Rehab Your Fireplace Mantle

Before beginning any DIY mantel project, you need a clean space to work with. I always felt like the room was a bit lacking and felt like the Fireplace could be a great focal point, but the weird shape of the bricks on the ends made it so that a pre-manufactured Fireplace Mantle would now work without us having to make some adjustments to it. So…of course…we designed one based on some inspiration pictures and made one to fit our existing Fireplace.

I looked more closely at the design and knew Chris could do something equally as great, probably better, and we could truly have a custom mantel for a fraction of the cost. This is something I realized I was taking for granted in all previous homes I’ve lived in; it wasn’t until we started the search for our first house that we realized that not all homes in our area (in our price range) have a traditional fireplace.

You can even add a faux fireplace surround to add a touch of whimsy and romance to your bedroom. Behind this cabinet is also where the nearest electrical outlet was, so even if we had somehow put the cable box closer to the mantel there still would have been cords to run from the wall. Granted, if you follow these step by step instructions, you’ll be building most of your fireplace surround from mdf board and not hardwoods.

I purposely had to leave the inner panels narrower so they will not contact the granite surround. Julie decided that she didn’t like the brick mantel, and that we needed a white one instead… but of course, she didn’t want to paint or remove the brick. Been wanting to do something with our fireplace…this may be the inspiration I needed to commit to! Whatever materials you choose or construction techniques you use, installing a new or upgraded fireplace surround is sure to be a satisfying way to enhance your living environment. The spacing of the lower smaller molding was determined by the designer but we based it on one-third spacing of the larger space.

You’ll need to measure the depth of your fireplace insert or firebox, the width of the facade, and the height of the facade. So a few masonry screws through the top and along the sides (as well as a line of construction adhesive where the MDF met the brick at the top) made sure this thing wasn’t going anywhere. Our plan was to install a mantle last year but it was such a daunting task and Jeremy kept saying that he had a hard time finding a solid piece of wood that big (that didn’t cost an arm, leg, new Camaro, and seventeen gold doubloons). The drafting has never been good on this fireplace in the basement and we have three others in the home (crazy right?).

As the mantel shelf extends beyond the face of the legs, the wider it will be. This is because the corbels and crown moldings, which support the mantel shelf, extend to the sides proportionally to the depth. It’s extremely important to continually refer to your story pole as you start assembling each part of the custom fireplace mantle. Now you will have a box, minus one side slip this directly over the existing mantel and secure it in an inconspicuous place ( like the top) with masonry/cement screws). Instead of wholly replacing your fireplace mantel, reuse it. Build a wood frame that will slide right over the old mantel.

Any hoot, this homeowner build a faux fireplace mantel on the side of his home where he had a cafe table set up with some chairs. Use glue and a pneumatic nail gun to assemble the vertical and horizontal components of the wooden surround. Deformation of the crust and mantle during mountain building will resolve the question of whether deep structure manifests early stages of mountain-building (subduction, collision) or primarily preserves the imprint of later events (indentation, lateral escape).

For those into fireplace anatomy, under the mortar was a scratch coat of mortar mix that is applied to a metal lath. Note that state and local building codes and ordinances can vary from the IRC or may use standards from older versions of the same code. I knew what a mantel looked like, so all I had to do was put things together in the proper dimensions and I’d have one.

It was the quintessential layout tool for measuring, marking and transferring accurate measurements.Early carpenters relied on story poles for building all sorts of things and used it to measure and mark heights from the floor platform of a building and up to the roof. When we got to the top, we had a small space left and AirStone is nearly impossible to cut lengthwise, so we added a small strip of molding to paint white later. We are basically building an upside down planter box to fit over this brace we just made.


For these reasons, among others, most fireplaces will need to have some non-combustible materials surrounding the front of a fireplace (between the fireplace and any combustible mantel) and in the case of all wood burning fireplaces, also on the floor in front of the fireplace extending to each side, as well. Using a caulk gun, apply a bead of caulk along the area where the back of the mantel meets the wall. And the hardware that makes the shelf look suspended are actually decorative locks.

