The Basics Of What You Need To Know To Replace A Fireplace Mantel

In addition to providing warmth during the colder months, a fireplace serves as the main focal point of common areas in a home. The appearance of the structure affects the aesthetics of the entire room. When your home has a fireplace, you want to make sure that it is in good condition and has a visually appealing mantel that complements your interior design.

If you move into a home that has a decrepit mantel that is not only ugly, but also a safety hazard, you should replace the structure as soon as possible. The following guide can help you understand the process of replacing and upgrading your fireplace's mantel.

Preparing the Area

The first thing you will need to do when you upgrade your fireplace area is to remove the old mantel. This includes removing the shelf, trim, columns, and the fireplace doors. Depending on the design of the old fireplace, you may also need to remove hearth stones or bricks as well with a chisel and a pry bar.

If you are not savvy with the tools necessary to remove structures from walls like wood and brick, experts recommend that you hire a contractor to remove the old mantel material. You do not want to damage the wall or injure yourself during the removal process.

To prepare the area for construction, you need to also remove any wall-mounted art, rugs, and furniture from around the fireplace. Keep in mind that you may need to repaint the wall where the fireplace is located in order to cover up any marks and discolorations that will be visible after you remove the old mantel and trim.

Measure the Area Properly

Before you pick out a new mantel kit, you need to measure the fireplace area. You do not want to purchase a kit that does not fit your fireplace area properly. The measurements you should provide to a fireplace mantel kit company and your contractor include:

  • The height, width, and depth of the fireplace opening
  • The dimensions of the room.
  • The mantel shelf length restriction. For example, if the fireplace sits between two windows, the distance between those two structures.

If you have a have a permanent hearth that was not removed, such as one that is built into the floor and made of marble, you should also provide the measurements for that structure. If you are unsure about how to obtain the correct measurements, the mantel kit retailer should be able to provide you with instructions on how to measure the fireplace area.

Purchase the Right Kit

When you select a new fireplace mantel kit, you will be faced with an array of designs and materials. Kits can include mantels made of wood, granite, marble, and other heavy duty materials. The design of the mantel can range from Old World to sleek modern. Regardless of the design you choose, your kit will include the following parts:

  • A mantel shelf
  • Reinforcement columns for the shelf
  • Lintels that are right under the mantel shelf to provide support
  • A surround which is the frame for the fireplace opening
  • Columns
  • A hearth, if necessary

The kit should come with detailed instructions on how to assemble the fireplace mantel.

Make Sure You Have the Right Tools

If you are going to install the fireplace mantel kit as a DIY project, make sure that you have the correct tools before you begin. The basic tools you need include:

  • A Level
  • Measuring Tape
  • A Power drill
  • A Screw gun
  • Screws and nails
  • Wood glue
  • Chalk
  • A stud finder

If your kit includes a mantel made of stone or granite, you may need other tools like a jig saw and an angle grinder. Make sure to consult with the kit retailer about the tools you will need for more complicated projects like granite mantels.

Before you begin your installation, make sure that you have located and marked wall studs. You want to make sure that the mantel is attached to the studs, the strongest areas on interior walls.