Tips for Trimwork
Removing and installing moldings -- a job builders call "finish carpentry" -- isn't especially difficult, but there are a few tricks to the trade. Here's how to get your interior trim project across the finish line.
Off with the old: How to remove trim Pry off old moldings with care, lest you damage the wall behind the millwork (and the trim itself, if you plan to reuse it). If the trim has been painted, first cut along its edges with a utility knife to break the seal between the molding and the wall. The easiest way to save a base shoe without breaking it is to drive its finish nails all the way through with a nail set, as shown in Figure 1.
With wider elements, such as baseboards, crown moldings, and the like, first drive a pair of taping knives behind the molding, then work a pry bar between the knives and molding, as shown in Figure 2. The knives ensure that the pry bar won't gouge the walls. After you've loosened a few inches, wedge the molding away from the wall with a shim, then move along, prying and wedging as you go.