Getting Results at Home: Ratty baseboards? Replace them. Here’s how

Erik von Ancken shares step-by-step instructions

ORLANDO, Fla. – Danielle from Altamonte Springs told us her puppy chewed up the corner of her baseboards in her living room. We told her: “No problem!”

We purchased:

  • Alex caulk
  • Caulk gun
  • Utility knife
  • 8 feet of baseboard

Total = $44

We brought with us:

  • Pry bar
  • Hammer
  • Nail gun (but you don’t need one for a small job like this! use a nail set and brad nails instead, see below)
  • Circular saw (a miter saw is ideal but, again, you don’t need one for this job)

We recommend:

Step 1

Make sure to slice the existing seal along the edge of your baseboard between the baseboard and wall. Press down hard as you slide the blade down the length of the baseboard cutting the old caulk. The idea is when you begin to pry the baseboard from the wall you will not rip paint off your wall!

Step 2

Depending on how tightly your old baseboard is attached to your wall (and other baseboards), you may need to use a pry bar. But don’t put the edge of the pry bar up against your wall and pull, you’ll damage your drywall. If the baseboard you’re removing meets up with another board around the corner of a wall - like our project - then try and wedge the prybar into that corner. A hammer may help. Another option is to try and wedge the prybar under the bottom of the baseboard and pull out. As soon as you get one end of the baseboard free you’ll be able to pull off the rest very easily. Careful – make sure you’ve sliced all caulk attached to the wall and baseboard so you’re not pulling off paint as you’re pulling off your baseboard!

Step 3

Remove old nails from the wall that were used to hold the baseboard to the wall. If you can’t pull them out, just knock them flat with a hammer.

Step 4

Use the old baseboards to measure and cut. We placed the old baseboards up against the new baseboard and drew lines on the new board and even angles of the cuts. With our project, both ends of the old baseboard had to be cut at 45 degrees to meet up with the other baseboards at a corner. This can be a little tricky - study the angle of the old board so you know which way to cut 45 degrees and make the marking on the new baseboard very clear. We used a circular saw (some call it a Skil saw) just to prove to ourselves that this can be done with a circular saw which, if you don’t have one, one of your neighbors likely has. And if not, it’s a great all-around saw to keep in the house at an affordable price. I have two! The base of the saw tilts 45 degrees one way so if you take your time and look carefully at the old edge of the baseboard, you’ll figure out how to cut the new edge of the new baseboard. Note - anyone you hire would certainly use a miter saw to make baseboard cuts because it’s extremely precise. But a miter saw is also three, even four or five times the price of a circular saw. It’s a fantastic tool and highly recommended if you do a lot of woodwork... but if you’re just replacing two small sections of baseboard, a circular saw works fine.

Step 5

Put the new baseboard in place and see how it fits! If you’re a little long, go back and cut some more. If you’re a little short, hey, that’s what caulk is for! Caulk works great to fill in gaps - how big of a gap you’re comfortable with is up to you. This is where that nail set and brad nail (small finishing nails) come in. We used a nail gun only because we have one but the nail set works just fine for small jobs like this. Hammer in a couple nails at each end of the new baseboard to hold it to the wall. If you really want to get technical, your wall studs are likely 16 inches apart so the idea is to drive the nail into the wall stud but you’ll have to know where the stud is (a stud-finder can help, or if you have a pretty good ear you can try knocking on the wall to see if you can hear where it’s hollow and where it’s not). Chances are you’ll hit a stud at the ends of the baseboard because this is where your wall ends and your wall is reinforced at the ends. Depending on how long your baseboard is, you can put a couple nails in the middle. Try to put two in the same spot crisscrossed like an “X” to keep the nails from pulling out of the wall. Then, using the nail set punch tool, tap the edge of the nail below the surface of the baseboard (place the nail set tool onto the top of the nail and hit the tool with a hammer). Pushing the nail below the surface will allow you to fill in the hole with caulk.

Step 6

Last step - caulk! Use the utility knife to slice off a tiny angle at the tip of the caulk tube. Use a nail (or some fancier caulk guns have a metal spear that swings out from the bottom end of the caulk gun) to pierce the caulk inside the caulk tube to allow the caulk to flow out. Using the caulk gun, apply mild pressure so a stream of caulk oozes out and run the end of the caulk tube along the edge of the baseboard. Use a very thin bead of caulk! Less is more - you don’t want a gob of caulk pooling at the top of the baseboard. Then run your finger in one motion from one end of the baseboard to the other smoothing out the line of caulk up against the wall. A slightly wet finger or damp paper towel are key to wiping off extra caulk. The caulk will easily wash off your fingers when you’re done.

That’s it! You can paint the new baseboard to match the old one anytime.

Great job! You’re Getting Results at Home.


Ever wondered how often to clean out your lint screen and why it’s so important (Erik found out the hard way!)? How about patching that hole in your wall that annoys the heck out of you? Why is your disposal jammed and how do you un-jam it? Could you install your own flooring (yes!)? Why does your toilet keep running? How hard is it to fix drywall (spoiler alert: it’s not!)? Why do those picture-hanging hooks always pull out and fall down? What’s the difference between satin, eggshell and flat paint? Why are ants coming inside only certain times of the year and what do you do about it???

Each week, Erik will pick one project and bring his tools and DIY supplies to YOUR house or apartment! That’s right. Send us some pictures of your project, give us a brief description about what’s wrong, and send us your name, phone number, email address and home address and we might pick your project! Be sure to include where is it in your home, how it happened, how long it has been that way and whether you tried to fix it.

Erik is willing to tackle just about anything but he is not a licensed or certified professional, so he cannot do electrical or plumbing work. Even if Erik can’t fix your project, together with the expertise of Ace Hardware, he’ll try to point you in the right direction.

Send an email to with your name, address, phone number, a brief description of your project plus photos of what you’re looking to fix. Emails that don’t include the listed information will not be considered.

Every Monday morning on News 6 at 9 a.m. and News 6 at Noon, we’ll reveal where we’re Getting Results at Home (it could be your home!) and we’ll show you how Erik tackled the project of the week, so you can try tackling it at your home.

Saving money is the best part about doing it yourself, but the fun part is learning what you’re truly capable of. Erik learns something every time he fixes something (and especially when he can’t fix it!). Combined with the experts and expertise from Ace Hardware, Erik will do his best to get results. And if he can’t, he’ll point you in the right direction and we’ll all learn from it.

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About the Author:

Erik von Ancken anchors and reports for WKMG-TV News 6 (CBS) in Orlando and is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist in the prestigious and coveted "On-Camera Talent" categories for both anchoring and reporting. Erik joined the News 6 News Team in 2003 days after the tragic loss of space shuttle Columbia.