fireplace mantel with double mantleIs your house chilly?

Keep it warm and cosy using a fireplace mantel!

Also, you can change your dull fireplace into a beautiful focal detail using Fireplace mantels.

They are an excellent feature.

Complement and improve the design style of your house using a mantelpiece.

Fireplace encloses, and mantels come in different shapes and styles and are made using numerous materials.

How do I find the best fit for my house?

We have comprehensive information on fireplace mantels to help you pick the right one.

What are fireplace mantels?

The fireplace mantel also called mantelpiece or chimneypiece, was introduced in ancient times as a canopy that extended over a fire grate to catch the smoke. The phrase has developed to incorporate the decorative framework encompassing the fireplace and can as well include intricate designs stretching to the ceiling.

The term, mantelpiece, is now applied as the blanket name for the pillars, mantel shelf, and other external accessories of a fireplace.

How to choose the best fire mantels

Fireplace mantels have come a long way, from their use as covers over a grate to control smoke from the fireplace in old times, to architectural art pieces in modern times. They add style and stature to fireplace areas and convert the hearth into a centre of attraction in the house.

When buying a fireplace surround, you should not think of it as just another decorative frame. Consider it to an elegant piece of fittings that will give symmetry and style to the whole room.

In the following section, I walk you through some important things that you need to consider when buying a fireplace mantel, to ensure it will give your hearth the exciting visual impression that you desire.

Review the fireplace code policies

fireplace codesAccording to the National Fire Code, all flammable materials must be placed at least 1 inch away from the firebox opening for each one-eighth (1/8) inch it extrudes from the cover, with at least 6-inch allowance all around. In some areas, there are stringent local codes in place. Where such codes exist, they take precedence over the national codes. Please, ensure you understand your local codes.

Measuring the fireplace mantel

When buying a fireplace mantelpiece for your house, you need to know the length and breadth of your hearth and the firebox, to kickstart the process of picking the ideal fireplace surround.measuring the fireplace mantel

The measurements you must get to match your fireplace with a mantelpiece is dependent on whether or not you have a hearthstone encircling your fireplace. Also, whether or not you have a fireplace facing. Additionally, it depends if you have an existing fireplace mantel that you want to replace or if you are fitting your fireplace with a new mantelpiece.

You might be having an oddly sized firebox, as such, an off the shelf fireplace mantel will result in a not so good looking frame around your firebox opening. Therefore, it is advisable to place a custom order for a mantelpiece with a great fit.

Choosing the design and style configuration

fireplaceNaturally, when you install a fireplace mantel it becomes the focal point of your house. Therefore, it is necessary to buy one that fits perfectly with the interior design of the house without overwhelming the room where the fireplace is located.

For example, if you have a small fireplace, you should not buy a mantel that is bigger than the fireplace. Similarly, you should not buy a mantel that is smaller than the fireplace.

Carefully consider the style and design of your house and ensure that the fireplace mantel you buy is going to blend with and enhance the rest of your interior decor.

Your Budget

Fireplace mantels are made from different materials which vary in prices. Designs vary in design from simple and conventional to luxurious and more exciting. The cost of a fireplace mantel will change depending on size, the type of material used and the finish of the fireplace mantelpiece. There are a large selection fireplace mantels in a mixture of patterns and finishes to complement several home’s interior designs.

Types of Fireplace Mantels

Wooden Fireplace Mantels

Most fireplace mantels are made of wood as they are an affordable option and they are also quite easy to work with. In addition, wood is easy to work with as it can be easily manipulated or carved into different shapes and sizes. It can also be painted or stained in accordance with the owner’s wishes. Painted fireplace mantels have an advantage as compared to stained ones as they are less expensive and can be painted to match the room’s décor. In making the mantels, one can choose from a wide variety of woods such as mahogany, redwood, walnut, pine, cedar, poplar, and maple among others.

However, one needs to be cautious when considering this type of mantels as wood requires enough clearance from combustible fireplaces. This can be taken care of by measuring the amount of wall space around the fireplace in order to have sufficient area around it and thus preventing hazards that may result from the fire.

One of the factors to be considered in the case of wooden fireplace mantels is the space to store the logs. Secondly, the chimney needs a lot of maintenance and the ash also needs to be cleared out frequently.

Wooden fireplace mantels also spit out burning embers. In this case, screens are required as a matter of safety.

