How to Remove an Existing Wood Shelf

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Things You'll Need

  • Electric drill

  • Driver bit

  • Needle-nose pliers

  • Putty knife

  • Small block of wood

  • Flat pry bar

  • Claw hammer

  • Utility knife

  • Drywall joint compound

  • Drywall sanding sponge

  • Paint

  • Paint brush

If you have a wood shelf that you want to remove, you must first determine how it is attached to the wall. It may have brackets anchored to the wall, or the shelf might set on strips of wood that are screwed or attached to the wall with adhesive. After the shelf is removed, damage to the wall will need to be repaired. But if you are careful, the damage will be minimal. Following the proper procedure can help ensure a successful job.


Step 1

Examine the shelf and determine how it is attached to the wall. The shelf will be secured with screws, nails or adhesive.

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Step 2

Remove the shelf part from the brackets or strips of wood that it sets on. Use an electric drill with a driver bit to remove the screws that secure the shelf. If the shelf is nailed to strips of wood, use a hammer and pound up on the bottom of the shelf until it is free. If the shelf is adhered with adhesive, run a utility knife along the edge where it is adhered. It may take several passes with the utility knife to loosen the shelf.


Step 3

Remove the bracket part of the shelf from the wall. Use an electric drill with a driver bit and unscrew the screws that secure the bracket to the wall. If the bracket is a strip of wood glued to the wall, use a utility knife to cut between the wall and the wood until the wood is able to be pulled off the wall. If the bracket is secured with nails, use a small block of wood placed under a pry bar and gently pry the wood off the wall.

Step 4

Remove wall anchors by grasping them with needle-nose pliers and pulling them out of the wall.

Step 5

Repair damaged areas of the wall using a putty knife and joint compound. Spread the joint compound into holes and other damaged areas and smooth it with the edge of the putty knife. Let it dry for 24 hours and sand with a drywall sanding sponge. Apply another coat if low areas exist and sand again after it dries.

Step 6

Paint using the paint brush and paint that matches the rest of the wall.


Damon Koch

Damon Koch has years of writing experience ranging from software manuals to song lyrics. His writing has appeared in software manuals for Human Arc and on the CDs "Small Craft Advisory" and "Impersonating Jesus." He also has worked in building maintenance since 2004. He has attended Lorain County Community College as well as Cleveland State University.