How to remove skirting boards – three easy DIY hacks that avoid causing a mess at home

Dick Strawbridge shares tips for planning a DIY project

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Most skirting boards are made of MDF which blends a mixture of wood fibres from both hardwood and softwood to create hard-wearing boards for the home. Whether you’re looking to update your home interior, or they simply need replacing, removing your skirting boards is easier than you may think using these easy DIY hacks.

Removing skirting can be a messy job if done in the wrong way, but these fool-proof hacks are a great way to get the job done without damaging your walls.

Before removing skirting boards you should always use protective gloves and check for wiring along the top of skirting boards to avoid injury.

Three-tool trick

All you need for this three-tool method is a Stanley knife, chisel and hammer to safely remove your skirting boards.

This works best for wooden skirting and is a sure-fire way to remove boards without causing damage to plastering or flooring.

  • Score the top of the skirting board with the Stanley knife to slice the sealant layer of the boards.
  • Use a chisel to wiggle into the gap created by the knife between the wall and the skirting, starting from
  • the joining corner where it is weakest and use a pull/push motion to widen the gap and separate the board from the wall.
  • Using a hammer, lightly tap the top of the chisel to put pressure on the board and lift it away from the wall, repeating as you move along the board.

Wedge method

When prying the boarding away using the three-tool method, add wooden blocks or dense sponges to act as a wedge between the boarding and the wall.

This is a useful hack if you’re struggling to keep the board away from the wall once you’ve started the removal process.

Removing Nails

After removing the boards there may be a few nails attached to the wood which should be taken out with pliers.

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Take your pliers and firmly grip the nail you need to remove and apply a gentle pulling force.

If the nail isn’t removed easily, MDF Skirting experts, Skirting World, recommends hammering them flush into the wall to prevent damage to the plaster.


A crowbar can help when struggling to lift bards with a hammer and chisel alone – wedge it between the wall and the boards and pry it off similarly to the chisel.

Take your time and don’t give into the temptation to rip the boards away as this will damage the wall.

Elevate your skirting boards

If you’re looking for inspiration to replace your newly removed skirting boards be sure to try out a maximalist style using bright colours and contrasting shades to make the useful boarding a stylish feature in your home.

Bold colours and finishes are the seasonal trend that can be great for skirting boards as an added pop of colour in any room.

Try striking shades or stick to a pastel palette for a softer, rustic look.

Painting your new skirting boards the same colour as your wall is a sleek way to achieve a monochrome look if you prefer a minimalist style that lets the textures do the talking.

Be sure to look into Georgian, Bullnose, Square, Chamfer and Ovolo skirting if you’re wanting to update your boards – these styles will keep your home modern and practical.

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