How to Build a Fireplace Mantel
One vital part of a fireplace that makes it attractive is the mantel. This is located in the upper portion of the fireplace box above the surround and frieze board. Most often, the mantel is made for decorative purposes and created with a shelf on which one can display various home accessories such as picture frames, flower vases, decorative plates and scented candles.
Numerous designs are available for building a fireplace mantel. This can be made from natural wood, cement, stone or painted with carvings, moldings and other intricate designs. It can have legs or the so-called pilasters or it can feature a bookcase or a certain type of storage area on each side. Raised or recessed panels can also be included in the mantel design. For huge homes, mantels can be designed in a way that it extends up to the ceiling area with alcoves for video screens, large paintings and other art pieces.
In deciding on a mantel, determine first the design you want. Mantels are of two major types. Some are built in place as either hanging on the wall or on the stone façade of the fireplace while some are built as a unit and then installed. The unit type is also referred to as a free standing mantel which is actually secured to the wall as well. The mantel that’s built in place is usually heavy and therefore needs to have the right structures such as blocks of wood to support the weight.
Consider the size next in accordance to the size of the room. For spacious rooms with high ceilings, a large mantel is ideal. If you have a small space, the mantel should not be too large.
If you are building a new fireplace and you want to build a mantel, find out the proper sequence in doing the work from your contractor. There are some masons who want to work on the surround materials after the mantel has been put in place. The others, though, prefer to work on the masonry first before installing the mantel.
Do make sure as well that your contractor and his people build a strong mantel for your fireplace. This is very important since the mantel will serve as a place for you to display precious personal items including antiques and family heirlooms. Also, the mantel has to be deep enough to accommodate and secure the things you will display there.
Building a mantel can be a do-it-yourself project especially for homeowners who want to be hands on when it comes to designing their spaces. Creating a wood mantel would be easier and less messy because of the lightweight material involved that will entail only some screwing here and there to fasten the mantel on the wall.
Just always remember that careful planning and a little research on the ways to properly do the work will prove beneficial. This applies not only to a DIY project but even if you’re hiring a contractor. At least with some knowledge on building a mantel, you can provide some input on how you want your fireplace mantel to look before work starts.