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How to Create a Fireplace Mantel

A new fireplace mantel can brighten up an entire room. This project uses standard lumber and crown molding to create a fresh new look.

More in Remodeling

new fireplace mantel brightens up entire room
  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty

    Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Demolition

Place a drop cloth on the floor around the hearth to catch falling soot and debris. Locate and loosen the brackets that secure the old fireplace doors. Remove the fasteners and lift the old fireplace door unit out. If replacing the grate, remove that now too.

lift old fireplace door unit out

Step 2: Mark for Mantel

Mantles are usually 60 inches off the floor. With a tape measure, mark a line 60" above the floor. If there is a raised hearth, measure that separately to ensure an accurate distance. Measure the width of the fireplace to locate and mark the center point.

Step 3: Attach Mantel Brace

Position the 2x4 mantel brace on the line at the center point. Use a level to make sure the brace is perfectly horizontal. Mark and predrill holes to line up with the mortar joints. Attach the brace to the wall using 10-inch masonry screws.

position mantel brace on line at center and attach

Step 4: Attach Breastplate

Cut a breastplate from a 1x12 board to fit around the brace. Notch out a 3-1/3" opening on the breastplate to accept the mantel brace. Predrill holes near the top of the breastplate and then fasten it to the wall with 2-inch masonry screws.

cut a breastplate to fit around brace

Step 5: Attach Mantel

With 45-degree miter cuts at all corners, place and attach the crown molding mantel to the brace and breastplate with 1-inch finish nails (Image 1).

Cut a bottom cap to fit tight to the bottom of the crown molding to give the mantle a solid appearance. Secure with 1-inch finish nails (Image 2).

Step 6: Trim and Finish Mantel

Add any additional decorative trim to the fireplace mantel. Putty all nail holes, allow to dry and sand smooth. Prime and paint the fireplace mantle.

Step 7: Install New Doors

The new fireplace doors go in just like the old doors. Attach the brackets loosely on the floor and insert insulation around the edges. Lift the doors into place and tighten the screws by hand.

new fireplace doors go in just like old doors

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