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Fireplace Mantel Designs: How to Build a Mantel

Fireplace Mantel Designs: How to Build a Mantel

A fireplace mantel gives a warm and homely atmosphere to your home. Here are some simple steps to build a fireplace mantel and get some design ideas on the same.
Maya Pillai
Last Updated: Feb 21, 2018
A fireplace mantel is also known as a mantelpiece or a chimney-piece. A warm, roaring fire from the fireplace truly completes the picture of a warm and cozy home that is the very picture of a welcoming haven. And what about the sentimental value attached to the photograph of your beloved on the mantelpiece, or the mantelpiece clock? A mantelpiece became very popular during the medieval times and in the later period it became a decorative piece that projected over the fireplace. Many beautiful and ornamental mantel designs were created to add beauty and charm to any room that had a fireplace. However, today fireplaces have been replaced with modern heating devices such as room heaters. Hence a fireplace and the mantelpiece have gained more of a decorative significance than a practical use.
Fireplace Mantel Designs
A fireplace is not complete without a mantel, whether such mantel is simple or ornate. There are many beautiful mantel designs that you can choose from. If you are interested in, and good at, carpentry then you can also take it up as a do-it-yourself home improvement project. Before you plan to install a mantelpiece, you should have a general idea about what you wish to keep on the mantel. Choose a design that gives you ample space to keep the curios and personal memorabilia.
Fireplace Mantel Design
Fireplace Mantel Design
Fireplace Mantel Design
Fireplace Mantel Design
Fireplace Mantel Design
Steps to Build a Basic Fireplace Mantel
You can seek professional help or take up the project of building a fireplace or chimney-piece yourself. Some of the tools required to start this project include the following:-
  • Miter saw - to cut the wood
  • Hammer - to hammer in the nails
  • Brad nailer - a battery-powered nail-gun that is used in carpentry
  • Sandpaper - to smoothen the surface/hole filler mounds
  • Drill driver - used to fix heavy screws and nails
  • Paintbrush - used for giving a touch of varnish to the finished wooden mantel.
Before you begin, clean the fireplace and seal the grate for the time being. If your fireplace has a molding remove it carefully using a wide putty knife. Ensure that you do not spoil the surrounding wall while removing the molding. Before cutting the wood for the molding take the measurements of the surround. Cut the required length of the wood lengthwise along the grain of the wood and also width-wise across the grain of the wood.

Apply wood glue on the three pieces of the wood. (One for the top and two for both sides of the fireplace surround.) Allow the glue to set in the wood. In the meantime, using a stud finder, locate and mark the stud points on the wall. Using a level, draw a straight line vertically on both sides before fixing the wood on the top surround. Nail the wood into the stud marked on the wall, using a brad nailer. Use construction adhesive to glue the wood of the top surround that is facing the vertical side of the wall.

Once the surrounds are in place you can fix the decorative molding. Using miter saw cut the moldings at angles. Apply glue on the underside of the moldings of the mantel. Before nailing the mantel into place, apply construction adhesive on the surround pieces to hold the mantel firmly.

Ensure that the mantel is firmly fixed before adding the decorative details. The decorative corner blocks of the moldings are first cut using a miter saw and then nailed into the top and base of the surround on all the three sides, using a brad nailer. The nail holes and the minor gaps are filled using Spackle (Spackle is a powder that contains gypsum and glue. It is mixed with water to form a paste and is used to fill the cracks and holes in the wood.). Use sandpaper to rub in Spackle over the nail hole fillings. Apply a layer of primer to the wood. Allow it to dry before applying a coat of paint.
A mantelpiece can be made from various kinds of woods such as pine, cedar, oak or teak. Many shops offer custom-made fireplace mantel according to your artistic interest and project budget.
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