My brother just bought a new house, in spite of it being new it is rather plain. The first thing I noticed in the front room was the flat tile fireplace. It didn’t even have a mantel. If this were my home the first thing I would do to dress it up would be to install a new mantel over the tile.
Mantels on modern fireplaces usually don’t affect the structure of the fireplace. It is usually just a frame for the fireplace. There are many different kits and premade mantels available. For this project we are going to purchase a kit with a fancy white wooden mantel. This mantle along with some new lighting will completely transform the room.
We have two goals with our new mantle. One is making sure the mantel isn’t too close to the fire. You need to check your local fire codes for exact specifications. But the mantel must be 1 inch away from the firebox for every 1/8 inch it protrudes from the surface. It also must have a minimum 6 inch clearance all the way around.
We also want to safely secure the mantel to the wall. To achieve this we are going to run a board across the top of the fireplace and two down the sides. We will secure these and then attach the mantel to them.
Next prime or stain your mantel and assemble it. Use a level and fit the mantel to the wall. Now measure on the back of the mantel exactly where the boards that will be attached to the wall, will attach to the mantel.
Next use a masonry bit in a hammer drill to bore pilot holes through the brick and the boards that will be attached to it. Then switch to drill mode and attach the board to the brick with concrete screws.
Once the boards are securely fastened to the brick then attach the mantel to the board using 2 inch finish screws. Fasten every 16 inches and set the screws just below the surface. Also use the finish screws on the upper top edge and down both sides.
If there is a gap between the brick and the mantel legs than use edge molding to cover it. Then fill any gaps with caulk, and putty over screw heads, and paint and finish. This is just a brief overview of the steps involved to update your fireplace with a new mantel.
Before attempting this project I would recommending going over the instructions in detail. Keep in mind the most important aspects are accurate measuring and making sure the distances between the fire and mantel are up to code.