How We Built A Fireplace Mantel
A Do It Yourself Weekend Home Improvement project
What We Started With
We have been remodeling for quite some time, 10 years. We started in 2002, a year after we moved in. This house was my parent's vacation home in the woods away from their house in the suburbs in Maryland. We knew we had to do some renovavations to this place to bring it up to code. The county didn't have any building codes when the cabin was built in the early 1970's. There were plenty of them in 2002 when we started this humongous project. We were under the impression all the new modifications would be done within 6 months. What a shock when it now has taken 10 plus years and we still aren't finished! We knew we didn't know anything about home improvements. It became our daily routine to search for a good contractor. We shopped around and we got references. We still ended up getting a shady contractor and he left our house only about 1/2 of the way finished. That was a nightmare to say the least!
|Southern Enterprises Loft Portable Indoor / Outdoor Fireplace|
Sheer modern elegance wrapped up in a unique portable gel fireplace. Floating glass panels are held in place by a brushed nickel base that houses up to 3 cans of FireGlo gel fue...
|Bionaire BFH5000-UM Electric Fireplace Heater with Remote Control|
Provides the ambiance and warmth of a fireplace without the mess! No logs, no open fire, no propane, no fumes to deal with. Beautiful and modern, fits in with your home and your...
|Dimplex CFP3920BW 20-Inch Electric Fireplace, Burnished Walnut|
Big style in a compact size If you’re looking for a fireplace that will fit into a small space, the Colonial has all the sophisticated design details of full sized units with a ...Only $399.00
Long story short we were down to doing some minor work and wanted to get the fireplace done. Well minor considering what we had already been through. Our plan was to have the bathroom, Greatroom, which is the kitchen and living room combined, finished and we could refinance that and remodel the two small bedrooms. That didn't happen. We also added a basement and it was going to be my sewing and laundry area. Oh it is now but is very small because this shady contractor shorted us out 3 feet by 22 feet under the house, I am still angry at this to this day. Now instead of making beautiful dresses and larger items I can only make children's clothing. I started a new venture, still sewing though this year under the same name I had in the other state some 12 years ago, Seams Like Camelot. I am making designer Bows and other small items..
|36IN WOOD FIREPLACE|
mfr: FMI PRODUCTS, LLC Clean, full brick lined interior, tough, textured powder coat finish and solid steel log grate. Install straight and secure with full-length nailing flang...Only $249.91
|FMI 36" Bungalow Woodburning Fireplace|
36" Bungalow Circulating Wood Burning Fireplace features clean, full brick lined interior, tough, textured powder coat finish and solid steel log grate. It also feature an array...Only $192.60
|FMI B36F 36 Bungalow Smooth Face Wood Burning Fireplace|
Look around, and youll find that the FMI Bungalow - Builder 36 Inch Wood Burning Fireplace is one of the many examples of high-quality, aesthetically beautiful woodburning firep...Only $193.43
My daughter's boyfriend at the time had his own business as a Brick and Stone Landscaper. He did beautiful work and he did my daughter's walkway. So my daughter asked if he could build the real stone fireplace wall for us and he agreed. This is real as opposed to face brick or stone.
So we went and got some shale that had some sparkle to it. Our place sits in the middle of a huge forest in West Virginia, We are on the west side of the mountain and it is pretty dark with all the trees that are around. I wanted something that would reflect light into the great room.
How he prepared the surface to hold the heavy stone was something that I never seen done before. We needed cement and another kind of cement and some cement coloring. We also needed to purchase some metal mesh and 2 x 4's. He nailed the metal mesh to the 2 x 4's and nailed that to the wall up over and around the fireplace. He then made up some cement and using a trowel he pressed the cement into the mesh. That was the first day. It had to dry. The project took about week before it was all completed. He also nailed a 2 x 4 in the place where a mantel would be attached. While he was placing the stone he inadvertently came down in one place on the 2 x 4 preventing us from putting another 2 x 4 or other attachment there for a mantel.
He tried to make a shelf or mantel that attached to that 2 x 4 but he couldn't do it because of that small area of cement he let slide. It wasn't his fault and I don't blame him. It just happened. He had to put the stone up in three or four sections allowing it to dry before the next section.
We had all kinds of people come look at it and contractor's and anyone else that was creative and they didn't know how to do it. For a couple of years we just couldn't make sense of it. After he had the stone up and set it really does look gorgeous.
Finally one day I was watching Television and there was a commercial about the kind of mantel that you can put around the gas fireplaces. It was like a box that you just put around or framed the gas fireplaces. I thought to myself why can't we make one to go around our fireplace. For all these years we were all focusing on the 2 x 4 above the fireplace. It never occurred to us, or anyone else, about making something around the fireplace.. So my head was spinning around with all these ideas and how to do it and be economical in the process. We didn't have the money to hire another contractor to do it for us. We had to be able to screw everything together because I was afraid if we did some pounding the stone would come off the wall. That would be bad and hurt too,
This was so simple and economical. It turned out to be a Do Ii Yourself Weekend Project. We could have done it in one day but the paint needed to dry completely before fooling with it. It said 2 hours dry time, but I wanted to make sure so I waited overnight for it to dry.
After the frame was finished I took measurements for the shelf. I marked where the cut outs were to be. That was easy. I took my jigsaw and cut into the wood to the depth that I needed and marked. I did all four cuts. I used a chisel and hammer on the lines and only had to hit it a few times and the piece came out all at once. That was cool! I sanded the cut down smooth with a hand held sponge - like sander. Sorry guys if I don't know what all these thing are called. I am not a carpenter.
I primed and painted the frame and then the shelf (all sides) and let them all dry over night.
How We Did It
So this is how we did it.
We purchased 4 2 x 4's, 3 1 x 3's, a 1 x 8 x 10 inch shelving board and used old pieces of triangular pieces for the brackets for the frame. We also purchased some primer and Black High Gloss paint.
I measured across the 2 x 4 that was above the fireplace and cut the 1 x 3 to that length and I screwed that into the 2 x 4. Then I took one 2 x 4 and screwed that onto that 1 x 3 and did the same to the other side. Then I screwed a second 2 x 4 onto the outside of those to hide the screws and make it look like it had substance. At the top of where the ceiling meets the wall I cut another 1 x 3 to fit across the whole frame. Eureka! the frame is finished!
The next day I put the shelving board up. I screwed the back of the shelf into the 1 x 3 that is attached to the 2 x 4. Eureka! It is finished. Since it was near Christmas I wanted this to be like a Christmas present to our selves. We waited so long for a Fireplace Mantel and I wanted this to be special. After finishing it I decorated it with Christmas items. This was the first year we actually had a decorated Christmas in our house. We have cats and usually we aren't even here for Christmas so we don't decorate. Now with the new fireplace mantel, it now adds that comfy cozy feeling that makes a house Our Home.
My next DYI Home Improvement project is the hearth. I am still playing around with ideas on that one.