Design Question: installing a mantel shelf above an off-level fireplace


Old 08-29-05, 08:09 PM
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Design Question: installing a mantel shelf above an off-level fireplace

I'm in the middle of refacing a gas fireplace. The original simply had fieldstone floor to ceiling surrounding the firebox. I demoed the stone, built a raised hearth which I tiled with slate, and am now planning to install a mantel shelf and tile the surround.

Problem is the top of the firebox (and frame) is not level. Across a 5' span, it's off by nearly a 1/2 inch. Would it be better for the shelf to be parallel to the firebox or for it to be level? I assumed it would be more important for the shelf to be level since there would be items placed on it, but if I were to split the difference and make it 1/4 inch off level, it would still hold items and would be closer to parallel with the firebox.

Any thoughts? Thanks.

Here are the before and after photos:
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Old 09-03-05, 06:38 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Would you hang a painting "off-level" to match the box? Probably not... Same for the mantle. Hang it level - two wrongs don't make a right. If it's high enough above the firebox, the difference won't be too noticeable - and your collectible baseball collection won't roll off of it....
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