A mantel shelf is not only functional but also decorative, usually highlighting the décor of the room. Wood is the most common material for mantel shelves. Mantel shelf kits are readily available. An unfinished shelf is a great option that allows you to finish the shelf according to your existing décor or preference. You can successfully replace a mantel shelf by yourself, using the correct set of tools and guidelines.
Step 1—Remove Old Mantel
Remove any decorations that are on your mantel shelf and put them safely aside. Take the concrete bit and remove all the screws that are holding the shelf in place. Lift the shelf gently and place it aside. Unscrew the plywood ledger board on which the shelf is attached as well. Remove any debris present on the area of mounting, in preparation for the new shelf.
Step 2—Install New Shelf
Take the plywood and cut a piece that fits on the hollow back of the mantel. Using the tape measure, get the width of the inside part of the mantel back. Deduct 2 inches from the measurement to get the length of the plywood you need. Measure the depth of the mantel to get the width of the plywood. Guided by the original location of the old mantel, mark where to place the plywood. Then mark three holes on the plywood, on the right, middle and left. Usually the original screw holes on the fireplace stone will be sufficient for the installation of the new mantel shelf. In that case, mark on the plywood the location of these screw holes. Drill through the plywood on the marked areas using the concrete screws and fasten it on the fireplace stone. Pick up the mantel shelf and place it on the fastened plywood. Hammer the mantel onto the plywood using nails at the top, bottom and the sides. Fill the nail holes with the wood filler. Countercheck that the mantel is firmly in place and ensure that all screws are tight.
Step 3—Finish-up the Shelf
Wipe the newly installed mantel shelf clean. Take your primer and apply a thin coat on the shelf ensuring that all areas are well covered. Leave this to dry. Paint the first coat on the shelf, also ensuring that it is thin to avoid drips and leave it to dry too, before painting successive coats. Paint as many coats as will produce your desired results. Leave the mantel shelf to dry completely. Clean up your working area by disposing the original shelf and other materials. Store your tools in the correct location.
Step 4—Redecorate the Mantel Shelf
Replace your mantel decorations neatly. Framed pictures or mirrors are great mantel decorations.