Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
Working on a home renovation project doesn’t have to be scary – especially if it involves removing and reinstalling your baseboards. Even though it isn’t an overly difficult project, improperly removing your baseboards can cause damage to your drywall or the baseboards themselves.
But what should you do with the baseboard if you don’t plan on reinstalling it? How can you use the remaining trim so it doesn’t go to waste? If you’ve removed baseboards from a room in your home, you can repurpose leftover trim that you won’t be reinstalling and use it in a variety of other do-it-yourself projects around your home. It’s time to get crafting!
Recycling Baseboard for Crafty DIY Projects
If you’re not planning on reapplying the baseboard in its original location or you have leftover pieces of trim, there are ways you can repurpose the baseboards into your home in other ways before simply getting rid of it.
We’ll explore a few examples of do-it-yourself projects using baseboards, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box for fun ways to use the remaining trim! Try reusing the excess baseboard to complete one of these projects in your home:
Create One-of-a-Kind Frames for a Gallery Wall
One of the most attractive ways to repurpose your leftover baseboard is to create picture frames with it! You can create single frames or transform the trim into a gallery wall showcasing all your favorite artwork or family photos.
To transform your baseboards into funky, unique frames, clean off the back of the baseboards so there isn’t any residual glue remaining. Fill any holes or blemishes with wood filler, applying more than enough to fill the hole. Using a sanding block, lightly sand down the wood filler on the trim.
Measure out the baseboards to match the desired shape. You will need to make your cuts at an angle so when pieced together is a square or rectangular shape, they all fit together seamlessly. A miter saw is the best tool to use when cutting the trim.
Once you have the pieces of the baseboard trimmed down to the proper size, choose what color (or colors) you want to paint the frames. A semi-gloss paint works well here. Paint the baseboards using an angled brush. If you’re a fan of the distressed look, you can lightly sand parts of the painted baseboards once they’ve dried to give the appearance of natural wear and tear.
You can glue the painted pieces together, forming a frame. Or, you can simply nail the individual pieces to the wall in the shape of a frame. Hang your newly made frames on the wall to show off your latest family photo and get ready to wow your friends with your crafting skills!
Make Decorative Hooks for Your Entryway
Another way to repurpose your baseboards is to create a rack to hang up bags, jackets, and other items in your entryway or mudroom.
After removing and cleaning off the baseboard, choose your desired color for your accent piece. The fun part of this project is choosing the style of hook or knob you want to include! You can even mix and match with both hooks and knobs. This is an easy way for you to tie the piece into the rest of your home decor by incorporating gold or silver accents.
Once you’ve selected the style hook you want to add to the baseboard, you can use a drill or screwdriver to add the hooks to the baseboard. Attach the desired number of hooks on the trim every four to five inches. You can choose the number of hooks to add and how far apart you want them to be depending on what you plan to hang from them.
After the hooks are added, you can mount the baseboard directly to the wall. If you plan on hanging anything extremely heavy, it is recommended that you use anchors for additional stability.
Display Your House Number on a Sign
Have you ever gone on a walk through your neighborhood and noticed a creative way that a neighbor was showcasing their house number near their front door? Now you can create your own unique way to display your house number that will leave all your neighbors envious.
The first thing you’ll need to do is purchase your house numbers from your local hardware store. There are tons of colors and styles for you to choose from—from mid-century and modernist to bronze, gold, black, or white!
After selecting the numbers, you’ll need to cut down your baseboard to the ideal length and paint it to the color of your choosing—think about matching it to the color of your front door! Once the baseboard is cut down, you will need to attach the house numbers to the trim.
Secure the sign outside of your house next to the front door, displaying your address number prominently and proudly for all your neighbors to see.
Create a Picture Rail to Display Books or Photos
If you have a blank wall in your home that needs some sprucing up, you can repurpose the leftover baseboard to create a low-profile shelving display.
Depending on the look and feel you are trying to achieve, you can leave the baseboard in its original white color or you can paint it to match your remaining home decor. You can mix and match different colors and lengths to create your desired look.
