How to Remove Wainscoting Panels How to Remove Wainscoting Panels

What You'll Need
Pry bar
Stud finder
Utility knife
Thin piece of wood
Pencil

Wainscoting panels can be found in many houses across the country. This type of wall covering is very common and it comes in a variety of different styles and colors. If the wainscoting in your house does not work with your decorative scheme, you might find it necessary to remove it. Here are the basics of how to remove wainscoting panels from a wall.

Step 1--Break the Seal

When wainscoting panels are installed properly, they are going to be sealed up against the wall. This is done when the installer uses caulk around the top edge of the wainscoting panels. If you want to remove the wainscoting panels without significantly damaging the wall or the panels, you are going to need to break this seal. In many cases, the paint on the wall will also help to form a bond with the wainscoting panels and the caulk. Take a sharp knife, preferably a utility knife, and use it to cut into the area between the top edge of the wainscoting panels and the wall. Do this around the top edge of the entire room.

Step 2--Find the Studs

If the wainscoting panels were installed properly, they are going to be nailed to the studs in the wall. If you want to take the wainscoting panels off of the wall, you are going to need to locate these studs so that you can see where the wainscoting panels are attached. This process is going to require a stud finder. Using a stud finder, you need to find the location of all of the studs in the wall. Take a pencil and use it to make a small mark on the wall directly above the wainscoting wherever you have found a stud. This will provide you with a way to easily locate the studs once you start taking the wainscoting panels off of the wall.

Step 3--Take off the Rail

With most wainscoting panels, you are going to have a top edge rail that is going to need to be removed. The panels will often lock into the bottom of this rail. Take your pry bar and put it into the corner of the area between the wainscoting panels and the top rail. Gently start to pry this rail off of the top. 

Step 4--Baseboards

In most cases, you are also going to have baseboards that run along the bottom edge of the wainscoting panels. In order to remove the wainscoting, you are going to also need to take off the baseboards. Again, you are going to use your pry bar to remove this. 

Step 5--Removing the Panels

At this point, you should be ready to start removing the wainscoting panels. Take a very thin piece of wood and hold it up against the wall above the panels. Then put your pry bar behind the wainscoting panels and apply pressure by pressing up against the thin piece of wood instead of directly to the wall. In this manner, you should be able to pry all of the wainscoting panels away from the wall at the studs.

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!