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How To Install A Heavy Wood Mantel

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Today I am sharing how to install a heavy wood mantel on a stone fireplace. A wood mantel adds warmth and character to a fireplace which is exactly what our fireplace lacked. Our existing stone mantel was cold looking and lacked architectural interest so we removed it and installed a gorgeous reclaimed wood beam mantel.

We decided to use a wooden beam for our mantel because we had several beams in our barn that were left behind by the previous person who owned our house. The beams were salvaged from a warehouse in the city and after some sanding and stain, the wood beam mantel was stunning! Our friend Jake McGovern from Paramount Wood Working (who is a custom cabinet maker) graciously agreed to custom make our new wood mantel which came out amazing!

How to install a wood beam fireplace mantel

You can definitely hang a mantel on a stone or brick fireplace, or on the wall. Tips for locating the studs behind drywall and using lag bolts or screws will help you achieve a successful installation.

For our mantel installation, we used rebar steel rods. Rebar rods come in a variety of sizes and depending on how deep your stone or brick is, will determine the size of rebar you need.

This fireplace mantel installation idea will work when installing a floating mantel on a brick fireplace or any type of uneven stone.

Stone fireplace, dark brown wood mantel,

If you are just seeing this post for the first time, be sure to click through to this post, “how to remove a mantel from a stone fireplace” , where I show you how we removed the stone mantel.

How do you install a solid wood beam mantle? There are several methods to hanging a mantel but depending on how heavy your mantel is, will determine the type of anchors necessary. Our mantel was over 250 lbs so heavy duty rebar rods were necessary.

How to install a floating mantel

Install anchors (rebar rods)

  1. Drill holes in stone fireplace and install the rebar rods. We drilled 1′ deep holes.
  2. Cut rebar rods to size, fill drill holes in stone with Fuz It liquid nails and install rebar rods into the stone (see image below for steps)
stone fireplace, rebar rods, liquid nails, sawzall, how to install a wood mantel with rebar

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Be sure to wipe any liquid nail drips off your fireplace.

The key to attaching your wood mantel is to ensure the rebar rods are drilled in securely (to the stone fireplace) and reinforce with adhesive. Whether you have “uneven stone” or “even stone”, the fireplace mantel installation will be the same.

stone fireplace with rebar rod and liquid nail in hole

Drill Mantel Holes

  1. Drill holes in back of wood mantel to correspond with the rebar rods installed in the stone fireplace
  2. Fill holes in wood mantel with wood glue adhesive. We used Loctite Construction Adhesive inside the holes so the wood would adhere to the rebar rod
100 year old Southern Pine wood beam mantel restored and stained dark brown, brown custom mantel corbels on green blanket
100 year old southern pine beam mantel with hole for rebar rod, liquid nails in hole

Install Mantel On Fireplace

  1. Secure mantel onto the rebar rods and push wood mantel as close to stone as possible
  2. Use a level to ensure the solid wood mantel is straight
  3. We waited 48 hours before placing anything on top of mantel to ensure mantel was secure

Securing the wood mantle into the rebar rods was a bit of a challenge as the wood beam was very heavy topping out around 250 pounds. They made it look really easy in this picture but having a 3rd person to guide the holes in the back is helpful.

stone fireplace, wood pine beam mantel being installed by two men, cherry floors, stained trim

We used a laser level to ensure the wood mantel was level. Do not skip this step! The last thing you want is an uneven mantel. 

100 year old Southern Pine beam mantel stained dark brown, stone fireplace, custom brown wood corbel and digital laser beam red line

The last step is to add corbels. This is more of a personal preference. Our corbels do not serve as any type of support for the mantel, just a decorative element.

We attached the wood corbels to the bottom of the mantel with 3″ heavy duty wood screws.

100 year old southern yellow pine beam mantel and corbels being screwed to mantel, stone fireplace

If you don’t have a laser level, be sure to make sure the corbels are flush and level with the wood mantel with a regular level.

100 year old southern yellow pine beam mantel and corbels being screwed to mantel, stone fireplace

We filled the screw holes with a wood filler crayon in a similar color to the mantel.

100 year old southern yellow pine beam mantel and corbels being screwed to mantel, stone fireplace, fill stik crayon by Mohawk

How to hang a wood mantel on uneven stone

Following these installation steps will work even if your fireplace has uneven stones.

Once the wood mantel was hung, I seriously couldn’t believe how different the fireplace looked. It did not matter that the fireplace stone was uneven.

The floating wood mantel fit snug up against the stone fireplace and the gaps where the stone were uneven were barely noticeable.

