How To Build A Fireplace Mantel From Scratch

Here is a guide on building a fireplace mantel from scratch.

A fireplace mantel is one of the most visible areas of a fireplace whenever anyone walks into a room. This fireplace component goes by several names including chimneypiece, or mantelpiece among others.

The mantel may be ornamented and surrounds the opening of a fireplace.

How To Build A Simple Fireplace Mantel

The fireplace mantel often stands as a hood that projects over a fire grate. It serves to trap or restrict smoke from getting into the living room. This helps direct smoke up the chimney.

The fireplace mantel can also be referred to as a shelf that projects from the wall directly above the fireplace.

Can This Be Done As A DIY Project?

One of the great things about building a fireplace mantel from scratch is that you can handle the project yourself. However, you must have a real interest in taking the DIY approach to building a fireplace mantel.

Another quality you must have is a basic technical skill. Do you have what it takes to get your hands dirty? It’s important to note that DIY projects aren’t for everyone.

While some homeowners are great at it, others would rather have a professional perform the task for them.

Whichever option you choose, there’s absolutely nothing wrong as long as a good job is done. However, when comparing between the DIY option and calling a professional, the latter seems a much easier option.

Materials Required For Fireplace Mantel Construction

Before construction begins, certain materials must be sourced for the project. These include tools and supplies such as decorative molding, 1×10 pine wood boards, construction adhesive, and wood glue.

Others include wood stain or paint, sandpaper, stud finder, and painter’s plastic.

Additional supplies and tools for fireplace mantel construction include a pneumatic brad nailer & air compressor, leveler, safety glasses, table saw, and circular saw.

With these in place, it’s time to begin building your fireplace mantel.

A Little Detail About Building from Scratch

Before we get into our discussion, it’s important to offer some context to what we mean by building a fireplace mantel from scratch. Basically, a fireplace hearth design is mostly flat and uninspiring or unattractive.

However, the mantel changes everything.

Asides from its function in directing smoke to the right channels, a well-built mantel adds beauty to the fireplace. Due to its importance, building this surround will need to be carefully done as we’ll soon show you.

It’s assumed that no mantel has been built around your fireplace.

Steps To Building The Fireplace Mantel

Constructing a fireplace mantel follows several steps. The number of steps involved may differ from one article to the next due to how it’s presented or explained.

Here, we’ve added 7 basic steps for building a fireplace mantel. They include the following;

Step 1: The Planning Phase

With all the required materials in place, you’ll need to begin putting down a sketch of how you want your fireplace mantel to look like. Here, we’re talking about the width or how wide you want it to extend around your fireplace.

Other considerations include mantel shelf depth, appearance or color as well as accent styling.

One of the best ways to have a great sketch is by taking a look at pictorial collections to find the perfect match for what you seek to build.

Step 2: The Base or Legs

Fireplace mantel construction begins with the legs. Legs here simply refer to the two main columns that support the mantel shelf. You’ll need to cut your pinewood according to the length necessary for your mantel.

This is done using a circular saw.

Both the edges of your freshly cut wood will need to be ripped at an angle of 1 to 1.5” using a table saw. Adhesives such as nail gun and wood glue should be used to attach the ripped board to both pieces of wood or legs.

Your stud finder should be used to nail or attach these to the wall.

You’ll need a leveler to ensure your mantel is straight. Before fastening the mantel legs to the wall, construction glue must be applied onto the surface that will come in contact with the wall.

Step 3: Putting the Breast Plate in Place

The next stage involves putting the mantel breastplate in place.

To do this, you’ll need to cut according to your dimensions. The surface onto which the breath plate is attached matters. When dealing with tile, we recommend you use construction adhesive.

However for walls without tiles, the use of a nail gun will serve the purpose. Getting things in perfect shape will require using tools such as a leveler and stud finder.

Step 4: Installing Molding

Now it’s time to have your crown molding fixed. 45-degree cuts should be made using a circular saw.

This allows for the perfect fitting of other components. Using your pneumatic brad nailer, hold the structure in place. This molding first gets attached to the breastplate before the column legs.

Step 5: Setting the Mantel Shelf in Place

Here is how to build a fireplace mantel shelf.

The mantel shelf is the next component to be attached. To do this, you’ll have to cut the mantel shelf to dimensions using a circular saw.

Before it’s attached, apply construction adhesive on the contact surface. Now, place the mantel shelf to rest on the designated molding and nail in place.

Step 6: Installing Decorative Accents

Decorative accents add to the look or finish of a fireplace mantel. Here, surface molding is added to the mantel. This may include base molding for mantel legs too. All trim accents need to be cut at 45-degree angles to ensure a flush fit.

Step 7: The Looks

With the fireplace mantel fully constructed, you’ll have to decide how you want its appearance to be. It’s important to go for heat resistant paint as fireplaces are characterized by high temperatures.

Part of the preparation includes covering the area surrounding your fireplace with painter’s plastic.

Next, holes created by nails must be filled or masked with appropriate material before the painting commences. Your fireplace mantel should be allowed to dry for 24 hours before usage.

This is the procedure to follow for persons seeking to build a fireplace mantel from scratch.

We’ve provided the various steps to follow. As stated earlier, not everyone will find this process exciting. If this seems like too much of a task, consider contacting a professional to get the job done.

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