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Fireplace Mantel Surround

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Fireplace Mantel Surround

Ideally, your fireplace and mantel system should complement the design of your home as a mantel is frequently the key focal point of a room, if not the entire home. We like to think of a mantel surround as a three-sided picture frame and the brick, stone or tile fireplace facing that surrounds the fireplace opening can be thought of as a mat inside the frame. For the last 30-odd years, fireplaces were commonly built with a simple brick facade (facing) and there may not have even been a mantel or, if there was a mantel, it might be a simple frame mantel or a mantel shelf that needs a makeover. Fireplaces like this let you start with a clean slate to design a look you like and one that fits with the decor of your home!

When considering replacing or upgrading your mantel we suggest you also look at renewing the fireplace facing, too. As shown in most images of fireplace mantel systems, wood mantels that surround wood-burning fireplaces typically have a non-combustible facing (e.g., tile, brick, stone, marble or granite,) which completes the design from an aesthetic as well as a safety point of view. Most damaged, chipped, stained, outdated or uninspired fireplace facings can easily be removed or covered with something more appealing and when coordinated with a new mantel you can truly design your space!

Fire codes vary across the country but most require five to six or more inches of non-combustible facing between the opening of a wood-burning firebox and the leg of a wood mantel and codes usually call for ten to twelve inches of non-combustible facing between the top of the opening of a wood-burning fireplace and the bottom of a wood mantel header. In addition to facing on the wall around a fireplace opening, wood-burning fireplaces require a non-combustible hearth that extends outward 18 to 20 inches in depth from the fireplace and 8 or more inches to either side of the fireplace opening. Always check local building codes regarding minimum clearances!

Note that gas or electric Fireplaces typically usually require less facing on the wall around the opening than wood-burning fireplaces and the fireplace owner’s manual (or its manufacturer) can provide minimum clearance information. (Clearance information is sometimes detailed on a tag or sticker attached to the fireplace itself.) TIP: For optimum aesthetic appeal we recommend that gas or electric fireplaces also have several inches of facing between the fireplace opening and the mantel and a stone hearth on the floor under the mantel! This will help it look more like a natural, wood burning fireplace.

Granite Fireplace Facing is popular because of the variety of colors available and because it is much more durable than most marbles or ceramic tiles. Additionally, granite is much more stain resistant that other stones and it can bring a luxurious, color-coordinated design to your home! Popular granite facing colors include: absolute black, tan brown, sparkling pebble verde and golden sand, and there are others, as well.

Full granite slabs (vs. 9″ x 9″ or 12″ x 12″ tiles) are preferred by most homeowners and interior decorators and designers since full slabs provide a customized fireplace facing system without the need for individual tile fitting and grouting seams that you have with square tiles. Most granite facing kits are available in at least two sizes and custom cutting services are usually offered for proper sizing! Standard facings sets typically include four pieces, a Header, two Legs’ and a large Hearth for the floor. Optional Risers are also available, too, for use in situations where the bottom of your fireplace opening is raised above the floor/hearth.

How do you install granite fireplace facing? For an entire fireplace facelift many homeowners will simply use construction adhesive (one specifically labeled for masonry applications) to apply new marble, granite or stone facing right on top of the existing brick. Others will remove some of or the entire existing surface before installing new facing stone. After the new fireplace facing is in place you can install a new wood mantel on the wall. Most mantels are designed to overlap the outside edges of a stone facing for a clean/professional installation and for an updated and truly designed look!

Many mantel sources offer multiple wood fireplace mantel designs, usually broken down into collections based on general pricing guidelines, priced from $400 to $2000 or more. Mantels can usually be ordered in your choice of wood (suitable for painting, like Poplar or Birch,) or if you prefer to see the natural beauty of wood grain, you can get many mantels in furniture grade Maple, Cherry, Mahogany, Walnut, or Oak woods. You sometimes have your choice, too, of ordering your mantel either unfinished (for finishing on site during or after installation) or for a modest increase, many on line retailers will professionally finish your mantel at the factory with a wide selection of finish colors.

Some retailers offer only standard sizes but the best sites will also offer custom sizes to accommodate the width, height and depth of your stone facing. The outside edges of the facing are typically overlapped/covered by the inside edges of the wood mantel and any remaining space between the facing and the back of the leg is neatly and professionally concealed after installing the scribe molding that is included with the mantel.

You can be assured that your mantel will fit, if you go with a reputable company that provides a line dimensioned drawing of your custom mantel before charging you or starting to build your mantel. Nearly Twenty Years of experience have helped Design The Space develop a nearly infallible system of designing and building properly sized mantels for our clients. If you provide us all the requested fireplace dimensions we will guarantee that we will design a mantel to fit your space!

If your fireplace is different and doesn’t seem to match up with any “regular” illustrations fill out the form as best you can, and submit a few photographs. As we all know, a picture can say 1000 words! We have built mantels for nearly every situation and would be happy to work with you on your project as there is likely a variety of mantel design solutions for your unique fireplace.


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