Installing a new mantel to your fireplace is something that most people can do without professional assistance. It can add a completely different look to any room. Since a fireplace is an area where family and friends gather, lots of memories and photos can happen in front of the mantel. Having a breathtaking mantel will make these memories more special. Here’s how you can install your own mantel.
Remove Existing Mantel
If there is already a mantel in place and you are replacing it, you will need to use the pry bar to remove the existing mantel. Pull the mantel out enough for you to see how it’s attached. Some mantels are glued in place using a silicone sealer. Others are attached with a peg system that is drilled in to the brick. A glued mantel just needs to be pried off, a mantel that is attached with pegs may require a little extra work to remove it without damaging the brick work underneath.
Measure the existing mantel (if there is one) and write down these numbers. If there isn’t a mantel in place you can measure the firebox, and around the firebox. Remember that the National Fire Code will require the mantel be at least 1 inch out for every 1/8 inch that the firebox protrudes. There are also specifications on how far the firebox can be from other combustible material. (Check with your local fire codes as well because if the local codes are stricter they will supersede the national ones.) Keep these measurements in mind when you are measuring for your firebox.
Prepare New Mantel
Choose the mantel that you like, and finish it with paint or stain if you wish. Many mantels will be shipped in an unfinished state to allow you to choose the colors. You will be able to find pre-finished mantels as well if you don’t want the extra work. The finish needs to be completely dry before you move on to installing it.
Place Mantel on Supports
If your fireplace already has brick supports then the installation will be very easy. You only need to place the mantel on the existing supports and attach it according to the mantel manufacturers directions. If you don’t have supports in place you will need to create a ledger bar. This can be done by cutting 2x2 inch boards at the height you are installing the mantel. Make sure the support spans the width of the fireplace as well. Level the board at the highest point and attach it to the brick using your masonry bit. Place lag sleeves in the brick and attach the board using your drill.
Secure New Mantel
Place the mantel in place and attach it to the ledger board you installed in the previous step. You can just use nails for this. Add any molding that you have to the mantel and attach it using nails. Use the level again to verify the mantel is straight and make adjustments if needed. If there are any spots where you can see the screws or nails on the mantel, you can use a wood filler and sandpaper to cover these.
Enjoy the new mantel!