The best way of removing skirting boards

10-November-2016

Over time, skirting boards get knocked, bumped and scuffed. You may be thinking of removing skirting boards that are looking a bit worn or just don’t match your décor anymore. Whatever the reason, getting the right tools makes removing skirting boards an easy, DIY job.

What you’ll need

Steps to removing skirting boards

If you fit your skirting using a quick grab adhesive, it should come away fairly easily. However, if it’s secured with nails or screws, you’ll need to use the wrecking bar to locate each fixing. It’s best to create an initial gap and widen it in stages, to protect the wall from damage.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Using your utility knife, start by cutting an initial access point along the top of the skirting, where the board meets the wall. It’s best to start from external corners or where skirting meets a door frame and work inwards.
  2. Place the chisel in this access point, starting from an external corner and firmly hammer down to establish a gap between the board and wall.
  3. Take your wrecking bar and place the blade end into the gap you’ve just made behind the skirting. Holding the wrecking bar at the curved end, prise the skirting away from the wall. Work in sections, starting with any screws or nails, if used.

removing skirting boards

Top tips for removing skirting boards

  • Creating an initial access point for the chisel will help protect the wall’s paint or plaster from coming off with the skirting boards. Make sure you do this carefully.
  • You can place a thin piece of wood against the blade of the wrecking bar when prying the skirting board from the wall. This will help protect the wall from damage.
  • Work from external corners inwards, removing skirting boards one at a time.
  • If you’re refitting the existing boards, mark the outward face with pencil and fix to the wall at the previous fixing points.
  • If you’re fitting new skirting boards without repainting the wall, you’ll want to get boards the same height as the previous ones, so that unpainted parts of the wall don’t show. 
  • A good sanding and fresh coat of paint or varnish can make real wood skirting boards look like new, extending the life of your skirting boards.

After removing skirting boards, you can refresh the room by fitting new skirting boards, or giving the old boards a touch-up. Find out which skirting board paint works best with your material and get top decorating tips.

For more help and advice with DIY home projects, take a look at our expert advice section.