How to Install a Fireplace Mantel

Tips for Installing a Fireplace Mantel

There are numerous helpful tips that will make your fireplace mantel installation easier.

First, marking the wall with a pencil will help you keep your place and keep your boards and mantel straight. Make your notches horizontally, 12 inches (30 cm) apart to show where the top of the shelf meets the wall.

Be sure to consult a National Fire Protection Association Fire Code guide for up-to-date fire codes and regulations concerning home improvement and fireplaces. To meet your homeowner's insurance policy, you'll probably need to follow all local and national regulations, as well as chimney inspection regulations in some cases. Regardless of code, you'll want to install your mantel high enough above the flames to prevent it from catching fire.

If you're using a kit, take some time before assembly to visualize how the pieces of your mantel will fit together around the firebox, especially if you're using marble. The legs of the mantel will likely need to be cut to fit the height of the fireplace.

When installing a wood mantel on a stone fireplace, make sure to add a scribe, or wooden beam, to the fireplace. This is what you'll attach the wooden mantel to, instead of trying to nail a bunch of wooden boards into stone. Before you consider self-installation, evaluate the amount of time you have and your budget for the project. The more sophisticated the materials you use, the greater the undertaking. Remember, it takes effort to keep the home fires burning.

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