potential wall damage), though in the majority of cases you may find that the chisel and hammer may prove adequate for the complete removal.

Removing Nails and Screws

Once the skirting board has been removed remove any nails or screws that are still attached to the wall, it is also a good idea at this point to remove any excess sealant still fixed to the wall. Any nails that cannot be removed from the wall, just hammer them back into the wall so they won’t be in the way when you refit your old skirting or attach new skirting.

If you plan to reuse the skirting boards it is probably best to remove the nails and sealant from these too. Simply unscrew the screws, and use the claw hammer to remove the nails. The sealant should scrape off using an old paint scraper or chisel edge.

Removing Architraves

Most doorways including cupboard and wardrobe doors have a form of skirting known as architraves that fit around the doorway. These architraves can be removed in a similar way to the room skirting boards and if done carefully can be affixed again when your flooring job has been completed. In many cases, the vertical architraves will require to be trimmed due to the increase in floor height, however, if replacing carpet for laminate this may not be required.

Getting on with the Job

Now that your skirting boards have been successfully removed you are ready to get on with the job. Whether you are ready to level your floors or continue laying your actual laminate it’s time to move on to the next step in your project.

Check out our full guide on how to install laminate flooring.