DIY Tips & Advice

DIY Tip: Removing Skirting for Reuse

For some jobs, you need to take the skirting off, but you want to refit it again. This might be to facilitate lifting the boards, laying flooring (where the skirting needs to be raised), electrical work, plastering, etc.

Trouble is, if it's been on the wall a while, drying out in a heated property, making it very vulnerable to splitting. Plus the upper edge - which is where you are going to be attacking the board from - is often moulded, thiner and therefore most fragile. Levering against that is only going to result in misery.

Here's a tip that will help remove the board cleanly without splitting.

Starting at one end of a skirting length, take a long broad screwdriver - I use an old one with a broken tip - and tap it down behind the board all the way to the floor. This should bring the end out about 1cm from the wall, giving you room to get an 18inch crowbar in.

If you droppped the crowbar in now and starting levering on the skirting, you would probably split the decorative top off the skirting. Instead slip the bar in at 45 degrees of upright and between the shaft of your screwdriver and the wall. Pull on the screwdriver handle moderately and creep the bar down as far as possible behind the skirting, being sure not to let it slip out from behind the screwdriver. When it's in as far as you can get it, push the handle back. The tongue will push against the screwdriver, forcing out the board across it's whole height and thereby preventing splitting.

How to lever skirting off cleanly