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Installing a fireplace mantel

QuestionI bought my house about a year ago. It has a very nice tile surround corner fireplace but no mantel. I am having a hard time finding any information on how to build a mantel for this type of fireplace. I would rather not have just a 'shelf' above the fireplace opening. The space for the mantel would have to be shaped like a flat bottomed "W." Do you have any suggestions?

AnswerIt's hard to tell by your description whether you are talking about a fireplace located on an outside corner or one built into an inside corner. I will assume that you are talking about an outside corner where the fireplace can be seen from two different rooms. If this is the case, a mantel would only stick out into the rooms. Is the surround tile bordered with a finish tile? It may be possible to finish around the tile with an accent tile or—better yet—use real wood that would lay flat up against the wall bordering the tile. Use a semi-wide profile detail moulding and paint it in two or three colors to set off the tile and fireplace all at the same time. Sometimes the simplest approach is the best one to take.

Even though I haven't read the following book, you may be interested in some of the reviews I picked up from www.amazon.com: Step-By-Step to a Classic Mantel: A Complete Guide to Building a Classic Fireplace Mantel from Stock Materials by Steve Penbethy, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 088740653X.

Review: March 20, 1999—Building the classic mantel…

This book cleared up a lot of questions I had about building a mantel. Written clearly so that most anyone could understand the sequence to get a very professional job. This was money well spent.

Review: September 3, 1998—Detailed pictures every step of the way…

We just completed our fireplace mantel construction using the techniques outlined in this book, and I must say I'm thrilled with the outcome. A detailed layout guideline, what to measure and how, and what to buy made the project come together more effectively. Although a fairly complete woodworking shop will be needed to complete your project, the instructions and close-up pictures will aid even a novice in reaching the ultimate goal of an attractive centerpiece of the home to be admired for years to come.

Copyright © 1999 & 2005 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.
Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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