Need to move furniture attached (caulked?) to the wall

I need help moving furniture … what are you doing Saturday? :slight_smile:

I have a bookcase in a bedroom – it was there when we moved into this house – that needs to move so we can install new carpet. It was apparently screwed to the wall; I’ve just removed those screws. But it also appears to be glued to the wall somehow, possibly caulked around all its edges.

How can I figure out what’s holding it in place and detach it – without damaging the bookcase or the wall?

Youtube was no help.

Use a razor knife to cut all along the caulk line (toward the inside of the bookcase). Try to hold the knife so that you don’t cut into the wall behind.

If the caulk is not visible, try a thin and flexible putty knife and push it all around between the wall and the bookcase.

If it’s actually glued to the wall, I see some drywall work in your future…

I’ve seen situations where the wood gets attached to the wall from the paint. I helped someone remove a Murphy Bed and the wood frame was stuck to the wall. I guess they installed it soon after the room was painted and the paint glued the wood to the wall.

It could be that in your case it’s just the caulk holding it to the wall. A box cutter can be used to cut through the caulk and free the bookcase. But I would plan on having to do some work to fix up that wall. The caulk is going to be firmly attached to the wall. You’re probably not going to be able to cleanly peel it away no matter what you do. I would guess that you’re going to be left with an outline of where the caulk was and have to retexture that part and repaint.

One thing that might help to remove the caulk from the wall is to heat it up with a hair dryer or a heat gun. Heat it gently and it may release from the wall easier and cleaner. But I would still expect some repainting to be necessary at a minimum.

I think I would just cut the carpet to fit around the bookcase. I had some bookcases attached to walls, but they didn’t go down to the floor when I removed the screws they just came right off.

Ayup. Most likely.

But if you truly have nothing to lose … I wonder if it would be worth trying something like this first:

Even if you had to use string to ‘extend’ it (making it long enough to fit behind the case and slide it back and forth), it may very well be able to cut through whatever they stuck it to the wall with.

And maybe – just maybe – without doing any meaningful damage to the bookcase (which I would probably try to protect, at the edges of the case back, with cardboard, a silicon cutting mat, or something similar … if the case matters).

Then you just put the case back where it was and hide any minor drywall damage that isn’t bad enough to mess with.

Unfortunately, the bookcase is on feet – so any absence of carpet underneath if would be visible.

When I took the books off, I discovered something I’d forgotten when I loaded the books 9 years ago: an electric receptacle. So either the bookcase doesn’t have a back (which would be great) or somebody cut a hole in the back so the receptacle would be accessible.

I’m going to try the boxcutter/putty knife. Will report back presently.

Hacksaw blades are good for getting in behind things that are stuck to walls - some surface damage is likely with these, but they are flexible enough to hold whilst feeding in flush to the wall, and long enough to get a fair way behind the stuck item.

I’m not sure if you are joking or not, but if I replace this room’s 24-year-old carpet with carpet tiles like I’d like to, I will probably tile around the 27 gallon aquarium rather than trying to move it before moving houses.

How is it not obvious which of these possibilities is the case?

Mrs. L and I have decided to replace some paneling on a wall with drywall. Mr. Fixit comes by to do it and…wait, they applied paneling to that corner (60 years ago), then put a built in cabinet over the top of that? Shit! These older houses do have some “delightful” surprises, don’t they?

And so you don’t cut into yourself. Don’t get so determined to cut it away that you apply so much force and the knife slips and…

They do make caulk removing tools. I have one and am unimpressed but I’m so not handy that I may be doing it wrong.

If it was screwed to the wall, it was likely screwed through the backing of the shelves. I also can’t imagine a bookshelf that has legs that would not have a back to it, because if it has legs that sort of implies it wasn’t built-in to the wall. I suspect the outlet space was cut out of the backing.

You can use a hair dryer to apply heat to the paint seams/caulked area to soften it up, this may help with freeing it from the wall or making cuts in it.

It was probably screwed to the wall because of a) the electrical outlet and b) to prevent a child from pulling it down on themself. I also don’t know why you would caulk and paint it to the wall but if I had a nickel for every time I said "WTF " about something prior owners did to my house I would have a lot of nickels.

Sounds like someone was bothered by a gap between the bookcase and the wall - especially if there were some irregularities in the plasterwork.

I second the idea of applying heat. You might also try tacking a rope over the caulk and keeping it wet for a while - check whether if extended wetting softens whatever they used for caulk. If you can get a bit of the caulk loose you can run your own tests with water, rubbing alcohol, etc.

If all else fails, what about one of those flexible Japanese saws with the teeth that have no “set”.

Update: it definitely has a back, although it was not obvious because the back was the same color and texture as the surrounding wall.

Caulk removal went well using the box cutter and putty knife. There’s a nice gap around the top and the sides of the bookcase now!

But it’s still firmly fixed somehow at the bottom. Work continues.

If it has feet, I would ask the carpet layer to work around them. Cut a couple of slits to make way for the feet, cut out a space for the feet, etc. There is no way I would try to get the bookcase off the wall. And yes, I am serious about this.

Sounds like it’s a bit late !
BTW, OP - a picture paints a thousand words !

I’ve never figured out how to post photos here!

It’s probably not too late to abort…I’d just need to re-screw the screws and re-caulk the seams. I’ll talk to the carpet people.

Sci-Fi novel plot.

Have you ever seen The Creeping Terror (1964)? Literally…attack of the carpet people.


I called the carpet people, and they said unequivocally that I need to move the bookcase so they can carpet underneath it. Damn. Carpet guy said it sound like there was still a screw somewhere, holding it tight.

Today I took a hacksaw blade and ran it along bottom (the top and sides were now free; the only issue is finding what’s holding the bottom fast.) Pleased to find that the blade slid freely for 6" or so, and then clanked against metal. Aha!

I stuck my hand in the 3" gap between the bottom shelf and the floor at the clank spot, and lo and behold – felt an indentation on the underneath of the bottom shelf. I put my cellphone in the gap and took a picture, and saw what looked like a screw head. Stuck a screwdriver into the indentation (working entirely by feel since I couldn’t see anything) and said a little prayer, and it was answered: the screwdriver locked onto a screw, and it turned. Repeat for a second screw. The bookcase is now free.

Thanks, all, for your input!

Justice has been done.