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Removing the Scalloped Wood Valance Over the Kitchen Sink

A few weeks ago I posted that I removed the scalloped wood valance over my kitchen sink, but I didn’t show you how we did it.  I received so many emails since then asking me to please explain the process.  I was not at home when Ed did most of the work so I didn’t get many photos of the process, but I think I have enough to share so that the process will make sense.

So here is the post… just in time for the weekend.   Removing a scalloped wood valance is a perfect weekend project since it does not take a long time to complete.

Before and after kitchen where the dated scalloped wood valance over the kitchen sink was removed. This post shows you how to do it.

Do you remember the before? The scalloped wood was hiding a 2 tube-fluorescent light fixture.  And the after I posted last week.

Removing the wood scalloped trim above a kitchen sink

Do you remember the kitchen in my previous house?  Before I starting blogging, I had removed the scalloped wood valance above the sink in this house, too. It was a long oak scallop. It was easy to remove as it was simply screwed on. Yours may be simpler than you think to remove. Look up and underneath it to see of you can see and screws or brackets holding in up. 

When I removed it, it did leave a section of unfinished wood where the valance met the cabinets. To fix this, I spackled, sanded and then painted the area to match the cabinets. If you have stained cabinets, you can try to match a stain or use a stain stick to help blend the newly exposed wood with the finished wood around it

How to update a kitchen by removing the scalloped valance over the sink.

I was hoping removing the valance would be as easy in the lake house kitchen, but it was not. The scalloped section was part of one large piece of wood. To remove the whole thing was out of the question.

So instead, we decided to cut away just enough to allow us to add a new light fixture above the sink.

How to Remove a Scalloped Wood Valance Over a Kitchen Sink

How to remove a wood scalloped valance over a kitchen sink

supplies needed: 

  • Jigsaw with a wood cutting blade
  • Spackle or Joint Compound
  • Electric sander
  • 60, 100, and 220 grit sandpaper
  • Outside Corner Spackle Knife
  • Flat Spackle knife
  • Straight edge
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Flat finish paint
  • Paint brush or roller
Jigsaw blades

This is the jigsaw blade we used. It cuts through wood quickly, but does leave a rough edge.

1970's kitchen makeover - how to remove a dated scalloped wood valance over a kitchen sink
  1. Using a measuring tape, we measured up on the left and right cabinets that were between the scallops to the point where we wanted to cut the scallops off and placed a pencil mark. We then used a straight edge to connect the two pencil marks to create a level line across the valance. This line is what Ed followed when he started cutting away the wood.
  2. When he got to the corners he made a round cut since a jigsaw can cut on a curve.  Once the scalloped section fell out, he went back to each corner to make straight cuts to get 90 degree angles.
DIY kitchen makeover on a budget

This is what it looked like after using the jigsaw.

How to remove a wood valance above a sink in an outdated kitchen.

The exposed cut wood was quite rough.

Outside corner spackling tool

This drywall tool made that rough area go bye-bye.  It is an outside corner mud/spackle knife. There are also inside corner knives. They are shaped a bit differently. We needed to create a nice smooth outside corner along the outer edge where the scalloped valance once was and this tool helped us do it.

How to remove a wood scalloped valance over a kitchen sink

Before we Spackled, we used 60 grit sandpaper to start smoothing the cut areas of the wood. Once there were no more ragged edges, we changed the sandpaper to 100 grit sandpaper to start smoothing the surface a little.

I don’t have a photo of Ed doing the spackling since he did it when I was not at home. I had him demonstrate on the finished area so I could take a photo and you could better understand how the outside corner spackling tool works.

  • First use a regular (flat and wide) spackle knife to apply a thin coat of spackle to the bottom and front edge of the cut area.
How to spackle an outside corner
  • Then run the outside corner knife along the edge to smooth the Spackle while at the same time creating a new smooth finished corner edge. Let dry.
What tool do you use to spackle an outside corner on a wall?
  • When the first coat of spackle is dry, sand the area with 150 – 220 sandpaper to smooth.
  • Repeat the spackling/sanding process a few times until you have achieved a smooth new edge. Let dry before painting.
kitchen light fixture
DIY-Tip

We got the front and underside as as smooth as we could we the spackle and sanding, but to help lessen being able to see any flaws I painted the underside where the light is using paint in a flat finish. Flat paint does not reflect light, so you don’t see the imperfections.  I used the  semi-gloss paint I used on the cabinets to paint the front and side sections so it blended in with the cabinets and crown molding.

