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How to Remove Trims & Moldings Without Damaging Walls

The quickest way to remove trims & moldings without damaging your walls, thanks to Ripper Tools. Read more to find out how. 

Whether you’re looking to do a spot of DIY or if you’re doing a full-on renovation, there’s a chance that you’ll need to remove trims and/or moldings from a wall, usually when they’ve been there since day one. You can easily do this on your own, but the trick is managing to do it without damaging anything underneath it. 

What are trims and moldings?

Wall trims and moldings are essentially decorative additions to your wall. Trim is a general phrase that is used for the material around openings like doors and windows. Molding is a type of trim, but enhancements and enlargements characterise it. For example, ceiling corner details with elaborate designs that might soften the transition between wall and ceiling would be classed as molding. Overall though, it comes down to four different categories.

Window and door casing

Casing is the type of trim that’s used around openings, like windows and doors. Using this helps add detail to the property, as well as covering any gaps.

Baseboard trim

This is more of a molding, but as the name suggests, it lives at the bottom of the wall by the floor, more like a skirting board.

Ceiling Trim

This can also be known as crown molding, bridging the gap between the wall and the ceiling. Some are straightforward designs, but they can be used to display some quite ornate designs if so desired.

Wall Trim Molding

This type of trim can be installed anywhere on the wall; a popular example is panelling.

Is it hard to remove molding?

Provided you have the right tools and follow your set of instructions; then it shouldn’t be too difficult to remove. Here’s an easy way to remove your moldings or trims.

Tools needed: 

  • Utility Knife
  • Wood Wedge
  • Ripper Claw Bar
  • Tongue and Groove Pliers
  • Safety Gloves
  1. If your trim or moldings are coated in paint, you’ll need your utility knife to score the paint. This means you’ll get a clean edge and minimise the risk of any damage and peeling paint.
  2. To prevent any damage to the walls, use your wood wedge as a guide for where you’ll start to make the incision for removing the trim or molding with your pry bar. We would recommend starting at an end as opposed to the middle. 
  3. Utilising your Ripper Claw, begin to pry the trim or molding away from the wall. Take your time with this, as you want to create as minor damage as possible. You’ll want to let the finish nails slide through the trim, so you don’t damage the wall too much. Repeat this process, using your wood wedge throughout the whole way along the trim/molding. You want to gradually loosen it to start with, as you can go back to remove it after. If you begin to put too much pressure on the wood, it can break and cause damage to the surface.
  4. Once you’ve removed the piece of trim or the molding, you might be left with the nails sticking out of the wall or within the trim itself. Using the other end of your Ripper Claw, you’ll be able to pull them out using the attached nail puller. 

What tool removes molding?

The best tool to remove molding would be a pry bar. Ideally, you want one that’s small but sturdy. The smaller it is, the easier it’ll be to get behind the trim initially to start the removal process. The Ripper Tools Pry Bars make for the perfect tool to remove trim or molding without damaging the wall. Not only have an indexing head that indexes over 180 degrees and locks in 15 different positions, but they also come with built-in nail pullers so that you can complete the job with pretty much just that tool. 

Is your trim worth saving?

This is entirely optional, but you definitely can save it and reuse it. If you follow the set of instructions above and remove it completely undamaged, there’s no reason why you couldn’t reuse it. The average cost for ceiling trim or crown molding, including installation cost in the UK, is £335, so it’s not a massive cost in the grand scheme of things if you want to get something new, but if it’s completely intact, you could either reuse it or sell it on to go in another home. 

Ripper Tools:

Ripper Tools was designed to enable work to be done faster, easier and more effectively and suit all abilities. To find out more about the Ripper Tools products, click here, or to find a stockist near you, click here.

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