How to Add a Mantel to Your Stone Fireplace

What You'll Need
Plywood Mantel, either AA or AB
Table saw
Miter saw
Tape measure
Woodworkers glue
Wood molding
Wood stain
Mineral spirits
Finishing nails
Pin nailer and compressor

Knowing how to add a mantel to your stone fireplace will give your wonderful home addition an even cozier feeling. Mantels provide that rustic homey atmosphere, while also adding space for photographs, knick knacks and those special keepsakes. Although mantels can be purchased and added to a stone fireplace, building these easy, customized additions can save money as well as adding an additional decorative element to the home.

Step 1, Construction of the Mantel

Using the plywood with the finished side out, cut a piece approximately 42 inches wide by at least 8 to 10 inches deep, depending on the size of mantle desired. This piece will serve as the top of the mantle shelf. Next, cut an additional piece 40-by-6 inches and miter each 6 inch edge 45 degrees. Cut an additional two 9-1/4-6 inch pieces, and miter each of these ends 45 degrees as well. Using either finishing nails and a hammer, or a pin nailer and compressor, glue and nail these pieces together to form the mantel skirt. Place the top of the mantel on the skirt and then nail and glue these pieces together.

Step 2, Add Molding

To the top edge of the mantel shelf add a ¾ inch thick bull nose, baseboard or other molding that has been mitered at both ends. Continue the molding around the sides of the mantel top, cutting these pieces so that they are flush with the wall against which the mantle rests. Using either hammer and nails or the nail gun, glue and nail these pieces in place.

Step 3, Apply Finish to Mantel

 Mantels added to a stone fireplace can be painted to match the home’s painting décor or stained and varnished to provide a more cozy and rustic look.  If painting, wooden mantels must be primed with primmer paint for the best results. Allow primer to dry before applying the first of several coats of oil-based paint or enamel paint. When satisfied that first coat of paint is dry, sand lightly and apply finish coat.

Mantels finished with stain and varnish may require more work, coatings and drying time, but are well worth the effort for the lustrous finish they provide. To begin, sand all wooden surfaces with 100 grit sandpaper and wipe clean with a cloth soaked in mineral spirits. Allow to dry thoroughly before applying wood stain. Apply one or several coats of stain, depending on shade of wood desired. Next, apply a 25/75% solution of varnish and mineral spirits to the mantel. Allow to dry thoroughly and sand lightly with 220 grit sandpaper. Wipe with a dry cloth to remove dust. Apply a 50/50% coat of varnish and mineral spirits to the mantel. When dried thoroughly, sand with 220 grit sandpaper. Finally, apply a 100% solution of varnish to the mantel, allow to dry thoroughly and rub out with 0000 grade fine steel wool. For a deeper shine and added beauty, apply hard floor wax and rub out with a soft cloth to a high sheen.