How to Remove a Picture Rail

Picture rails provide a way to hang pictures without putting holes in drywall. They look similar to moulding, but usually are installed on the wall about 1 foot below the ceiling. Picture rails most commonly secure to the wall with nails and glue. Removing a picture rail requires patience so you avoid damaging the wall behind the trim as much as possible. You may need to perform some minor patching to the wall after removing the picture rail.

Cut through the paint seam at the top and bottom edges of the picture rail where they meet the wall, using a utility knife.

Insert the blade of a putty knife between the picture rail and the wall, 1 inch from one end. Push the blade in from the top if possible. Tap the handle of the putty knife with a hammer to break through the glue.

Tap a second putty knife in between the picture railing and the wall, 1 foot away from the first putty knife. Pull gently on the handles of both putty knifes to work the picture railing 1/8 inch out from the wall. This enables you to see the nails that secure the picture rail to the wall.

Continue down the length of the picture rail, inserting the putty knife blades between the railing and the wall, and prying the railing 1/8 inch from the wall.

Place the end of a flat pry bar near each nail shank between the picture rail and the wall. Pry the picture rail completely away from the wall.

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