Fireplace Mantels serve as a functional and decorative surround for your fireplace
There are a number of options when you are trying to find a way to accent your fireplace. Whether you are looking for a simple way to deflect heat or are looking for a show stopping centerpiece item to accent your living space, Fireplace Mantels, surrounds and shelves offer a variety of options for function and design.
Fireplace Mantels, Surrounds and Shelves are three of the options you can use to decorate your fire place area.
No matter which option you choose a fireplace mantel, surround or mantel shelf adds a unique focal point to the fireplace area. There are some differences between the three options.
Fireplace mantels are sometimes referred to as mantels, or mantelpieces. They are basically a large decorative shelf or structure that adorns the area above a fireplace opening. They are used to block or deflect heat traveling from the fireplace opening as well as being a unique piece that creates a focal point to the area. Fireplace mantels can be made from a variety of materials.
A Fireplace Surround is usually a single or multi-piece structure that adorns all sides of a fireplace opening. It completely surrounds the opening of a fireplace adding design and function to the fireplace. The type of surround you select will depend on the type of fireplace unit you have. Some surrounds are rated only for use on non-heating units such as electric fireplaces, where some surrounds are able to butt up against a heat producing unit.
A Mantel Shelf is very similar to a fireplace mantel, but is usually a simpler design than a traditional fireplace mantel. A majority of the mantel shelves are more decorative in nature than also being a heat deflector.
Fireplace Mantel designs are available to match all decors from Rustic to Traditional to Modern and Contemporary
When choosing a Fireplace Mantel, Surround or Mantel Shelf you will want to consider the styles, material and design. Perhaps the most important aspect is to consider the design of the room you have your fireplace in and then choose a Mantel or Surround that can either accent your current designs or you can also make it the focal point of the room and make all of your other design choices compliment the Mantel piece.
Fireplace Mantels can be made of a variety of materials, including wood, marble, concrete, stone, brick, and more
The Fireplace Mantels and surround options include a variety of construction materials. There are mantels and surrounds that are made of wood, stone, marble and more. It is recommended to reference the heating appliance manual before purchasing to see what requirements are listed for materials, clearances and designs.
Each product will have its own requirements as far as clearances and as far as what item can be placed on or above the mantel.
Fireplace Mantels and Surrounds can also come in a variety of colors from black to white, to pearl and more
The color options for mantels and surrounds are endless. Each item model and manufacturer have their own unique color and style options, giving you the ability to choose the product that is perfect for your specific project.
FAQ - Fireplace Mantels, Fireplace Surrounds & Fireplace Shelves
How big should a mantle be over a fireplace or how much overhang should there be?
In most cases this is really up to the homeowner and installer. While the appliance manufacturer will specify specific clearance requirements within the manual the actual overhang and size of the mantel is more an option of design and aesthetics then it is function. Some people like their mantels to be completely centered over the fireplace opening with 3 to 4 inches of over hang on each side. Others want the mantel to be shorter than the fireplace opening.
Can I install a TV or Stereo System on my mantle or above my fireplace?
While many people love the aesthetics of placing a TV above a fireplace, it is not recommended to do so. In most cases even with a mantle the fireplace manufacturer will warn against placing any type of television or electronic devices on the wall directly above the fireplace. The reason for this is that electronics and heat do not work well together. Most televisions have vents on the unit that allow for the television to cool down after prolonged use and in most cases these vents are near the bottom of the television unit and when you install the television above the fireplace, heat will travel up the wall and into these vents. Thus pushing a lot of residual heat into the television. Over time this heat will shorten the life span of the electronics.
Television manufactures usually state in their manual that they will void all warranties if the television is mounted above a fireplace. It is true that a noncombustible fireplace mantel may block a good amount of heat from traveling up the wall, it is recommended to reach out to your television manufacturer to inquire about their warranty and policies before moving forward with your installation.
How to decorate or style the top of a mantle?
The items that you place on a mantle will be dependent upon the clearance specifications laid out in the fireplace installation manual. It will also depend upon the material of the mantel itself. In most cases combustible items will not be allowed to be placed on the mantel unless it is a predetermined distance from the fireplace opening.
How are fireplace mantels attached?
Each brand and model of fireplace mantel and surround will attach differently. With that being said most manufacturers will utilize one of the following options for installation:
- A large number of mantels include brackets or corbels, which are decorative supports that extend from the mantel's underside to the wall. These brackets can be made of wood, metal, or other materials. They are typically secured to the wall using screws or anchors, and the mantel is then placed on top of the brackets, creating a stable and decorative support structure. When using this method it is recommended to make sure that the mantel is secured to the brackets and corbels and not just resting on top
- Wall cleats are a simple wooden strip that is attached horizontally to the wall. A matching cleat is secured to the back of the mantel. The mantel is then lowered onto the wall cleat, creating a secure and hidden mounting method.
- French cleats are a variation of the wall cleats, where one piece of the cleat is attached to the wall and the other to the mantel, creating a interlocking system for stability.
- Some mantels require that they be screwed directly into the wall studs or require the use of wall anchors. The mantel is then secured to the screws using appropriate hardware.
- Some of the more modern mantels, especially those made of lightweight materials or faux stone, can be attached using construction adhesive. The adhesive is applied to the back of the mantel, and it is then pressed firmly against the wall. This method provides a clean and hidden mounting approach.
- Then there are some pre-manufactured fireplace mantels that come with a built in mounting systems, including metal brackets or hanging systems. These systems are designed to be secure and easy to install.
Whichever mantel you are looking at will have an installation guide available for you to reference so you can determine if the installation method will work with your specific project.
Where can I learn more about Fireplace Mantels and Surrounds?
Check out our Resource Center for helpful articles about Mantels, Surrounds and other Fireplace topics.