DIY Network

How to Update a Fireplace

You can brighten up an outdated fireplace by creating a new mantel.

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look what a new mantel can do for an old fireplace


Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Install a New Mantel

Before getting started, you want to make sure your lumber is not warped and doesn’t have large cuts or holes. Consider rubbing a damp cloth over the wood to give you an idea how it will look after it’s finished.

Scoring the caulk line will help remove the old mantle and to protect your wall, think about using a wide putty knife along with a pry bar. The wood for the new surround gets cut into three pieces and assembled with wood glue.

A piece of wood 8" wide makes a good-looking mantel and can be screwed on top of the surround. Wood appliqués created with a carving machine can add uniqueness, with decorative accents added to the front face and the sides.

Once it’s attached to the wall, a finish nail gun helps attach molding cleanly. Your new mantel is set to be finished with an oil varnish then grab the firewood and enjoy your hand crafted transformation.

wood appliques add decorative touch to mantel

Step 3: Get Other Upgrading Tips

A new fireplace front usually has three main parts: the fireproof material surrounding the firebox and covering the hearth, the new surround and the mantel top.

No matter the size of the fireplace project, factor in the desired look of your living space. If the masonry shell is well constructed, the transformation can be fairly quick and affordable.

A fireplace made from brick can be painted. Try some fire rated paint inside. A stencil pattern can add a dramatic effect. Try plaster that can be applied to many surfaces like brick or well-adhered paint when using a primer.

You can really change the look of the fireplace by using various materials on the exterior of the fireplace. Think about using marble slabs or small tiles. The fireplace can be designed to complement the room. Think about changing the shape or size of the mantel for an entirely different look.