Metal Fireplace Mantels

Metal Fireplace mantels go well with a room that has contemporary decor because it has a contemporary look and it often blends in well. Metals such as brass, solid bronze, aluminum and stainless steel are often used while constructing this mantel as they are flexible, and this helps in experimenting the unique sizes and shapes for the mantel. The metallic material is also known to be quite versatile and can custom made into a fireplace mantel shelf.

The mantels can be designed to look historic or extremely traditional based on the one’s preference.
However, one needs to have a large room so that the fireplace stands out. This is because they fit in smaller fireplaces with a lot of difficulties and one may end up trimming a large part of the antique mantel, thus distorting the whole look that one may be going for.


Fireplace Mantels for Small Rooms

Do you wish to have the warmth and ambiance that can only be provided by a fire yet have limited space in your living room? Then, Electric and gel fireplaces are your answer.

Not only are they efficient and effective but they are also great alternatives to traditional wood fireplaces. This is because venting is not required, no ash is created and they are more affordable in terms of usage. Turning them on and off is a quick and easy task and so one does not have to wait for the fire to die.
It is because of their popular nature that these fireplaces are offered in a wide variety of style and sizes, the aim is to meet the special needs of various living rooms. Some of the ideal options include;

Media Console Fireplace Entertainment Centers

This is a very popular type of fireplace for small homes and apartments as it not only provides heat, but it is a functional piece of furniture as well. These type of fireplace mantels also serve as a media center.
Other than featuring shelving for storing all the entertainment components and more, they have a large flat top that is an ideal place for placing a TV.

Wall Mount Fireplaces

Though they are not as popular as Media Console Fireplace Entertainment Centers, they are the most space-efficient of all the Wall Mount Fireplaces. These type of fireplace mantels can be mounted directly on a wall so as not to take up any floor space. Keep in mind that they are
designed with all room types in mind. They will thus complement the décor.

Other than being nice to look at, they have a functional purpose which is to provide a nice supply of heat to the living space. They also come in different shapes and sizes and they also offer the gel or electric flame source option. They do not require venting and are a perfect solution for recessed applications.

Small Mantel and Corner Mantel Fireplaces

If you are really limited in the space that you have, then, Corner Mantel Fireplaces are your answer. The Mantel Fireplaces which are the most traditional in appearance are designed to look like a wood-burning fireplace which would be found built in a home.

They come in a variety of styles, colors, and sizes. However, they all have a timeless design that complements any décor. Though they may be large in size, there are Mantels that are space-efficient with a popular brand being Real Flame.

The fit perfectly into any 90-degree angle corner and in addition, some of the mantels double up as a corner fireplace and a media console fireplace should there be more space.


fireplace mantels with hidden storage

These kinds of fireplace mantels are built with secret storage compartments so as to conceal the remote controls and other valuables inside the home.

Though it is hard to find electric fireplace mantels that have hidden compartments, the several options available include;

Wentworth fireplace surround with hidden drawers

Though it appears to be a normal fireplace, this is not the case as it contains some dual storage compartments on either side of the fireplace. They open to 3 storage shelves on either side.  

Although no fireplace is included,  an electric fireplace can be purchased  and inserted into the existing firebox after which the surround can be installed. Installing the electric fireplace insert is simply done by sliding the insert into your firebox.

Abingdon Mantel shelf with hidden compartment

This mantel shelf is made of solid hardwoods and it contains a secret drawer.  The hidden drawer slides out to reveal a secret compartment in the center. The drawer can’t easily be noticed. It also contains a mantel shelf and can be purchased in tandem with an electric fireplace

Rutherford Entertainment Center Fireplace with secret Drawers

It has hidden doors built in on either side of the firebox. The hidden doors can store DVDs and personal items. In addition to coming with a remote control and a 90-day limited warranty on the mantel, no venting and clean up are required.

Dimplex Jasper Media Console with hidden compartments

The 48’’Media Console has a hideaway media storage space that conceals all the media components.  It offers ample space to hold a large sized television and boasts of a high heat output that has a heating capacity of over 5,000 BTU’s.

It’s TV Stand comes with Realogs and gWave technology. This technology is owned by Dimplex.  The gWave allows one to control the electric fireplace by waving the hand in front of the fireplace.

