The fireplace is often the focal point of a room. It’s not just the fireplace itself that catches your eye, but also the mantel that sits above it. The mantel can set the tone for the whole room, so learning how to build a fireplace mantel to replace an old and outdated design can lead to a completely different look. Here’s what you need to know to create the perfect mantel for your fireplace:
What is the Purpose of A Fireplace Mantel?
In the past, the mantel served as a hood that would direct smoke towards the chimney instead of into the surrounding room. But now, the mantel is not needed for this purpose. Now, mantels are typically used for decorative purposes or as shelves to put items on display above the fireplace.
DIY vs. Professional Fireplace Mantels
Building a custom fireplace mantel from scratch is not easy. If you want a custom design, it’s best to hire a professional with woodworking experience.
However, it is possible to build a simple fireplace mantel without a professional’s help. There are several ways to do this, including:
- Crown Molding
- Pre-Made Mantels
- Wood Shelf
Purchase a piece of crown molding that will fit in the space above your fireplace. Crown molding is a classic design that will never go out of style, so it’s perfect for a traditional fireplace. Most crown molding is white, but if you would prefer another color, paint it prior to hanging it above your fireplace.
You can also purchase a pre-made mantel from a home improvement store. Pre-made mantels come in many different sizes, shapes, designs, and colors, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one that complements your home.
Purchase lumber from a local home improvement store to create a simple wood shelf mantel. Store-bought lumber has already been sanded, so it has a smooth surface that is easy to paint or stain. After staining or painting the wood, hang it above your fireplace to create a minimalistic wood shelf mantel.
What is the Best Wood to Make A Fireplace Mantel?
If you choose to create a wood shelf mantel, it’s important to choose the right type of wood. Some of the best options include:
- Cherry wood is not as durable as others, but it has a unique color that makes it stand out from the rest.
- Mahogany is a durable wood that looks stunning with a glossy finish.
- Oak has a distinct pattern that will add character to your fireplace.
- Maple is a light brown wood that is sturdy enough to serve as a shelf above your fireplace.
Each type of wood has its own advantages and disadvantages, so weigh the pros and cons carefully before deciding what’s right for you.
How Do You Install A Fireplace Mantel?
After building a mantel, follow these steps to install it above your fireplace:
- Use a pencil to mark the area where the mantel will be installed. Place marks every 16 inches.
- Drill 3-inch deep holes into every mark using a ¾-inch masonry bit.
- Put lead sleeves inside each of the drilled holes.
- Place 10-inch bolts into each of the sleeves and twist them until they are securely in place.
- Hold the mantel above the fireplace in the position it will eventually be installed. Use a pencil to mark the spots where the bolts will hit the back of the mantel.
- Drill small holes in each of the spots marked on the back of the mantel.
- Position the mantel in place so each of the bolts fit into one of the holes in the back of the mantel. Push on the mantel until the bolts are firmly in place, which will secure the mantel on the wall.
That’s all it takes to install a mantel above your fireplace. Tackling this project is an easy way to enhance the beauty of your home without spending a lot of money.
How High Does A Fireplace Mantel Need to Be?
Mantels are made out of flammable materials, so they cannot be positioned too close to the fireplace. In general, a mantel should be at least 12 inches from the opening of the fireplace. You should increase this distance by one inch for every inch that the mantel protrudes from the wall. For example, if the mantel is 3 inches deep, it should be positioned at least 15 inches away from the fireplace opening.
The rules can vary depending on where you live. If you are installing a mantel, it’s best to check your local building code to determine the appropriate height.
Transform the Room With A Beautiful Fireplace Mantel
Put the finishing touches on your energy-efficient fireplace by building and installing a beautiful mantel. Make sure you choose a striking mantel that will stand out while also complementing the rest of the room. Now that your fireplace is complete, you can spend the winter warming up in front of a roaring fire!