How to Attach a Wood Mantel to a Stone Fireplace

What You'll Need
Electric power drill
Wood screws
Finish head screws
Epoxy compound
Safety goggles
Plastic sheeting
Stud finder
Threaded studs
3/4 inch concrete drill bit
Carpenter's measuring tape

A mantel on any fireplace serves as both a practical shelf and a personalized centerpiece to your home's living room, and it makes a great addition to a stone fireplace that may not have originally come with one. Mantel options can be in wood, brick, stone, or other materials, though finely-finished wood is quite popular. The process of attaching one is fairly straightforward, despite the fact it may seem challenging at first. Gather the right tools and equipment, follow these basic guidelines, and you will have a beautiful wood mantel that will contrast with your stone fireplace.

Step 1 -- Decide Exact Location

Consult your local building codes for any specifications for installing a fireplace mantel. Most regulations require them to be attached and run horizontally at least 20 inches above the edge of your fireplace opening. Measure the length, width, and depth of the mantel, and make a note of each measurement where you will attach the mantel; this will improve accuracy and ensure the shelf will be completely straight. Also make sure that your wood mantel complies with all local fire code regulations. Locate and mark off with chalk where the fireplace flue is, so that you do not drill into this. Also do the same with a stud finder in the interior of the fireplace so that you avoid drilling into and damaging any studs as well.

Step 2 -- Drill Fireplace Holes

Drill a set of holes in the stone where you will attach the wood mantel. These should be spaced at least 10 to 12 inches away from the flue, and you will need 3 to 4 of them; this depends on the length of your wood mantel. Each hole should be drilled about 4 to 5 inches deep. Always wear safety goggles and cover any furniture to protect it from dust or flying debris that may be caused by drilling. Fill these with a high temperature epoxy compound, and quickly place each threaded stud into each hole. These threaded studs should measure approximately 3/4 inches in diameter and 7 to 8 inches long.

Step 3 -- Drill Mantel Holes

On the back on your wood mantel, use a 3/4-inch drill bit to drill holes that will match up with the studs you just installed in the stone fireplace. Also fill these holes with the same epoxy and quickly sink these into the studs sticking out from the fireplace. Press the wood mantel firmly against the stone, and allow the high temperature epoxy to cure for at least 24 hours. This method of studs in epoxy removes the need to use wood fasteners that can take away from the finish of a finely-crafted wood mantel. Use either wood screws or finish head screws to complete the mantel attachment. Clean off any dust from your new wood mantel with a wet cleaning rag and wipe dry. If needed, touch up any needed spots with matching wood stain.