Ten steps to...
Ten steps to... improve your sitting room: Fitting a fireplace mantle
What better way to give your sitting a new lease of life than by putting up a brand spanking new fireplace? Here's how you do it in a few steps.
The fireplace is the heart of every room (that has one), however, you can easily get bored looking at the same lump of wood day after day. So why not spruce up your sitting room with a cosy new fireplace? They’re not that hard to put up.
What you will need:
Drill with masonry drill bit
Step 1: Assemble the mantle
You could be posh and buy a complete one-piece mantle, however, you can buy mantles that you assemble yourself and they look just as good. It’s not hard to do, just place the top of the mantle on the floor and slide the legs down onto it. Screw the legs securely in place and you’re done for now. You can prime the mantle with varnish or paint at this point, but just leave the last coat until it’s actually up on the wall.
Step 2: Dry run
It’s best to put your new mantle up against the wall and place a spirit level on the top. If it's not level put some spacers underneath the legs. Now you can draw a line around the mantle so you know exactly where it's going to sit on the wall. You’re best to put up mounting cleats so that you’re not attaching your mantle directly to the brick wall.
Step 3: Measuring mounting cleats
With the mantle face-down you can measure the inside width of the shelf and cut a piece of 2x4 wood that will fit snuggly inside your mantle. Place this piece of wood inside the hollow shelf to see it if fits. This piece of wood will attach to the wall and the mantle will then attach to it. Do the same for the inside legs, but just make sure not to attach them to the mantle at this point.
Step 4: Drilling pilot holes for the cleats
You might need a buddy for this one. You should be able to see the thickness of the mantle thanks to your pencil outline that you drew in step: 2, so you can now drill the pilot holes in the wall. Get your friend to hold the cleats in place while you use a masonry drill-bit to drill through the wood and brick. Repeat the same step for both of the leg cleats.
Step 5: Attaching cleats
Now you can use a screw-drill bit to secure the cleats to the wall using concrete screws.
Cleats look a lot better than using brackets
Step 6: Installing the mantle - Part 1
Now you can finally begin to put the mantle up. Fit the mantle over the cleats, aligning it with the pencil outline. If your cleats are positioned correctly the mantle should be able to sit flush with the wall.
Step 7: Installing the mantle – Part 2
Once the mantle sits snugly against the cleats and wall you can begin to install it with finishing screws placed every 30cm across the top of the mantle. Your screws should go through the mantle and into the cleats. Repeat the same process for the side cleats.
Step 8: Deeper is always better
When you’re attaching the mantle to the cleats you should screw the screws so that they sit below the surface of the mantle. Basically, you want the screws to look like they’ve gone in a bit too far into the mantle. You'll see why in a second.
Step 9: Final touches
You can now start to put the finishing touches to your mantle. Use a hammer and some nails to attach thin pieces of wood to the mantles inside legs. This will close up the mantle nicely. You can use some caulk to cover over the screw heads but make sure to smooth them out until flush with the rest of the mantle.
Step 10: Finish
You can now apply any sealer you need and give your new mantle a final lick of paint. The only thing left to do is throw on a fire and stick the feet up.