How to Remove Fireplace Mantel – Tutorial

How to Remove a Fireplace MantelMaybe you bought a house that is perfect, but it still has a big, ugly fireplace mantel that you need to remove. Fortunately, after learning a few tips and tricks you should know exactly how to remove a fireplace mantel, and you’ll be able to create the perfect room to meet your needs.

How much work is involved in removing a mantel? There could be a lot of demo to do, so you might want to consider laying a tarp down to protect your floors and furniture from any debris that goes flying when you remove the mantel.

Removing an old fireplace mantel can change the entire appearance of your room. If you are looking to do a remodel, starting with the mantel can put you on the right track to a beautiful space. By taking out the mantel, you can start fresh in your room and decorate it exactly how you want without worrying about an unsightly mantel being in the way.

What you will need to follow this tutorial

Before you get started, make sure you collect all the tools you will need, so you do not have to stop halfway through your project to go get them. There is no worse feeling than being in the middle of a construction zone and needing a tool you don’t have. Start out by gathering these tools so you are ready to tear down your mantel:

How to Remove a Fireplace Mantel

  • Rubber mallet
  • Pry Bar
  • Tarp
  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Safety Goggles

Don’t overlook your safety when doing a project like this. Removing something like a mantel could cause debris to go flying, which could damage your eyes. The safety goggles might be the most important piece of equipment on this list.

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How to Remove Fireplace Mantel – Step by step instructions

1. Get Set-Up

Lay a tarp on the ground to help with debris cleanup. This can be a messy project, so make sure you also cover up any furniture that is in the room as well. Then, make sure the mantel is cleared off before you get started. When you are ready to start demolition, you will take the pry bar and hammer and chisel the mantel away from the wall. Check first to make sure the mantel is not held in place with screws, and remove those first if needed.

2. Pound the Mantel

How to Remove a Fireplace MantelWith your rubber mallet, gently pound the bottom of the mantel shelf, which will help it come away from the wall. You do not need to use a ton of strength or pound too hard, as you risk damaging the all or creating a bigger mess than you need to. This should be more of a tap and less of a pound. Remember that you are not taking a sledgehammer and breaking this into pieces, you are just pounding it away from the wall so you can dispose of it properly.

3. Push up on the Mantel

You should have it good and loose now. If all the screws are out, it’s pried away from the wall, and you’ve pounded it out as much as you can, try to push up on the mantel and lodge it away from the wall. You should be able to completely remove the mantel at this point. Give it a wiggle up, down, sideways, and see if it is catching anywhere. If not, you should be able to dispose of it.

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4. Dispose of Materials

At this stage you’ll want to break the parts down into smaller parts so you can easily dispose of them. Use the right tools to break up the pieces. Consider wearing gloves to protect your hands from scratches and cuts when you are disposing of the materials from your mantel. Removing a fireplace mantel is not incredibly difficult as long as you have the right tools.


How do I safely dispose of the materials from the mantel?

It depends on what the mantel was made of. If it was wood, you can burn it. But most debris will need to go in the trash unless you can salvage any spare parts for another project.

How do you avoid damaging the wall behind the mantel?

It’s important to pry the mantel away from the wall as much as you can either by unscrewing it or with a hammer and a pry bar. Getting the mantel off the wall will help you salvage the wall behind it. While you will probably have some drywall work to do, you can avoid any major wall repairs.

Do you need more than one person to safely remove the mantel?

It is easier with multiple people, but theoretically, you could do most of this project by yourself.

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What if you don’t have all the tools?

Unfortunately, this is not a job where you can skimp on the tools. Without the right tools it’s going to be very difficult to safely get rid of the mantel. You might hurt yourself or damage your house.

Can you reuse any materials?

Maybe you want to upgrade your mantel, not destroy it completely. If you are careful with prying the material loose, it might be possible to salvage it and repurpose it. Just be careful with your demolition and try to take things apart piece by piece instead of destroying it.


How to Remove a Fireplace MantelWas this tutorial helpful in gaining a better understanding on how to remove a fireplace mantel? Sometimes, we buy or inherit homes that have really ancient fireplace mantels that are just eyesores. Most times, the fireplaces don’t even work anymore, and the mantels were just left behind.

With the right tools, you can remove these mantels and have a much better appearance in your home. Make sure you take safety precautions including protecting your eyes.

Let us know what you think about the instructions, and drop us a comment about your fireplace project! We love to hear your stories, and please share our article if it was helpful! If you have any questions or feedback about these instructions, let us know so we can help other readers.