Crown molding is something that many homes both old and new have in place.
There are lots of great things about crown molding, but it is not always a fit for all homeowners.
Sometimes a more modern look is to remove the crown molding and do a treatment of some kind on the wall.
Other times, the crown molding will be removed because it does not match the current style of the home.
Regardless of the reason that you want your crown molding removed, there is typically a time in your course of homeownership when you will need to take some crown molding down.
If this describes your weekend project, then you are in the right place.
When we look at all the details of how to remove crown molding, we will ensure that you are not going to do any damage to the walls of your home, and your final product is going to look great as well.
Removing crown molding does not have to be difficult as long as you follow these basic steps.
How To Remove Crown Molding (Step-By-Step)
As you have come to know with many of our home improvement guides and manuals, the first step is to gather the supplies that you need.
Depending on the height of your project and the material that the molding is made of, these steps could vary slightly.
Let’s take a look at the step-by-step process for removing standard crown molding from your home.
1. Gather Supplies
The first thing you will need to do is to get your supplies together for this project.
Luckily, you are only going to need basic tools to complete crown molding removal.
For starters, you will need a ladder to be able to reach the crown molding.
A step ladder that is about six feet tall will work for most people who have standard ceiling heights in their homes.
If you happen to have raised ceilings, then you may be looking at something a bit taller.
In addition to the ladder, you will need a sharp utility knife.
If it has been quite some time since you replaced the blade on your utility knife, we recommend doing so before you start this project.
In addition, you will need to make sure that you have a hammer and maybe some gloves to protect your hands.
When you reach down and around to pull the molding away from the wall, you may not see a splinter or an extra nail.
The best way to avoid an injury is to ensure that you have on a great pair of gloves.
We also recommend having a putty knife that is durable and strong as you may be able to use it to help you lift the molding away from the wall.
Once you have these essential tools, you can move on to the next step.
Of course, if you plan to hang more molding, or smooth the wall out for paint, then you will likely need additional tools, but that can be dealt with at a later time.
2. Score The Paint Seam
The molding on your wall is likely painted one color and the paint on the wall another.
This is standard in most homes as it helps the molding stand out and look as though it is an upgrade to the home.
When the two pieces (the wall and the molding) were painted, it left a seam between them.
This seam needs to be cracked to help ensure that you can remove your molding from the wall.
The best way to do this is to use a utility knife that is quite sharp.
You will want to score at the bottom and at the ends of the molding.
In addition, if you can find the areas where two pieces of crown molding meet, you can also score these lines.
Ensuring that there are no outside influences holding this molding to the wall will help the removal process considerably.
Once you have those lines scored, you can move to the next step of the process.
3. Create A Starting Point
Like many other home improvement-type projects, as soon as you get this started, it will become considerably easier.
The first step is to create a starting point in your crown molding that allows you to be able to lift the crown molding up and away from the wall.
The starting point will be created using a putty knife or the utility knife, but the strength of the putty knife often makes this a little bit of an easier step.
Find one end of the molding where you may even be able to see it lifting away from the wall just a bit.
At this point, you will take one end of the putty knife and slightly tap it with the hammer to get it under the molding.
You will have to be careful how you do this so that the putty knife does not create a hole in the wall.
The starting point ensures that the molding can lift up, but the overall area behind the wall is not going to get damaged.
When you tap the end of the putty knife, make sure that you angle it to go up and under the molding and not straight back into the wall.
This is a bit tricky, and you may need to try a few different spots before you are able to get it to work, but in the end, you have to start somewhere.
Most people can find a spot in their homes where the molding has just a slight gap, and it allows you to get the putty knife to slide in easily.
4. Pry Molding
Next, you will need to start prying the molding away from the walls.
This is only possible after you have started with the putty knife and created an area where you can get some leverage.
The idea is that once the putty knife is in place, you can pull with your hands to pry the molding away from the wall.
Again, this is another process that you will need to complete very carefully if you want to ensure that the knife does not damage the walls.
Chances are when you remove crown molding, you will have a bit of repair to make to the walls, but the less damage you can create, the better.
The putty knife should help you get about a ⅛-inch gap between the molding and the wall.
