When Laying Tile Do You Have to Remove the Baseboards?

When you lay ceramic floor tile, always remove both the shoe molding and baseboard first.

Removing the Baseboards

For resilient tiles, which are thinner than their ceramic counterparts, remove only the shoe molding unless the wall only has a baseboard. In this case, remove the baseboard. Using the right tools and care to avoid damage and to make the job easier are the most important aspects to consider when you remove the baseboard.

The basic reason to remove the obstruction of the baseboard and shoe moldings is to give the tile a more professional, well-laid appearance after you finish. At least 1 to 1 1/2 inches of extra floor space hides underneath the shoe molding and baseboard. When you lay the tiles, if any areas around the perimeter are uneven or crooked, the imperfect edges are hidden once you install the shoe molding and baseboard back onto the bottom of the wall.

The Right Tools

Using the right tools to remove the baseboard will help you avoid damaging the floor as well as the baseboard and the wall behind it. The tools that you need are a utility knife and a pry bar. Use the utility knife to score the paint on the upper edge of the baseboard where the baseboard meets the wall. A pry bar is a flat metal bar with one curved end. Pry the baseboard from the wall with this tool.

Additional Tip

To help you remember which pieces of the baseboard go where after you finish the tile installation, use a felt-tip marker along with marking tape. As you pry off each section of the baseboard, tear off a piece of marking tape and stick it to the back of the section. Write a number on the tape on the back of each section, starting with the number 1 and going up. To further make certain of where each baseboard piece goes, also write each piece's number on the base of the wall where it was removed.

Protection

Protect both yourself and the wall while you remove the baseboard. After you work the pry bar between the baseboard and wall, place a wooden shim between the two objects as protection from the wall. Wiggle the board loose with the pry bar as you work your way down the wall. The protective gear you may need while working are work gloves for your hands, along with knee pads.

About the Author

Christopher John has been a freelance journalist since 2003. He has written for regional newspapers such as "The Metro Forum" and the "West Tennessee Examiner." John has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Memphis State University.