Using a Wrecking Bar

Summary: When to use a Wrecking Bar and how to use it safely

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What is a Wrecking Bar?

Wrecking Bars have many names most are regional influenced names, but usually called crowbar, jimmy, pry bar or as listed above, wrecking bar.

Using a wrecking bar or crowbar for demolition

Wrecking bar or crow bar used for demolition

A Wrecking Bar is a heavy metal device with one end flattened, split to create a ‘V’ for pulling nails from objects and curved so can be used in a lever action for prying and demolishing.

The other end is machined into a chisel shape to be used for prying items apart again with the action of levering. This end can also be driven in by using a hammer on the small flat place on the crook of the bend in the wrecking bar.

Wrecking Bars normally come in sizes that range from 12” – 48” and made out of machined hexagon shaped metal rod which increases its strength / rigidity when being used.

Bars are now being produced in bright colours so can be seen or found in a working situation as these tools are normally related to a demolition situation of work where there will be a lot of debris.

The variants of this tool can be found in the top tools section at the base of the page.

As always at DIY Doctor we always recommend the use of safety and protective gloves, dust masks and eye protection.

How to use a Wrecking Bar

How you use the wrecking bar will very much depend on what you are doing. One of teh most common task it will be used for is prying up floorboards. In this case you would wiggle or sometimes knock the chisel end into a gap between the boards and pull the other end down to lift a board up.

As yo might guess, this requires you to lever against an adjacent floorboard in order to get the leverage to lift the other board. This can cause damage and marks which might not be a good thing, especially if you have a nice wooden floor that is permanently on show.

In this case you can use another thinner piece of timber or thin piece of metal to lever against, to pry the board up and reduce the risks of potential damage to other boards.

Levering up floorboard with wrecking bar

Using a wrecking bar to lever up floorboard but levering against small block of wood

A wrecking bar really comes into its own in a true demolition situation, where you just need to get on with the job and any damage caused is of no concern.

They are ideal for levering up floor joists, roofing timbers, floor tiles and slabs, patio slabs etc.... where smaller pry-bars, levers or claw hammers just won't make the grade.

The length of wrecking bar you need also should be a consideration - you will be able to generate a fair bit more ″leverage force″ from a longer bar than a shorter one so don't struggle with a short bar when lifting or prying heavy objects, use a longer one.

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