A new mantel can make an existing fireplace look completely different, and it makes a huge impact in the room. Nothing looks better than a room trim that dovetails with the centerpiece mantle. After all the trim and the crown molding have been nailed on, you will want to caulk around all the cracks and nail holes with some painters caulk and wood filler. The homeowner wanted a substantial sized crown molding, so we got the look by building up (or layering) two different moldings.

To give it some stability we cut several pieces 9” by 5 1/2” (the 5 1/2” cut is to accomodate a 2” x 4” in the back to hold it in place) and nailed them inside the mantel. Again, this should all be covered in the fireplace owner’s manual and installation instructions. I placed the photo next to my favorite molding catalog and did my best to get as close as possible molding matches.

The builder supplied a nice black marble tile slip around the opening, as per code, but left my friend with no fireplace. He also built these little fluted side pieces, which actually you can buy at the home center, and then he finished it with some wide base molding at the bottom and several coat to paint to make it look this nice. I think the top to bottom length will need to be altered to fit over our fireplace. I’m sure we could have given it a more traditional look with posts on each side, but it would have been a lot more work and probably not as simple to pop on and off the brick.

Things to keep in mind when designing your surround include the size of your hearth, the heating source (gas, electricity, wood) and safety clearances required (check your local building code for these clearances), the existing woodwork and furniture in your living room, and the room size and configuration. Ask about the mantle opening and hearth extensions in order to be compliant with local building codes on fireplace combustible materials. As you can see, my kid is ready to build anything and the original mantel below had pine on the front. I started the installation by transferring the elevation of the baseboard to the front of the fireplace using a laser.

If you’re not comfortable with building a fireplace surround from scratch yourself (or if you don’t have a retired contractor and woodworker on call like we do), another mid-range budget option would be to enlist the help of a local woodworker. We’ll be working on the mantle project this weekend, and the kids and I also have some Thanksgiving and early Christmas crafts planned. Hopefully, I’ll have a new mantle to decorate and more pictures to show off before Thanksgiving! The corners are mitered to allow a continuous 3/8” bead on all three sides of the mantle face. RON HAZELTON: A piece of 1 x 10 pine in a decorative molding are combined to form the mantel.

This scribe molding board was installed along the inner edge of the mantle opening and is scribed and fitted tight to the granite fireplace surround. Even the fireplace has a touch of modern with it’s straight lines and smooth surface, but it’s softened by the traditional mantel. So even though the MDF sat right against the brick at the top, it floated a couple of inches away from the brick (and tile) at the bottom. We laid down one more plywood piece on the top and mimicked the end molding of the mantel shelf.

Once we screwed the firebox door back on the fireplace, we realized the door was too heavy to constantly open and close as we accessed our electronics from inside of the firebox, so we chose to keep them on the mantel instead until we could figure out a better solution. Next you should ( I say should, because I did this after I built the box, but It probably would have been better to do this prior to building it) beat up the wood some, let the kids wear off some energy(with supervision of course 🙂 or take your frustrations out on it with a hammer, a razor or some scissors as I did.

We wanted this space to still be useful, so we put in a door to fake a firebox and have access to our outlet on the wall behind the fireplace to run our cords out of sight like a media cabinet. Mantle Developments is one of the fastest growing and most exciting home builders in the South East. I was so excited at this point, I did a dry fit, to make sure mantle cap fit over the existing brick mantle. I wanted the mantle to be completely removable so it just sits on top of the brick. A simple, rustic shelf or a Federal style surround can make a big difference in your home’s decorating style.

Someone posed the question of whether or not it was a fire hazard to have the wood against the brick… and now it has made me a little nervous. For the reveal under the mantel top I used 1/4″ poplar lacquered black (I think this is what you refer to). Our free calculator uses recent, trusted data to estimate costs for your Fireplace Mantel Installation project. A custom fireplace mantle is generally more expensive but can address irregularities and nuances of your home.

You just offset it a little so that the top extends beyond the front board…this basically just makes it look like a mantel. Artyushkov, E.V. (2012) Neotectonic Crustal Uplifts as a Consequence of Mantle Fluid Infiltration into the Lithosphere. To frame out the base of the hearth, we cut two long 2x4s about 8 inches longer than the mantel and connected them with shorter 2×4 pieces at 24 inches long. A suitable building for us will be located in the South East or East of England or in London.