How to Remove Fireplace Surround

Lisa East Hunter

A fireplace is typically the heart of the living room. The family gathers here to talk about the day's events, to play games or to watch movies on the weekends. The fireplace should be a focal point of the room, and it can’t do that job unless the fireplace surround is as appealing as the roaring fire.

Removing the old surround gives you the "canvas" for a new fireplace wall.

Remove your old surround to get the space ready for a surround that better complements the room.

  1. Find any screws or other hardware that attach the mantle and surround to the wall. Shine a flashlight into the cracks and crevices to locate any mechanism that holds the surround together. Remove the screws and other hardware.

  2. Place the tip of a flat head screwdriver on any grout. Tap lightly on the screwdriver with a rubber mallet to break the grout. Move over a couple of inches and repeat. Remove all of the grout. Skip this step for surrounds that are not tile or stone.

  3. Slide a utility knife between the back of the surround and the wall. Slide the utility knife around the back of the fireplace to cut through any adhesive or paint.

  4. Position a pry bar between the surround and the wall. Apply pressure to gently remove the surround from the wall. Move slowly to avoid damaging the drywall. Repeat this process as necessary for a surround that is in multiple pieces like tile or stone.

  5. Apply spackle to a trowel and smooth the spackle onto the wall. Patch any areas of the wall that were damaged. Let the spackle dry. Sand lightly with fine grit sandpaper to smooth out any raised areas of spackle and create a smooth, flat wall surface.

  6. Tip

    A raised hearth can be removed with a demolition hammer with a chisel bit. Break the hearth into small pieces and with the hammer and remove the debris.

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