After the paint has dried, you can securely fasten the baseboards to the wall to create a low-profile picture rail. To apply the picture rail to the wall, use adhesive on the back in an S pattern. For additional support, you can use a few nails to keep the shelving in place.
You can create a single picture rail or layer a few on one wall, creating a multi-tiered shelf. Use the picture rail to balance photos, books, records, or anything else you want to show off.
Add Baseboard as Molding Around Your Ceiling
If you have a large amount of the baseboard leftover, you can use it to take another one of your rooms to the next level by adding molding to the top of the room.
Before doing this, you will need to measure how much molding is needed for the length of each wall in the room. Similarly, you will need to measure the number of leftover baseboards to ensure you have enough to cover the length of the room.
Remove any excess glue and caulking from the back of the baseboard using a putty knife. Assess the baseboards and determine if you need to repaint them with a semi-gloss paint. If so, do this and allow them to dry before moving onto the next step.
Begin fastening the baseboards to the top of the room using glue in an S shape and nails. See below for more details on how to properly install baseboards to the wall. Depending on the length of the pieces you have available to you, you will need to use a miter saw to cut the baseboard pieces to the desired sizes and specifications. Once the pieces have been secured to the wall, fill the joints with caulk for a seamless look.
Voilà! You now have beautiful crown molding that you’ll want to show off to all your friends.
Step-by-Step Guide to Properly Removing Baseboards
As a home renovation beginner, it can seem daunting to remove the baseboards yourself. If they’re damaged in the removal process, it can make it difficult to reuse them down the line. But following the steps below, you can easily and correctly remove the baseboards from the wall without causing any damage. By taking the necessary precautions to reduce any damage, you will be able to reuse your baseboards for whatever purpose you want—allowing you to save some costs on your renovation!
Even if you’re a newbie to home renovation projects, you should be able to easily remove the baseboards on your own by following a few simple steps. If the project isn’t considerably large, you will likely be able to complete this project with tools you already have lying around your home in less than a day.
Tools Needed to Remove Baseboards:
- Utility Knife or Box Cutter
- Putty Knife
- Pry Bar
You May Also Need:
- Needle Nose Pliers
How to Carefully Remove a Baseboard Without Damage
When done carefully, you can easily remove your baseboards without damaging the drywall or the trim itself. Let’s dive right into the steps to follow to ensure you take on the project properly.
To minimize damage to the wall and the baseboard, you will want to prevent the caulking from ripping up the wall paint and drywall. Use a utility knife or box cutter to cut along the top of the baseboards (where the molding meets the wall), as well as beneath the molding. By doing this, you will break the seal, making it easier to remove the baseboard while preventing any damage.
Using the putty knife, gently work your way behind the baseboard along the length of the molding. Slowly wiggle the tool back and forth to loosen the baseboard. Make sure you go slow and steady during this step to avoid unnecessary damage to the baseboards or drywall.
Once the putty knife has loosened the baseboards from the wall, ease the pry bar between the putty knife and the baseboard to pry the molding gently from the wall. Using both of these tools allows you to maintain even pressure on the baseboard, minimizing potential damage to the drywall.
Continue along the length of the baseboard using the putty knife and pry bar until the trim becomes loose from the wall and you can remove it in one piece. Doing this slowly and carefully to avoid causing damage to both the drywall and the baseboards by pulling it away from the wall too quickly.
The baseboards were likely attached to the wall with both glue and nails. To remove the nails, gently pull them out with needle-nose pliers. Ensure you do this carefully to avoid splintering the trim. If the trim becomes splintered, you won’t be able to use those pieces of baseboard when reinstalling them.
Note: Place the nails in a jar or bag for safekeeping. If they aren’t damaged or weakened during the removal process, you can reuse these nails when reinstalling your trim.
If the nails are too tight and are difficult to pull out with needle-nose pliers, turn the baseboards over and lay them on a carpet so the nail point is facing up. Lightly tap the nails with a hammer to loosen the nails before continuing to pull them out with the pliers.
As you remove the baseboards from the wall, it’s a good idea to label each piece of the baseboard and the wall it matches. This will make it much easier if you’re planning on reattaching them to the wall. If you aren’t planning on attaching them back in their original location, you can skip this step and plan to use the baseboards for a fun crafting project instead.