ClassicFlame Williamsburg Electric Fireplace

This kind of fireplace has a secret drawer that pulls out of the upper mantel.  It also has a smooth glide that fits perfectly into its design. However, it has been and as a result, it is not available to any retailer in the market.

fireplace mantels with brick

A brick fireplace becomes a perfect focal point in any space when a little designing is done in addition to making sure the mantel matches the room’s style.

A brick fireplace surrounded by a classic white mantel draws attention to the fireplace in a colorful room. The white mantels design not only echoes the window frames and the doorway but also the grout lines between the brick. This, in turn, gives the room a cohesive design.  The brick on the fireplace, on the other hand, gives the room a casual tone.

Light-color bricks on the fireplace bridge the gap that is between the dark floor tiles and the white paneled ceiling.  They also allow the space to remain neutral. The tall fireplace then draws attention to the high ceilings in addition to the beam detailing in the room.

Though brick is seen in rustic or traditional places, it can be made to look perfect in a contemporary design through sleek treatment. An example is when white bricks are used as they will add a warm contemporary touch to the living room. Other than maintaining a clean aesthetic of the fireplace, a white mantel also provides display space.

You can also create visual warmth in a fireplace by pairing wood with brick. The natural color of the bricks not only reflects the different tones of the wood in the room but also adds to the natural feel.

The traditional brick fireplace can also be given a little edge by adding variety to the layout of the bricks. This simply means changing the orientation of the bricks which creates a dynamic look.

fireplace mantels with built-ins

Fireplace mantels with built-ins are ideal when you want to snag a bit more storage and display space from your home. This is because they are easier to integrate and also offer a great spot for the things that you use often.

However, safety should always be a priority when it comes to designing and installing fireplace built-ins. In this case, your local building codes may might specify the materials and the required dimensions so as to maintain non combustibility.

The ideas to consider when coming up with the perfect fireplace mantels with built-ins include;

1)      Focusing on the mantel only. Mantel-only fireplaces use little space and also maintain an uncluttered look.

2)      Adding open shelves. Open shelves are an adaptable way to get a lot of storage space as they fill up the dead space in narrow fireplaces.

3)      Evaluating the rest of the home so as to decide how much storage needs to be added. It also helps you to know whether to go for the floor to floor ceiling units, low bookcase or bench option.

4)      Boosting the base. This should be considered if the fireplace hearth has an elevated base at low-seating height. One may choose to extend that to both sides for low drawers that add storage.

5)      Elevated bases and open shelves work well together, especially with fireplaces that are centered on a short wall. Though this look is often seen in traditional styled homes, it gives a space visual balance.

6)      Closing up storages that have glass, metal or solid fronts adds visual variety. While solid doors contain and conceal clutter, the more transparent doors provide display space.

7)      The materials and design details to be used should be considered.  Your home and fireplace should be used for cues on the materials and details to be used.

Taking Care and Maintaining fireplace mantels

Fireplaces will always spread soot and smoke throughout the room regardless of how well they are taken care of. Mantels should always be dusted just like the rest of the rooms. However, the frequency of using the fireplaces also translates to how much the mantel should be cleaned.

While dusting the mantel, all items should be removed so as to enable one to dust under. Other than the dusting, the mantel should also be deep cleaned often. However, the cleaning process depends on the material used to make the mantle.

Decluttering the mantel

Leaving clutter on the mantel is not only an eyesore but also too many items on the mantle may damage it due to the weight.  Though one may be tempted to display all his valuables on the fireplace mantel, it is important to note that a mantel should be used only to showcase some of the valued possessions. The secret is to leave a few eye-catching pieces.

Decluttering the mantle is simply the process of removing unnecessary items on the mantle. This is because the fireplace mantel needs a focal point keeping in mind that the items on the mantel should play a role such as being part of the focal point.  One way of decluttering the fireplace mantel is by hanging on the wall all wall hangings and paintings that are on it. One may also consider a leaving a potted plant on the mantel.

Cleaning the mantel

A basic maintenance task in regard to keeping the fireplace clean is by keeping it clutter free. This is because clutter increases the duration it takes to clean and the amount of energy use to clean the fireplace mantel.

Secondly, one should avoid putting food and beverages on the fireplace mantels as they may spill and thus causing damage to the mantel. In case of any spills, they should be cleaned up immediately.

