Removing Quarter Round [a how-to]

This post should really be titled “Removing Quarter Round [a how-to????] because Matthew and I went into this project with a lot of questions on the best way to actually remove the old quarter round. Which, by they way, if you are ever refinishing your floors, please, please, PLEASE DO NOT use masking tape on your baseboards and quarter round. It doesn’t work.<——- Read that again!

Warning: the following photos are not pretty.

Let me provide a little more detail of what we are dealing with. When the previous homeowner, apparently also a DIYer, refinished his floors, he used masking tape to “protect” the quarter round. And then he never removed it. Then we moved in. Some of the masking tape stuck so well to the quarter round and baseboards that we literally had to sand it off of the baseboards. Oh yeah…and the stain covered half the quarter round. Major headache.

So on Friday Matthew and I headed to Lowes and and picked up an air compressor and a nail gun. Power tools —>New Toy—>Christmas? (See how I did that? Worked in Christmas in September? Ok, maybe it’s too early for that.)

And now for the non-power tools: a hammer, a putty knife, and a paint can opener. (The paint can opener was a last effort that came out of frustration and is not one I really recommend if it can be avoided.)

Now I won’t lie to you. I haven’t written a how-to since my technical writing class in 2004, so this might be a little shaky. If you have any questions, shoot me an email or a leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer your questions. (And, by the way, I am sure there are much better ways out there to do this, but for us, this process worked.)

1. Take the putty knife and wedge it between the quarter round and the baseboard. For tight areas, I used the hammer and lightly tapped the top of the putty knife handle to get it behind the quarter round.

2. Gently move the putty knife back and forth to create a gap between the quarter round and the baseboard. Repeat this process down the length of the board. In a perfect world it would pop right off.

4. We don’t live in a perfect world. At this point, I used the paint can opened to help pry off the quarter round until I could wedge a hammer behind it and yank it off. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of this step. I needed three hands for this part and with only the two that I have, I couldn’t hold a camera to snap a photo. Basically, you just need to put a little elbow grease into it. Proceed with caution here. You don’t want to destroy the baseboards.

Note: If you are planning to reuse any quarter round, you might want to skip the yanking off step.

Ahh…it looks better already. After I finished removing the quarter round in the dining room, Matthew removed it in the living room while I painted the new trim.

Alright that’s it for tonight. Check back next week for photos of the dining room after we installed the new trim.

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