The Perfect Fireplace Mantle

The Perfect Fireplace Mantle

Whether it’s shopping for a new mantle or replacing your old one there are a few things you should know before you get started. A new mantle requires a bit planning to make sure everything lines up just the way you want. How long should our custom mantle be? Do we need to have our brackets custom made to fit? We will be going over everything you need to plan your perfect fireplace mantle.

Where do we start?

he quickest way to start a remodel or install is to measure the inside opening width and opening height of your current, existing mantel.This can give you a starting point, but maybe you want the opening to be 4" taller and 8" wider so you can show off some more of that nice granite facing you have. Or maybe part of your remodel will include using new stone facing surround on the wall around the fireplace opening.

The fireplace opening width and opening height, plus the exposed stone facing determine the inside mantel opening dimensions. Measure the opening width and the opening height of your fireplace firebox. Next, determine how much facing material you want to show (sometimes referred to as how much stone facing you want to reveal.)

As a general rule for fireplaces designed to burn wood , you want to show at least 6" of stone facing on each side of the fireplace opening width and at least 12" above the fireplace opening height. This rule will satisfy most building codes.

For example, let's say your firebox opening width is 36." Adding the 6" facing material reveal on each side will give you a mantel with an inside opening width of 48." Also, let's say your fireplace has on opening height of 30." by adding your 12" facing material reveal above your fireplace you now have a mantle opening height of 42."
Get a good idea of what we’re looking for.
So now we have a good understanding of our dimensions and how to take our measurements. With that, we can decide the style of our mantle appropriate to the design choices of our room. Whether it be an elegant clean traditional mantle or a rustic industrial feel. The design will decide our mounting options.

There are many ways to hang your new mantle.

The “slide on over bolts” method, the anchored in masonry method, the backer board method, and the stud supported corbel method. A brief overview should give you some idea of what’s best for your situation.
    • Slide over bolts method:
      The slide over bolts method is the most common we see used. It provides good strength and relatively easy installation. Even when your stonework is already in place this method gets the job done. Supporting studs have to be able to be located and reached for this method to work.
  • Anchor in masonry method:
    If supporting studs cannot be located or reached, this method works if you have thick (4”+) masonry. A lead masonry anchor will have to be used for this method.
  • Backer board method:
    This method is used before fireplace masonry is done and is arguably the strongest method. A backer board is cut to the same height and width of the mantle and thickness of the masonry and then is bolted to the studs. This method allows incredible strength for your mantle.
  • Stud supported corbel method:
    Corbels are usually more of a decorative item, however, corbels can be bolted to the studs to create a very strong structure for mounting as well.
  • Side Note:
    Brackets are also a good way to reinforce a heavy mantles structure and offer character

    Why order your mantle from us?

    Chicago Fabrication can customize your unique mantle any way you see fit and we offer in-home installation. With a team of experts and design professionals, Chicago Fabrication takes care of all the legwork. Design and plan your next custom project with the best in the business and be sure to check out our gallery for more of our work!

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