How to Clean Up the Baseboards & Walls After Removal
Now that the trim is successfully removed from the wall, you need to clean up the baseboards and wall by removing the residual glue before reapplying the baseboards.
Using the same putty knife, scrape off any remaining caulking on the wall. Sometimes the caulking will be tricky to remove. If this is the case, you can use the utility knife by keeping it parallel to the wall and scraping off the caulking. Make sure to keep the knife parallel to avoid cutting into the drywall and causing damage.
Repeat this process on the back of the baseboards as well. You want to clean both the wall and the baseboards to make installation more seamless.
If any nails remain in the drywall and are sticking out, you will need to remove them. Lightly tap the nails with a hammer until they are flush to the wall.
Installing Baseboards for Their Original Purpose & Other DIY Projects
The best part of reusing your existing baseboards is that it makes reinstallation relatively simple because there is no measuring needed! And it’s especially easy if you labeled each piece of trim and the corresponding wall.
Before attaching the pieces of trim to the wall, dry fit each piece in the correct location to make note if any pieces need to be readjusted to fit correctly. This will limit any problems with the fit that you could run into down the line.
If a piece was damaged during the removal process, you can use a new piece of baseboard (that matches your existing trim) to fill in the missing space. Properly measure the baseboard during the dry fit process.
When attaching the trim to the walls, apply adhesive to the back of the baseboard. Do this so the adhesive goes on in the shape of an S-curve instead of using a circular motion. Applying it in this method will reduce air bubbles from happening, which can reduce the strength of the baseboard adhesive.
Now that the baseboards have been attached to the wall with adhesive, use nails to secure the trim to the wall. Use a hammer to apply nails approximately every eight inches. Make sure you don’t accidentally angle the nail at a position that can bounce off of or damage the surface of your new flooring.
If the nails weren’t damaged or weakened during the baseboard removal process, you can reuse them during this step. Otherwise, use new nails to ensure your trim remains attached to the wall.
If you need to adjust the length of the trim to fit on any portion of the wall, you can use a miter saw to quickly make it fit.
Once the trim has been re-adhered and adjusted to fit the wall, you need to reapply caulk at the top of the baseboard where it meets the wall. Use the caulk to fill any seams at the joints.
If there are any visible holes in the baseboards from nails, you can use wood filler to fill them up. Apply more than you think you need to fill up the hole, and once it has dried, sand it down. This will improve the overall appearance of the trim. Once the wood filler has dried, you can touch up the baseboards with paint.
Reusing your baseboards is an easy way to save money or cut costs during your home renovation project, allowing you to reallocate that money to another project to spice up your space. If you end up not reusing your existing baseboards in their original location, you can repurpose them using the ideas above so the trim doesn’t go to waste.
When & Why You Would Need to Remove Baseboards
When undergoing a home renovation or simple touch up, you might not be sure when and why you should remove baseboards. Will it make the project easier? Is the extra step actually needed? Let’s dive into a few scenarios and whether removing the baseboards is a recommended step.
Remove Baseboards When Installing New Floors
If you’re redoing the floors in your home, it’s recommended that you remove baseboards before installing the new whether. You don’t have to remove the baseboards, but if you don’t remove the trim, it can cause unsightly gapping between the new floors and the baseboards.
Flooring goes under baseboards when it is installed, make sure you aren’t skipping steps by leaving the baseboards in place when installing your new floors. It doesn’t matter which type of floor you’re installing—hardwood, carpet, laminate, vinyl—removing the baseboards will prevent a portion of the trim from being hidden by the new flooring. It will also make the installation process much easier.
Don’t Remove Baseboards When Painting
If you’re painting a room with baseboards, you do not need to remove the baseboards before completing the painting. You can use painter’s tape to block off the baseboard during the painting process, but they can stay firmly attached to the walls.
Before beginning your painting project, apply painter’s tape along the top of the baseboard between the trim and the wall. Paint evenly and slowly with long brush strokes when near the baseboard to avoid any paint bleeding on your baseboards.
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