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Today, I’m tackling the task of a fireplace mantel installation, transforming our bland stone fireplace with a substantial wood mantel. We felt the existing stone mantel was cold and uninviting so we removed it and opted for a reclaimed wood beam that brings both warmth and a striking visual appeal.
This mantel upgrade is not only about aesthetics, it’s a practical way to enhance the overall feel of your living space. Let’s walk through the process of installing a heavy wood mantel on a stone fireplace and how we decided what type of mantel to install!
How To Install A Mantel On A Stone Fireplace
While stone fireplace mantels do serve a purpose, they tend to lack character and often times blend in with the stone fireplace.
I decided to repurpose an old wooden beam from our property, originally from a city warehouse. The beam’s authentic character was revealed with simple sanding and staining, transforming it into an impressive mantel.
A friend of mine, Jake McGovern of Paramount Wood Working, applied his magic and cabinetry skills to tailor-make this piece, resulting in a mantel that is both functional and rich in history.
You can read how Jake crafted this old beam into an amazing mantel by reading this post, our Southern Pine beam mantel.
Step 1: Drill and Install Fireplace Anchors (rebar rods)
- Drill holes in stone fireplace. We drilled 1′ deep holes.
- 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).
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.
Step 2: Drill Fireplace Mantel Holes
- Drill holes in back of wood mantel to correspond with the rebar rods installed in the stone fireplace
- 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
Step 3: Install Fireplace Wood Mantel
- Secure mantel onto the rebar rods and push wood mantel as close to stone as possible
- Use a level to ensure the solid wood mantel is straight
- 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.
This fireplace mantel installation idea will work when installing a floating mantel on a brick fireplace or any type of uneven stone. We do have a small gap behind the mantel but it’s hardly noticeable and let’s face it, when. you are dealing with uneven stone, there is no way around it!
Step 4: Level Fireplace Mantel
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.
Step 5: Install Fireplace Corbels (optional)
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.
Jake crafted the custom corbels from the same beam and I absolutely love how they turned out!
We attached the wood corbels to the bottom of the mantel with 3″ heavy duty wood screws.
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.
What size fireplace corbels did you use?
Our corbels were custom made and 13″ long x 5.5″ wide, the are 9″ deep at the top (near the mantel) and 2.5″ deep at the bottom.
Step 6: Touchup
We filled the screw holes with a wood filler crayon in a similar color to the mantel.
Fireplace Mantel Before and After
As you can see below, the fireplace mantel is stunning and adds so much character to our stone fireplace.
Below is our stone fireplace featuring the stone mantel. There was nothing wrong with it, it just lacked character and warmth.
I recently shared our Christmas holiday home tour and our new mantel looks magical dressed up for the holidays! Click through this post, our holiday home Christmas tour to see all the details.
Here is another picture of our stone fireplace mantel from the day we moved into the house.
And the same view below with the new fireplace mantel.
You can see the full stone fireplace makeover by clicking this post, stone fireplace makeover.
What Is The Average Cost To Installing A Fireplace Mantel
The cost to install our fireplace mantel was $2200 but we already owned the wood beam. The $2200 includes paying someone to remove the old stone mantel and compensating Jake for his work of crafting and installing the wood mantel.
3 Key Cost Factors:
- The cost will include the price of the wood itself, which can vary, especially if it’s a unique or reclaimed piece with a lot of history
- Preparing the beam, sanding, staining and for the skilled labor to install it safely and securely on your wall
- Hardware to mount the beam
I personally love wood mantels for stone fireplaces. While the initial price might be higher than that of a pre-made mantel, the custom wood beam offers a one-of-a-kind charm and durability that many find invaluable.
How To Install A Heavy Wood Mantel On Drywall
If you have ever asked yourself, how is a mantel attached to a wall, this installation post not only shows you how to install a mantel on brick or stone, but also to a wall.
To install a heavy mantel on a wall, locate the studs behind drywall and using lag bolts or screws will help you achieve a successful installation.
Whether you are using lag bolts, screws or rebar rods like we did, be sure to verify the weight capacity of whichever anchor system you choose. Rebar comes in a variety of sizes and depending on how deep your stone or brick is, will determine the size of rebar you need.
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.
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 stone fireplace mantel?
If you missed any of the fireplace mantel installation posts, start by visiting the links below.
What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.