Asked on Mar 21, 2020

How do I remove the mantle of a fireplace?

Cindy Rubin
by Cindy Rubin

Does anyone know how to paint a brick fireplace? I'm thinking of maybe going with a flat paint or a whitewash to make the room brighter and more modern. But.... how do I get this very very heavy mantle off? I cannot find one nail, screw or bracket that holds it it place, It hangs there like magic!! Once I get it off (hopefully intact, I will decide if I want to keep it; it is not perfectly flat on top. It has a sort of roll or slight hump... you know - just enough to make it difficult to have thinks stand on it!

Any suggestions would be great! TIA

  19 answers
  • on Mar 21, 2020

    There is likely a bracket attached to the fireplace that goes inside the mantle. It may also be held in place with adhesive.

  • There is a big possibility it is hung like a floating shelf. This is when the inside edge has some holes drilled into them then it is slipped into poles mounted on the wall. Try and pull it towards you and see if it slides off. Alternatively it could be set into the wall. If this is the case you may have to tape off and paint it where it is.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Mar 21, 2020

    Hello. It’s a possibility it’s mounted on a peg or metal metal amount from the underside. Can you shine a flashlight in the crack looking down from the top or bottom and see if you can see the mount there? My 1973 fireplace has wood pegs that go clear to the front side which is obvious to see.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Mar 21, 2020

    Hi! I had no idea there were so many methods for attaching one! Take a look at this:

  • It's possible that there's a nailer board that's been set into the masonry and the mantle is fixed to it with pegs. Just be careful when you try to remove it so you don't disrupt the masonry itself.

  • If you're not happy with the mantel itself, I would suggest sanding & refinishing it in place. It's a nice simple shape & would look good with painted brick. But first, I would just mask it off really well and paint the brick. If you still don't like the look after that, then you can refinish the mantel.

  • J Brown J Brown on Mar 21, 2020

    Cover carefully and reevaluate after whitewashing. You will be amazed at the total difference it makes

    Sneak peek at my project it was REALLY easy once the decision was made!

    comment photo
  • Dee Dee on Mar 21, 2020

    There is a product called Brick Anew which does a much better job than just white washing. It actually makes the bricks look like they were always that way. As for the mantle, see if there is a panel on the bottom that could come off. If not it was probably put on like a floating shelf with adhesive. Good luck in finding a way to take it off. Personally I would leave it, restain and lighten up the bricks.

  • They are typically screwed in and the screw holes are usually covered- wood putty or whatever. If you can find those, you can easily remove!

  • William William on Mar 21, 2020

    It looks like it's attached to the brackets from underneath. Either screwed or nailed. The brackets are attached to the brick from the front and the screw hole plugged

  • Holly Lengner - Lost Mom Holly Lengner - Lost Mom on Mar 22, 2020

    I think the wood mantel looks great. If you can't remove it, you could flatten the top with a sander to smooth it out and make it even. Then you can paint it white with the rest of the fireplace.

  • Maura White Maura White on Mar 22, 2020

    I personally believe the mantle looks like an awesome piece of wood! Can you just leave that the way it is and paint the brick?

  • Debi53 Debi53 on Mar 22, 2020

    Your third picture shows a screw in the support bracket. Unscrew that in each bracket and see if the brackets will come away from the brick. Try taking a rubber mallet and hit underneath the shelf to see if it will pop off once you remove the screws from the brackets. That is what we did with a similar type shelf. Our shelf also had an uneven top. We removed it and hung a large mirror and candle sconces on either side. I don't personally care for mantels. They seem to be clutter catchers, so I would vote to remove it and not put it back up.

  • Jody Price Jody Price on Mar 22, 2020

    I would NOT remove it! Tape and whitewash around it.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Mar 23, 2020

    Why don’t you just cover the brick with news paper all over so it’s covers and paint on there because once you take off it will always be loose

  • Annie Annie on Mar 27, 2020

    I think the mantle will look fantastic as it is once you whitewash the brick! It's a beautiful piece of wood

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Mar 28, 2020

    Sorry cover the brick and sand down the mantle on the fireplace on the wall because once you loosen it up it’s never the same it’s always wobbly.

  • Julie Bonebrake Julie Bonebrake on Apr 03, 2020

    I have one that looks very similar and I hit it with a mallet a few times and was able to tilt it upwards a bit but it was anchored behind the brick. I left it there and just added trim and such all around it.