If you have a scalloped wood valance that is simply screwed in, your removal  job is easy. If you need a jigsaw and don’t have one but dearly want to remove the scalloped wood valance over your kitchen sink you may want to purchase one They are not expensive. A basic model can be bought for around $30.

I will have the full kitchen wrap up post for you next week.  :-)

How to remove the dated scalloped wood valance above a kitchen sink.

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30 Comments

  1. My light is on the wall under this piece, my question is have ca I replace the old florescent light that is mounted in the wall. I would like to have one hanging from the ceiling. Thank u

    1. Hi Lois – You can easily change up the light fixture. It is exactly what I did. The old fixture was a tube florescent. Once removed, you can use any style fixture you want. When you remove the old light there will be a hole in that you disconnect the cold and connect the new fixture. All hanging light fixtures comes with the hardware needed to hang. If you have never done this before, you do need to cut the power to the fixture first. You may want to have an electrician do it for you, or someone who has hung a light fixture before.

  2. Wow! This is amazing! I’m so glad I stumbled across this blog. I’m going to do this this weekend and didn’t know how to approach it! My valance has trim along the top of it, which stretches along the top of the cabinets on either side of the valance. Any suggestions on how to go about that? I’m not sure if I should remove it, leave it, or add new trim inside of the “window nook” (I don’t know what to call that!). Any ideas are welcome!

    1. I have the same thing going on and I’m trying to fiigure out the best option or if i should just leave it for now. Did you end up removing your valance? If you did, what approach did you go with?!

      1. Hey Mel! I did end up removing the valance. I used a hand held reciprocating saw to cut through the trim that connected the cabinets over the valance. I removed the valance and had to sand the trim to even it out and also had to do some patch work (I used Dap Drydex) to smooth out the area that I removed the trim. That was probably the most difficult part of the project – evening it all out to blend smoothly with the already existing ceiling. After painting it and adding a new light fixture, it looks AMAZING! The kitchen looks so much taller without the valance and much more modern. I hope that helps! Good luck to you!

  3. The job you and your husband did is fantastic. I might have to hire you myself one day!

  4. Awesome work! Almost impossible to think such a modern style can be created out of the things you had there before. Also super nice pictures in terms of image quality!

    Keep up the good work :)

  5. Just what I needed to see, as I’ve been talking about removing my valance, too and changing the inset light to a pendant. As always, thanks for the helpful pictures as it really helps an old woman like me to “see” things done. Also, I learned something else that I didn’t know…. that there is such a thing as an outside corner spackling tool. I’m going out to purchase one tomorrow! I don’t think I’ll need it as much for my valance removal job, as to repair an outside corner in my bathroom which a puppy chewed up! LOL This will certainly make that job a lot easier! You guys are always so helpful and I really appreciate seeing all your work. It gives us all so much inspiration!

  6. You guys are so handy! I would have just called a construction worker, I am terrified of messing up my home! It amazes me how something so simple can make such a drastic difference. Personally, I feel that scalloped trim gives a home a more out-dated feel so riding of it will help create a cohesive design with the rest of your home and home decor! Great job really looking forward to seeing the kitchen reveal!

  7. Wish I had an Ed around here! I’d love to remove the piece of wood that remains over my sink, it would look so much better! Also I have this odd light fixture over the sink that still has the light bulb from 25 years ago in it, and it looks like a real bear to change it out… maybe someday! Thank you – looking forward to your next post!

  8. Diane…you and your hubby always knock it out of the park when it comes to DIY!!!! The transformation looks amazing.
    You are so talented…wish you could sell the talent. I would be first in line.

  9. You and your husband are quite a team. I can’t imagine much of anything you can’t do yourself, thereby saving a ton of money. You both do beautiful work and should be very proud of your accomplishments.