Easiest Way to Remove WainscotingWainscoting dates back the 1300’s, when the Dutch used it to protect the bottom half of plaster walls. Today, wainscoting remains a very ubiquitous home feature, offered in a variety of styles. But it does eventually begin to show its age or could be damaged by a leak or electrical mishap. Whatever your reason, you have a room partially lined in wainscoting and it needs to go, along with all that old fitness equipment.
Many people choose to err on the side of security when opting for glue instead of nails to hang wood paneling. If they ever have to remove the paneling, however, they may end up regretting their conscientiousness. Not only is the paneling more difficult to remove, glue residue remains on the wall, and it won’t come off without at least some damage to the wall material. —San Francisco GateThe good news is, you don’t have to be a skilled handyman or a professional contractor to take down wainscoting. Although, you should be skilled with some common household hand tools. It is also a good idea to have at least one set of help hands on-hand to make the project more manageable. First, you’ll need the following to remove wainscoting: pencil, pry bar, stud finder, utility knife, and thin wood shim. Gather these together, then empty the room of all furniture and decor. Then, cover the floors to catch the dirt and debris. Here’s the easiest way to remove wainscoting:
- Break the seal. Wainscoting is usually installed sealed against the walls. This is typically done with caulk so moisture cannot get between the paneling and the walls to form mold. Use a utility knife to cut into the seal gently across the top of the wainscoting, going around the entire room.
- Locate the studs. To keep the paneling from bowing or buckling due to changes in the weather, where room temperatures fluctuate, it’s also nailed to the walls. Locate the studs using a stud finder, if the nail heads are not visible. Then pry the nails from the wainscoting and out of the walls.
- Remove the railing. The majority of wainscoting is equipped with a top rail that locks into the panels. Use a pry bar to remove the railing from the wainscoting but do this carefully to minimize or avoid damage to the walls. Put the rails in a neat pile out-of-the-way so they aren’t a tripping hazard.
- Pull the baseboards. Just as with the top of the wainscoting, the bottom is typically equipped with baseboards. Here again, you’ll need to remove the baseboards with a pry bar and do it carefully to avoid damage to the floor. Place the baseboards in a pile with or alongside the rails.
- Take the panels off the wall. Now, you’ll be able to remove the wainscoting from the walls. Place a wood shim against the wall, pushing the pry bar down behind the panels and pull up, using the wood shim as a fulcrum and wall protector.