Adding a mantel to an existing fireplace can quickly change the entire look and feel of the fireplace and the surrounding room. A mantel now makes the fireplace look larger and gives you the option of decorating the fireplace. A fireplace mantel is not a difficult project and can be completed in a very short period of time. The hardest part about building this mantel will be deciding what type of wood to use and what color you will paint it.
Step 1 – Measure
In order to build the mantel you will need to measure the area where the mantel will be installed. On the sheet of wood that you have selected, using your ruler and pencil, draw a box shape on the piece of wood that measures approximately four feet by six inches wide. If you are planning to build a large mantel, you might want to create a plan and draw it out on paper. This will give you a design to go by when cutting. However, if you are sticking with the traditional type mantel then following the steps below will be fine.
Step 2 – Cut the wood
Once the box shape has been drawn on the wood, use your table saw the cut the wood along the lines. With the box shape removed, use your sander to smooth the edges and corners of the wood. When doing this you can round the corners if you like or keep them perfectly square. If you are skilled with using wood working tools then you might consider a decorative design on the corners.
Step 3 – Creating a Frame
You are now ready to frame out the mantel so that drywall can be attached to it. You are simply building a box shape that will be attached to the wall. You do not need to use heavy wood as it needs to be light enough that it can sit firmly on the wall without putting a great deal of strain on the wall. Drywall the frame, securing the drywall with drywall screws. Apply tape and plaster to cover in the seams and nails. Paint the drywall to create a finished look.
Step 4 – Install the Triangle Supports
Using your hammer and nails secure one side of the triangle supports to the bottom of the mantle. Hold the mantle up to the wall in the location on that wall where it will be installed permanently. Use the level to make sure that the mantle is straight and squared on the wall. Along the bottom of the mantle, use your pencil to faintly mark the wall. This will let you know later where the bottom of the mantle should sit.
Step 5 – Installing the Mantle
On each triangle support there should be two holes on the side that is not attached to mantle. You will now use these holes to secure the mantle to the wall using nails or screws. When attaching the mantle, place the bottom of the mantle along the line that you drew on the wall. Then secure it in place.