How to Remove a Fireplace Mantel?

Fireplace mantels are great fixtures for a lot of different reasons – when they are properly made they are usually the best-looking part of any home. However, you might need to know how to remove a fireplace mantel too – whether to replace it with a new one or because you want to remove/change the entire fireplace fixture.

So, here’s our step by step guide on how to remove mantel fixtures from fireplaces in a quick and efficient manner.

What you’re going to need:

  • Hammer.
  • Pry bar.
  • Rubber mallet.
  • Screwdriver.
  • A buddy for an extra pair of help and as a safety precaution.
  • Potentially you might also need a joint compound, as well as sand and paint in case you damage the surrounding walls while you’re removing the fireplace mantel.

So, now that you’re properly equipped, here are the steps you’d want to follow:

  1. Clear everything from the mantel as well as from the wall and floor around it. Clear everything from the fireplace as well since you don’t want any ash or dust flying in the air, as well as any debris from the fireplace causing problems.
  2. Place the pry bar at the seam where the mantel and the wall meet. Tap the pry bar several times with a hammer to properly sink it in the space behind the mantel. After that, gently but firmly pull the pry bar onward to separate the mantel form the wall.
  3. If the mantel is screwed to the wall and the fireplace’s frame, use a screwdriver to unscrew it. If it’s nailed instead, pry the nails with the pry bar or the back end of the hammer. If it’s attached to the frame with French cleats, simply lift it until it’s free of them and move it away from the wall.
  4. If you have to, use a rubber mallet to remove the bottom of the mantel shelf from the wall. Be gentle as you don’t want to damage the mantel or the wall, however, you’ll still need to apply enough force. Be careful of loose or rusty nails and other stone, metal, or wooden pieces that might fly off of the mallet and into your face or skin.

And that’s about it. If you’re careful enough the whole operation shouldn’t take more than several minutes and shouldn’t cause any damage to the wall or the mantel itself.

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