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A person removing cornice with a hammer and chisel

Overview

A lot of houses use plaster cornice to cover the join between the wall and ceiling.  It is an easy job to remove it with a few basic tricks. These techniques will help you protect your paint work and remove your old cornice with a minimum of fuss.

Steps

1Cut along where the cornice joins the wall and ceiling

Run a trimming knife along where the cornice joins the wall, the ceiling and any cornice you want to keep. Cut into the cavity behind the cornice, making sure you avoid cutting into the wall or ceiling. By cutting along these joints, you stop the paint on both surfaces from coming away when you remove the cornice.  
A person cutting along the edge of a cornice with a trimming knife

2Remove the cornice

Use a hammer to gently nudge a chisel in under the cornice. Then use the chisel to start prying the cornice off the wall. Once the cornice begins lifting off, wedge your wrecking bar into the cavity behind it. Then you can leverage the wrecking bar on the wall frame and push the cornice off. 
A person removing cornice with a hammer and chisel
Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.