The fireplace mantel should be dusted after use so as to get rid of the soot and smoke in the area. This is because allowing the soot to settle may not only cause stains but this may also damage the mantel. On the other hand, it is recommended for one to clean the fireplace mantel once a week.

Periodic deep cleaning should be done to all fire mantels. This will, however, depend on the material used in making the mantel.

Cleaning the fireplace mantel also requires one to remove all the items on it and cleaning them in addition to the mantel.

Cleaning a wooden fireplace mantel

A lot of care should be taken when it comes to wooden fire mantels in order to avoid exposing them to moisture. The moisture exposure may be as a result of water, some types of food or household cleaners which may spill on the mantel.

A soft piece of cloth and a mild household cleaner should be used for regular cleaning purposes. One may keep the wood looking new and beautiful by using oil based cleaners.   In addition, quality oil will enhance the beauty of the wood in addition to protecting its finish.

Wood fireplace mantels should NEVER be cleaned using abrasive cleaners, detergents or solvents as they can causer scratch which permanently damage the wood finishing.

The fireplace mantels should NOT be cleaned using water based cleaners as the wood may be damaged after it absorbs the water.

Furniture polish and waxes should be avoided. This is because it creates buildup after a while.

In maintain wooden fireplace mantels, specialized treatments such as sealants are available. They protect the mantels in various ways such as preventing exposure to moisture and smoke from the fireplace and also ensuring that the wood does not fade with age.

Tea and coffee cups should not be placed on the wooden fireplace mantels as they can leave unsightly rings or marks which are hard to clean.

Regular polishing of the wooden fireplace mantel also helps to maintain an attractive shine in addition to protecting the wood from several elements.

Cleaning stone fireplace mantel

Cleaning a stone mantel basically depends on the type of stone that was used in making it. However, if the mantel is sealed, one can clean it using mild soap and warm water. Regular household cleaners should NEVER be used on the stone as this can damage the natural finish of the mantel.

In case the stone is unsealed, the cleaning instructions provided by the mantel manufacturer should be followed. This is because different types of stones react differently to various cleaning products.

The wooden fireplace mantels can be cleaned using a mild soap and water mixture. Several specialized stone soaps are also available that will help in cleaning the mantels in addition to ensuring that the surface of the stone is not damaged.

Washing the mantel regularly will protect it from soot and smoke stains whereas scrubbing the stones with a soft bristled brush on a monthly basis will get rid of the soot and dust build up, which will keep the mantel looking awesome.

All stains on the wooden fireplace mantel should be cleaned immediately as the longer the stain stains, the longer it becomes ingrained.

Pests Control

Termites are known to cause a lot of damage and as a result, some of the mantels and especially the Wooden fireplace mantel are no exception. This is because most of the wooden mantels are hollow at the back and this acts as a perfect spot for the pests. It is a good idea for those who use regular extermination service to ensure that they extend the service to the fireplace and mantel area.

If this is not the case, one should set up a service a few times in a year to get rid of them.

How are fireplace mantels attached

Two major safety concerns are considered when dealing with new wood. This includes making sure the wooden mantel is not too close to the fire by ordering a mantel that is correctly sized for the fireplace and also securely attaching it to the wall to ensure it does not fall through good carpentry.

In attaching the fireplace mantels, one should follow five easy steps which include:

  • Drilling the sleeve holes at each mark using a drill and a masonry bit.
  • Inserting lead sleeves into the holes
  • Inserting a lag bolt into each sleeve and tightening it to secure. Once this is done, an angle grinder should be used to cut off the heads of the lag bolts.
  • Drilling mantel holes by marking on the mantel where the lag bolts will be hit. 1/2″ holes should be drilled across the back of the mantle as to accept the lag bolts.
  • Lastly, a high-temperature silicone should be applied to the end of the lag bolts and the mantle should then be lifted into place and pushed on the lag bolts firmly.

How much are fireplace mantels

In determining the cost of a fireplace mantel, one should go through a pricing and installation cost checklist below:

  • The prices should be expected to fluctuate between various companies because different companies have different operational costs.
  • One should try to get the prices during late fall and early winter. This is because a contractor down season may lead him to give aggressive pricing discounts.
  • Due to the workload involved in installing a fireplace mantel, one may consider hiring a general contractor to perform the said task.  In this case, one should do research on the best contractor to engage so as to save him/her from the additional costs of fireplace mantel materials that may be required by a novice in case they are given the task.

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