The hardwood floors in my house were installed after the baseboards so the lower 3/4 inch of the baseboards is covered. This is real tongue and groove oak hardwood floors which I want to keep but the baseboards have to go because I'm redoing the walls. Some of the baseboards are installed directly to the studs, some over drywall, all with 8d trim nails. Half the nails are about the level of the top of the floor. The wood floors is butted tight up against the baseboards which is part of why they need to go: no expansion gap.

I've been removing the baseboard by prying off the exposed part, pulling the nails with end cutters, then prying out the bottom part. The baseboards are mostly white pine so they cut and split easily but it's still slow and I have to break up a lot of the wood with a hammer and chisel while trying to not to damage the floor. Is there a better way?

  • 1
    Ripping it out as you are doing it is the way I would do it also. I have not done it any other way.
    – Jack
    Jul 2, 2020 at 3:44

2 Answers 2


A tool that may be very handy in this situation is an oscillating tool similar to this one:

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Picture Source

Not trying to promote any one brand, although the above shown is a good one, there are many brands to choose from. One thing to note is that there are universal blade types and then some manufacturers have their own blade holding design. Highly suggested to select an oscillating tool that uses the universal blade style.

With the wood saw blade that is about 1 1/2" wide you can easily poke the blade and cut down at an angle into the space between the wall and hardwood floor to cut up the old molding into pieces. This should make removal far easier.

There are some blades that could be used to cut off nails as well. This could be handy for you to try to sneak the blade down behind the baseboard to cut off the nails flush with the wall. If you do use this strategy do note that quality blades for these tools are fairly pricey and nail cutting has a tendency to dull the blades much faster than when cutting just wood.

  • This is, essentially, a faster way of doing what the OP is currently doing by hand . I highly recommend it.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 2, 2020 at 12:57
  • I would hate to do a lot of baseboard with one of those. A Jamb saw would probably be better.
    – Huesmann
    Jul 3, 2020 at 15:23
  • @Huesmann - I was not suggesting that the OP use the oscillating saw to cut all the baseboard off level with the existing wood floor. Rather to use it to cut the baseboard into sections so that it can be more easily removed. Afterall the OP says they want to free up the space down past the wood floor surface as expansion space for the wood floor.
    – Michael Karas
    Jul 3, 2020 at 16:02

You might be able to get a saw that will cut the baseboard. You could set the guard so it doesn't hit the drywall. I would leave the bottom piece in place and just use shorter baseboard when you replace it.

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