How to Remove a Fireplace Mantel? 

A fireplace mantel is a decorative piece that typically surrounds a fireplace and is attached to the wall. They can be made of wood, metal or stone. When it’s time to remodel your home, you may need to remove this item. 

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If you have an old fireplace mantel that’s just an eyesore and you don’t want it in your home, removing it can be a simple process. However, you need to take special care to avoid damaging the wall behind it or your other furniture and floors while removing the mantel. 

Step One: Loosen the Sides – Start at the bottom and work your way up. Use a hammer and pry bar to loosen the sides of the mantel from the wall. 

Check if the Mantel Has Corbel Braces – Most mantels come with corbel braces, which are decorative pieces that support the shelf. These may be made of plaster, wood, metal or stone and can be difficult to remove. 

Chisel the area around the corbel braces and chip away any plaster that encircles them with the chisel. Once that’s done, you can fix the tip of a pry bar behind the brace and tap it with a hammer to loosen it. Repeat this process all around the brace and you should be able to easily remove it. 

Once you’ve loosened the brace, you can begin to remove the mantel. If it’s held to the wall by screws, you can simply chisel them out or use a drill driver. If it’s held to the wall with bolts, you’ll need a socket wrench set. 

Getting the Mantel Off the Wall – When you’ve removed most of the mantel from the wall, you’ll have to reframe the opening in the wall. You’ll need 2 by 4 framing lumber and drywall to complete this job. 

You will also need to cut the mantel to fit into the reframed space. This is not a complicated process, but it does take a little time. 

Removing a Fireplace Mantel Without Damage to the Wall or Your Other Furniture and Floors 

Taking your mantel off the wall will make it easier for you to replace it with something new. It will also be less expensive. 

A new mantel will be much more pleasing to the eye and will match your new interior design preferences better than a fireplace mantel that’s dated or in poor condition. Removing a fireplace mantel is not an easy task, but it’s doable if you have the right tools and know how to handle it safely. 

Mark the Territory – To make sure that your new mantel fits correctly, you’ll need to mark its territory on the wall. This will indicate where to place the mounting boards (also called cleats) that will affix the shelf to the wall at strategic points. 

Once you’ve placed the mounting boards, you’ll need to drill corresponding holes into the back of the mantel. You can do this on a ladder if you have access to it, but you’ll need a helper for this part of the process.