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Removing Fireplace Mantel: All You Need to Know

Last Updated: 26 April 2021

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Old fireplaces are one of the charming pieces in an old household. But, sometimes for renovating, we have to remove fireplace mantel. A mantel is a decorative attachment which encases a fireplace to keep photos and arts on it as a decoration. We need to know how to remove a fireplace mantel. While refurbishing, you need to fix the mantel surround to remove it. Let’s look into the process of removing it.

How to Get Equipped for the Job?

How to Get Equipped for the Job

To remove fireplace mantel, you have to get equipped. The tools required for removing fireplace mantel are:

  • Flat pry bar
  • Hammer
  • Level
  • Rubber mallet
  • Screwdriver
  • A helper
  • Joint compound, sand, and paint if the surrounding walls get ruined.

No additional power tools, nozzles required to remove fireplace mantel.

Guidelines to Remove the Mantel

Here are the guidelines for the process.

  • Take out all the things from the mantle, the surrounding floor, and walls and clear the fireplace.
  • Keep the pry bar at the point where the mantle is attached to the wall. Make the pry get into the seam by tapping with a hammer. Then pull the pry bar to detach the mantel from the wall.
  • If the mantle is screwed to the wall, then remove the screws using a screwdriver.
  • While prying, if you find nails attached to the wall and mantle, then remove the nails.
  • If you see it on French cleats, then lift it up from the center removing the cleat and take it out.
  • With a rubber mallet take out the base of the mantle. You have to be generous; otherwise, you can damage the wall. There can be rusty nails, so be careful.
  • When it is loosened, then pull the mantle out of the wall.

Remove Stone Mantel

Remove Stone Mantel

To remove the stone shelf, you need the best hammer drill. You need to start by drilling holes on the stone shelf with a cordless screwdriver. Remove the stone pieces with a hammer. Drill holes on the stone shelf and tap on it with a chisel. There will be dust everywhere, so you need cleaners afterwards.

Remove Wooden Mantel

Start by prying the wooden fireplace surround from the wall. Then tap with a hammer, and it will come off. This is the process for a single piece of the wooden mantel. If the mantle is placed on a rough lumbar frame, then you’ll require a circular saw or a jigsaw to cause cuts to prevent any damage to the wall. Then with a hammer break the wooden mantle for fireplace by tapping. It should come off.

Removing Fireplace Surround

There are three steps here:

  • Taking out the surround.
  • Taking out the raised hearth.
  • Sealing the fireplace opening.

Timber Fire Surround

Firstly, look for screw heads which might be hidden by plaster for decoration. Remove the plaster and screw heads. If there are no metal lugs, then the surround is fixed to the battens. Clean the plasters, if any, and remove the screws. Then, take out the surround and the battens from the wall.

Stone Fire Surround

Stone Fire Surround

The stone should be removed in parts. With a chisel, chip away the concrete mortar to loosen the stone from top to bottom. If you see nails connected to the chimney breast then take then out by chipping away the wall.

Tiled Fire Surround

It’s attached to the wall with screws and metal lugs on the top sides. Clear the plaster to expose the fixing. If you see screws then take them out. You can take a pry bar to remove the fixing from the wall. Then lower the surround and take it out. Tiles are fixed and attached to the chimney breast with screws. The tiles are attached to concrete so it will be heavy.

Cast Iron Fire Surround

It’s attached to the wall with screws and metal lugs on each side of the top. Clear out the plaster to show the fixing. Take out the fixing screws if possible. With a pry bar take out the lugs gently. The grate will be attached to the surround so they will come off together. After this, remove all the supports and lift the surround out.

Ending the Process

Ending the Process

After taking out the surround, you need to replace fireplace mantel. You need replacement fireplace mantels. If you have a brick fireplace then a wood mantle on brick fireplace will look rustic. You need to install it with tools like a drill, hammer, chisel, tape measure, ruler, grinder, levels, etc. Then, you can decorate the mantle with various art pieces, photographs and paintings.


We mentioned the processes of replacement and renovation of the mantle. But, you need to execute it with safety. Fireplaces give us the old charm as they’re the best-looking part of the room. We would love to hear your overall experience!

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