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How to Measure for Fireplace Mantels

how to measure for a fireplace mantel

Before you begin shopping for a new fireplace mantel or replacement fireplace surround, you will first need to do a little bit of work to determine the dimensions of a few areas around your fireplace. Depending on if you are replacing an old wood fireplace mantel or installing a new fireplace surround, the dimensions that you will need to have handy to choose the correctly sized fireplace surround will vary. To replace a wood fireplace mantel or fireplace surround, you will simply have to measure the old one. Installing a new wood fireplace mantel requires quite a few more measurements than replacing an old fireplace surround does.


In this article, we will discuss which measurements you will need to have on hand when purchasing a new wood fireplace mantel or and also which measurements you will need to have when replacing an old fireplace surround.


How to Measure for Replacement Wood Fireplace Mantels or Fireplace Surrounds

Follow these steps to get the measurements needed to replace existing wood fireplace mantels.

  • Shelf Width: Measure the total width of the top of the wood fireplace mantel at the widest part.

  • Shelf Depth: Measure the depth of the wood fireplace mantel from the front edge to the wall.

  • Total Height: Measure the height of the wood fireplace mantel from the top of the hearth or the floor to the bottom of the mantel shelf.

  • Total Width: Measure the entire width of the fireplace surround from end to end. If you do not have a fireplace surround, measure the total width of the facing.

  • Projection Depth: Measure the depth of the side of the fireplace surround from the outer edge to the wall.

  • Opening Width: Measure the width of the fireplace opening.

  • Opening Height: Measure the height of the fireplace opening from the floor or the top of the hearth to the top of the opening.

  • Side Distances: Measure from the edge of the hearth or surround to the nearest light fixture, window, corner, or door on each side.

How to Measure for New Wood Fireplace Mantels or a Fireplace Surround

Follow these instructions to measure your fireplace for new fireplace mantels. The measurement guidelines below are listed assuming you have a fireplace facing and a hearth. If you do not have a fireplace facing (decorative material like brick or stone that surrounds the fireplace opening), skip those measurements while measuring for your wood fireplace mantel. If you do not have a hearth (raised decorative surface on the floor beneath the fireplace opening), you may also skip those measurements while measuring for your fireplace surround.

  • Total Facing Width: Measure the total width of the fireplace facing from end to end.

  • Facing Width: Measure the width of the facing on one side of the fireplace opening.

  • Facing Depth: If the facing projects out from the wall, measure the distance from the outer edge to the wall.

  • Opening Width: Measure the width of the fireplace opening.

  • Opening Height: Measure the height of the opening from the floor of the fireplace, which is at the same level as the hearth, or the floor of the room if you have no hearth.

  • Hearth Height: Measure the height of the hearth from the floor to the top of the surface.

  • Hearth Depth: Measure the depth of the hearth from the front edge to the wall.

  • Hearth Width: Measure the width of the hearth from end to end.

  • Side Distances: Measure from the edge of the facing to the nearest light fixture, door, corner, or window on each side.

If you are not replacing a wood fireplace mantel but rather installing a new fireplace surround, you will need to check your local building codes or fire safety department to obtain the minimum distance allowed from the fireplace opening to the fireplace surround.

Fireplace Mantel Tips

Once you have recorded all of the measurements you will need for your wood fireplace mantel installation, there are a few other things that you should also keep in mind as you shop for fireplace mantels. Aside from making sure that you have the correct measurements for your fireplace surround installation, we suggest that you take into consideration the style, size, and atmosphere of the entire room that the wood fireplace mantel or fireplace surround is to be installed in. You want to make sure that the wood fireplace mantel complements the rest of the room to get the dramatic impact that mantels are designed to create. Make sure that you don't get a fireplace surround that is too large or too small for your fireplace and the room as it could make the room look crowded and the fireplace surround will lose all visual appeal.

View our selection of luxurious wood fireplace mantels.