Once you have this gap, you will then be able to really start removing the molding away from the wall and ensuring that you are going to be able to get the molding completely out.
Don’t try to use the putty knife as a pry bar.
All you need to do with the putty knife is create a very slight gap between the wall and the molding.
Once you have these in place, you can then switch to the pry bar and move to the next step.
5. Pry Bar
As we mentioned, the spackle knife is not enough to completely pry the molding off of the walls in your home.
At some point, you are going to need a bit more leverage, and that is where the pry bar comes in.
The spackle knife gets the molding a small distance away that you can then fit a pry bar into that space.
Once you have the space created by the spackle knife or putty knife, try to locate the areas where the nails are.
To get the molding off successfully, you need to work in an area where there are nails.
The nails are what are holding the molding in place, and a pry bar works best when it is placed directly next to the nails.
You will want to ensure that you are prying evenly down the length of the crown molding.
There is no need to try and get one entire section of molding off before moving to another.
Instead, you will want to ensure that you pry a little bit at a time all around until the molding can easily be pulled entirely away from the wall.
Sometimes if you try and get one end all the way out before working on another end, the result will be the molding cracking or even digging into the wall on one side.
Just as you would tighten screws evenly across a surface, ensure that you are doing the same thing when removing crown molding in your home.
When you place the pry bar, you will likely notice immediately if there is resistance from the nails that are in place.
If you feel this resistance, you are in the right place.
When you get started with removing crown molding, you may notice that the installer followed a pattern that helped them put things up evenly around the home.
The crown molding has likely been installed this way, and you may find that there are nails about every two or three feet.
Once you get your pattern going and know exactly where to pry away the molding, the process just gets easier and easier.
6. Finishing Up
Once your crown molding is removed, chances are there are other issues you are going to have to deal with.
There will be holes in the wall where the molding was removed, and there could also be some damage from the prying that you did.
The color of the wall behind the crown molding will not match the rest of the room.
This is where you will have to decide if you are going to replace this crown molding with something else or simply work on evening up the walls and getting things to match again.
The process of removing the crown molding is not all that difficult, but you can expect that there will be some work to do once it is down.
Should I Remove Crown Molding?
Now that you know the process for removing crown molding, you may be wondering if this is something that you really want to do.
To decide if it is worth it to remove your crown molding, try to consider some of the benefits and negatives of the molding itself.
Chances are there are some reasons on both of these lists that will help you understand which is going to be the best look for your home.
The major benefit of adding crown molding to your home is that it can give a room a complete look.
This look will often lead to an increase in the value of your real estate.
The additions to a home, like molding and even detail work, can help make the difference when trying to sell the house and when seeing how much it is worth.
These small differences can be worth quite a bit to a new buyer, and they may help you get top dollar for your home.
Most of the benefits behind the crown molding in your house are going to be aesthetic benefits.
The fact that the room will look more complete is enough reason for most to want to keep crown molding up on the walls of their home.
There are a few negatives to crown molding that should also be considered.
The negatives have mostly to do with this removal process we just went through.
Once you put crown molding up in your home, the process of taking it down is going to cost you some time and make it a bit difficult to get the walls back to looking perfect.
When the crown molding has been added to the home, the overall look is going to be great, but when you get tired of it, you will have some repair work to do behind the molding itself.
In the end, the negatives of crown molding really do not outweigh the benefits.
If you think that crown molding is going to end up making your home look more enjoyable through the years, then you will want to put it up.
When the time comes to change things and make them new, you will have to just accept the extra work that comes along with this.
We hope that you now feel as though you can remove crown molding in your home without it causing you too much trouble.
This is a process that will take a little bit of time and patience, but it is something that even those who are not DIY experts can handle.
If you have not spent much time dealing with things like crown molding removal, don’t worry about this process and whether or not you will be able to handle it.
As long as you have the basic tools and procedures down, your overall project should be one that you can complete within a few hours.
If you keep the crown molding in great shape throughout the process, there is also a chance that you can sell it to someone when you are finished.
This may help you fund the rest of the project you are working on, and it should be considered to help save money.NEXT: Patrick Fugit Bio (10 Cold Hard Facts)