How to Remove Wood Crown Molding

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  • 1-2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Pry bar
Block of wood
Rotary tool
Straight cutting bit

Renovating a home may require that you remove the wood crown molding that is a border from the wall to ceiling. Wood crown molding is used in a lot of older homes. It was a stately type of molding that gave the room a more elegant, formal look and feel. In a renovation type of situation you may need to remove some, or all, of the wood crown molding to either fix it or replace it. When removing the wood crown molding, here are a few steps to make sure it is done without breaking the molding, or being injured by falling debris.

Step 1 - Survey the Wood Crown Molding

If you are renovating an old home and want to keep the crown molding style, you will need to first survey the molding to check which sections need repairing. You many only need to remove certain sections of the molding instead of taking down all of the molding. The more molding you remove, the higher the chance of breaking it and having to replace it.

Step 2 - Mark Sections to Remove

Using a marker, or a pencil, mark the sections that you need to remove and replace. You should try to incorporate the entire section, but if only a small piece is damaged, then you can replace it with a good one.

Step 3 - Cut Out Damaged Crown Molding

If you are going to replace a section of the wood crown molding, then you will need to cut it out. Using a rotary tool with a straight cutting bit, cut along the marks in the molding. Make sure that the cutting depth is such that it will go through the wood, but not the underlying surface.

Step 4 - Pry Section of Molding Off

There are times when you only need to do some basic repair to the wood of the molding. If so, then you want to make sure that you do not crack the wood while prying it off the wall. Use a small block of wood and rest the pry bar, or hammer, onto it. Slide the claws of whatever tool you are using under the bottom of the crown molding. Pry up gently, but firmly, and loosen the nails. Move the pry bar along the section until you have removed it.

Step 5 - Remove Nails

Sometimes the nails will not pry up from the wall, but be pulled through the molding. If this happens, use a hammer claw and remove the nails from the wall.

Step 6 - Remove Entire Molding

If remodeling with the original wood crown molding is not in the plans for your room, you will want to remove it all. Again, use a block of wood as leverage for the pry bar and begin to carefully pry up the crown molding. Move along the length of the molding until you have it almost out. Use your hands and finish pulling the molding away from the wall. This way, you have control of the molding and it will not come crashing down on your head.