There are tons of DIY mantel ideas out there, including this easy and simple DIY mantel. You can even build an awesome faux mantel if you don’t have a functional fireplace. We didn’t opt for any of those options because we were dreaming of a solid, live-edge mantel. We found the perfect solid walnut live-edge mantel on Hayneedle.com. We were nervous about trying to install it, especially after it arrived and we felt how HEAVY it is. But we went for it and were so, so surprised by how easy it was to install ourselves!
So, if you have been wondering how to install a wood mantel, you have come to the right place!
Note that our fireplace is a masonry or brick fireplace, covered with cement board and a concrete overlay. If you have a fireplace surround that is constructed with wood beams, you would not want to follow this tutorial (you would use a method involving locating the studs and using them to anchor your mantel).
How to Install a Wood Mantel on a Masonry Fireplace
by Tasha of Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body
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Materials and tools needed:
- Wood mantle (we used this Walnut Mantle)
- Electric drill with depth gauge
- Jig Saw with metal cutting blade
- Large masonry drill bit (3/4″ x 12″ to correspond with the diameter of the steel stakes we used)
- 18 inch round steel stakes
- Fast set anchoring adhesive
- Scrap plywood
- Circular saw
1) Cut a scrap piece of plywood down to the size of the back of your solid wood mantel. This will be used as a template board for the rest of the project.
2) Drill pilot holes in the template board to correspond with where you want your steel stakes to support your mantel. Be mindful of where your fireplace flue begins–you don’t want to drill into it. That is why our stakes were placed so close to the outer edges of the mantel.
3) Temporarily attach your template board to your fireplace using appropriate masonry screws. Be sure to check for level.
4) Drill holes in your fireplace, using the holes in your template as your guide. Use the depth gauge on your drill to be sure you drill deeply enough. We wanted our stakes to sit 6″ deep behind the surface, so we set the depth gauge appropriately. After your holes are drilled, remove the template board.
5) Squeeze a generous amount of fast set anchoring adhesive into one hole at a time being sure to follow the instructions on the package. Place your steel stake in. Our holes were a little bit larger than the stakes, so we checked for level and used some scrap wood to support the bottom of the stakes while the adhesive cured.
6) While your adhesive is curing, attach the template to the back of your mantel and drill holes to correspond with the length of your stakes (you will have to trim them down in the next step–we trimmed ours down to 5″ long).
6) Once your adhesive has fully cured, trim your steel stakes to whatever length you choose using a Jig Saw and metal cutting blade. We cut ours down to 5″ long.
7) Slide your mantel onto the stakes. This is a two person job 🙂
That’s it! So, so, so much easier than we expected. Using the template is the key to keeping everything lined up perfectly. It worked like a charm. Check out the final result. And yes, if you are wondering, that AWESOME barn door style sliding fireplace screen is another DIY project of ours–you can check out the full tutorial for it by clicking here.
If you love this project, be sure to pin it for later! I would love for you to head over to my blog, Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body, to check out our other DIY home improvement and thrifty home decor projects, like how we made that awesome DIY barn door style, sliding fireplace screen or how we created a painted our kitchen cabinets without sanding or priming (and they are still holding up perfectly 2 years later). You will also love seeing how we made the DIY bentwood pendant light you see in our family room in the photos above using quilting hoops.