Trim BeGone!

I had some requests for a little detail on removing the trim. It can be a little intimidating if you want to try to use the trim again. How do you remove it without damaging it?

Everyone can have different circumstances. I’ve seen some trim that was glued to the wall. You may have your trim installed in a way that forces you to use a different method than I’m demonstrating here. But for standard circumstances, your base trim is nailed to the wall in intervals with thin, small headed nails. It will probably be fairly easy to remove.

Like the tack strips, I worked from the right to the left. This will have to be something you determine for yourself but I found a big difference working right to left rather than left to right. Yesterday, I mentioned that I thought the installer’s handedness played a part. Tonight I looked carefully at the nails in the base trim and sure enough, there was an ever so slight angle to the nail that made right to left easier and cleaner.

There is usually a small gap at the top of the trim that you can fit a beveled pry bar edge into to start working it down behind the trim and pulling the nails out from the walls. Don’t force anything. If the trim doesn’t come away from the wall easily, work your way down the trim a little and then go back to work the same area with your pry bar a little further down behind the trim. It works best if you can get the pry bar behind the nail itself.

Sometimes the end of the trim may be held in place by the next piece of trim. Just leave the first piece of trim, work the second one off the wall and then you can go back and finish removing the first piece.

If you are going to reuse the trim, identify what trim goes where on the wall and the trim itself. My system was super fancy. I wrote LR 1 for living room, trim piece #1 both on the wall, where the trim will cover it when it is re-installed, and on the back of the trim.

If your trim is like mine, some of the nails pulled through the trim and stayed in the wall and some remained in the trim. I just made a second pass to get the nails out of the wall and will remove the nails from the trim when I paint them. Because your trim will likely have nails sticking out of it, be sure to wear good protective gloves when you pick them up to clean up. I also move slowly when I’m handling these pieces since I can’t pay attention to where all the nails are located. If I’m careful and not grabbing and dropping them, I’m less likely to accidentally impale myself on a nail.

I made a quickie video showing the process. It’s not great and is quite dim. I apologize. I’m doing this after work and it’s getting darker earlier. Plus I don’t have any overhead lighting in this room. Something to think about when everything goes back and it gets a bit of a makeover.

There are a lot of great videos on how to do this (certainly better than mine!) so if you are really nervous about this, look at a few of them.

Right after I finished that video, Scarlet Kitty walked over to the dustpan with the nails and started playing with them. I told her no. She looked at me, picked up a nail and walked off with it. She then jumped in this empty box and played with her nail in there. Is that the kitty equivalent to storming off to her room?

Help. I has it.

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