A Tip On How To Remove Painted Interior Trim

I am sure I don’t need to get into a step-by-step on how to remove interior trim and moldings, it’s pretty straightforward – you take a pry bar and a hammer to it, taking care not to put a hole into your drywall….yes, Aaron and I both have put some nice sized holes in our drywall by over-zealously prying trim off, but let’s not get into that 😉 I just wanted to offer a small tip that will make a huge difference with your next trim project.

How To Remove Door Trim

If your house is anything like ours, the builders painted and then installed everything before the paint was dry. Our outlet plates, and trim are no exception – which makes them a bear to get unstuck from the wall. In the case of door trim and baseboards that are painted to the wall, they can leave quite a bit of damage when removing them. Here is what we did to get them cleanly off….

A Utility Knife Is Your Best Friend

After you get your gloves and safety glasses on, and before you even wield that hammer, take a utility knife and slowly, carefully, make a cut where trim meets wall. It’s okay if you don’t actually see a cut line – I didn’t on ours, but they were definitely there. Once you make those outline cuts, then start prying the trim off. The cuts break the bond in the paint and caulking, so that once you pull the trim away, it doesn’t take wall with it. It should come off clean….

Tip On How To Remove Interior Trim

That little line of paint and caulk left on the wall easily peels off or scrap off with a razor blade. Just so you can see the difference between taking the extra step in cutting along the trim and skipping it altogether, I went ahead and removed door trim without cutting it first….

How To Cleanly Remove Interior Trim

Yeah. See the difference? Paint and drywall got pulled up. When the new trim goes up, if it’s not wider than the old trim to hide these jagged spaces then there will always be a divot, even if you paint over them. Of course you could fill it in with compound and patch it, but why make more work for yourself? Here is a closer look….pretty messy huh?

Removing Painted Door Trim

I like to hurry up and get projects done, so I have to force myself to slow down, taking the time to cut along the trim, but I remind myself that it’ll take even MORE time to have to go back and patch all these jagged edges. Which would I rather do? I hope this little tip is of help in your next trim project 🙂