I will share soon how I disguised the old mantel slab gap. I am planning to mix some paint colors together and attempt to paint the spot where the old mantel hung.

100 year old southern yellow pine beam mantel and corbels being screwed to mantel, stone fireplace

Can you add a mantel to a stone fireplace? Yes! You can absolutely add a wood mantel to a stone or brick fireplace and this post is proof!

I never in a million years would have known that rebar rods could be drilled into the stone fireplace and serve as anchors for a very heavy solid wood mantel. 

The new floating beam mantel serves as a stunning focal point and ties in with the the rustic modern theme we are hoping to accomplish throughout the house.

If you have a brick fireplace, this style floating mantel would also look great! This project is more of an advanced DIY project so if you are not familiar with drilling through stone or hanging heavy objects, hire a professional. 

When we bought the house a few years ago, it was very traditional and the Italian Mediterranean theme was really far from my decorative taste but with a few cosmetic changes, one being the new wood mantle, we plan to create a rustic modern cozy home. 

Stone fireplace, dark brown wood mantel, large mirror, greenery in vases on mantel, candles in fireplace, linen curtains

Here is our new stone fireplace with wood mantel decorated for Christmas last year. Wood fireplace mantels always look so cozy decorated for Christmas. See more of our Christmas living room by clicking through to our Red Christmas home tour post. 

christmas living room with stone fireplace and mantel decor

Here is the stone fireplace before with a stone mantel.

living room before with granite stone fireplace, granite mantel slab
living room before with granite stone mantel, white sectional, blue rug, stained window trim, white accent chairs


See Fireplace Makeover & Livingroom Tour: You can see the full stone fireplace makeover by clicking this post,  rustic modern stone fireplace makeover.

Our steps to install a mantel on a stone fireplace will also work if you are securing a mantel to a wall or brick fireplace.

Stone fireplace, dark brown wood mantel, large mirror, greenery in vases on mantel, candles in fireplace, linen curtains

Replacing a fireplace mantel was stressful as it’s a project we had never tackled before. I am so glad I took a chance as the fireplace beam mantel looks amazing and totally warms up the cold stone. What do you think? Do you like it better than the granite stone? For more fireplace makeover ideas, check out our new fireplace makeover page!

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18 Comments

  1. Oh wow, it turned out so nice! It really does look different than it did before. I never knew there was a laser level! That’s a nice touch to color in the holes to match the color of the mantel.

  2. The old mantel looked fine, but the new one is FANTASTIC!

  3. This mantel is so much better! Loved how you styled it too.

  4. Wow it is beautiful! Very stunning, love the look!

  5. Juanita in OH says:

    BEAUTIFUL!!! TFS

  6. What size of rebar was use?
    How deep was the hole that they drilled into the stone and wall?
    Please respond.

    I love the new look.!!

  7. I love the mantel and corbels in the first picture shown- what size is the Mantel and stain color – and what size corbels? Thank you, Jill jjvick1@me.com

  8. How did you disguise the granite slab?

    1. The new wood mantel covers most of it and a little gray paint mixed with white to paint over the old granite ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Jack Wilson says:

    Very nice work..and a good decision. Does look much ‘warmer’.
    A friend and I cut two 5″ thick Cedar beams from a tree yesterday. They will be 5 ‘ long and about 10″ wide. They are for my two fireplaces.
    The beams are quite heavy and I was thinking about hollowing them out from the back some to reduce their weight. I am also wondering, after seeing your project, whether I should use rebar, or get the pre-made bars with the rods..that screw into the fireplace. Mine are brick and mortar. I hope it turns out as well as yours did!

  10. Mantel looks great , except to me the trim around the fireplace looks like primer to me. At first glance that is what my eye said. Too stark. But you did a beautiful job and you love it and that is what matters.

    Have a great day.

      1. This. Is. AMAZING!!!! I love this so much! It’s exactly what I’ve been wanting to do to our mantle. We have a teeny tiny mantle on a giant stone wall. I’ve picked up some beams from my grandfather’s 130-year-old barn but have been stuck. I think the corbels are exactly what I’ve been missing. Did you make them? If so, do you have a template/instructions on how to make them? If you purchased them, where did they come from? Thank you so much!!! What a fabulous inspiration!!!

        1. Thank you! We actually had a family friend who is a cabinet maker , design and make the corbels. If you have extra beams, you could look for a local wood crafter to cut them and sand them for you. We had an extra beam so that’s what we did ๐Ÿ™‚ You could google custom wood corbels , maybe wayfair?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Nope sorry, looks nice but the granite(who would ever remove expensive granite) coordinated with the stone trim. The new wood, only my opinion, would go better on more rustic fireplace.