Give Fireplace Mantel a New, Modern Look

Learn how to transform a stone fireplace from rustic to formal by adding a wood shelf mantel. This project costs $600 and takes only 30 minutes to complete.

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Materials and Tools:

socket wrench
tape measure
4-1/2" lag screws
shelf mantel kit


1. Remove the former mantel and brackets from the wall using a socket wrench.

2. Measure the distance from the fireplace opening to the existing holes for the mantel support. Be sure to check your local codes to determine the appropriate height for your mantel. Note: We determined that we would be able to use the existing anchors to support the mantel in the wall. If the anchor holes are not within code specifications, you will need to drill new holes.

3. Pre-drill holes into the support bracket from the mantel kit.

4. Attach the bracket in place with 4-1/2" lag screws and use a level to double check to make sure the shelf is level.

5. Lift the mantel in place to make sure it's centered over the fireplace opening.

Fireplace Safety

Tips from professional chimney sweep Steve Actman:

  • Fireplace maintenance will fluctuate according to use. If you use the fireplace from October to March on a daily basis, you should have it cleaned at least once a year. If you're using the fireplace only two to three times a week, then once every two to three years. Actman recommends having it checked at least every five years regardless of activity level.
  • Another factor in maintenance is materials being burned.
  • Creosote is the result of the gas that comes off the fire in the form of smoke. It moves up the chimney to escape, but as the gas comes into contact with surfaces at a colder temperature, it transforms into a solid called creosote.
  • Creosote is a secondary combustable, and it will ignite under certain conditions. As it builds up along the interior walls of the chimney, it will reduce the space within the chimney and reduce the efficiency of the fireplace.
  • The flue is the pipe that carries the smoke out.
  • The damper is the door that can be opened or closed to allow smoke to move through the chimney.
  • Always open the damper when building a fire. Keep the damper closed when not using the fireplace to keep air conditioning or heating from escaping.

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