How to Build a Fireplace Beam Mantel

What You'll Need
Wood Beam
Stud Finder
Mounting Brackets
Wood Sealer

One great way to give your fireplace a drastic facelift is by building your own beam mantel. A fireplace mantel has always been something that added a touch of character to the overall atmosphere. A wooden beam mantel can give a room great warmth, especially if the fireplace is wrapped in stone or brick. If you are looking at a new mantel for your fireplace, here are some steps to take to build your own out of a wooden beam.

Step 1: Locate Suitable Wooden Beam

The key to success with a fireplace mantel is selecting the right wooden beam. This beam should have some rustic appeal, but also be flat on at least one side for placing pictures and other items. These beams can be located in many salvage yards or home centers.

Step 2: Cut Beam to Size

Measure the area where you want to mount the fireplace mantel and transfer that measurement to the beam. Cut the beam to length with a circular saw or a chain saw. 

Step 3: Cut Notch in Back of Beam

In order to securely fasten the beam to the fireplace facade you will need to cut a notch in the back of the beam. This beam should run the length of the beam and cut in the middle of the wood. Leave 6 inches on either side of the notch on both ends. 

Step 4: Add Stain 

Once the cuts are completed, use some sandpaper and smooth it out a little. This will get rid of any slivers, or large pieces of wood that can cause injury to hands and fingers. Clean the beam off with a rag and start to apply the stain of your choice. The beam will need to have at least two coats of stain for a deep, rich look. 

Step 5: Attach Mounting Strip

Cut a piece of scrap wood to the same size as the notch that you cut into the beam. Fasten this scrap of wood to the fireplace area about 5 1/2 feet from the top of the hearth. Use concrete anchors to hold this scrap piece of wood securely to the wall. Make sure it is level before attaching with the screws. 

Step 6: Attach Mounting Brackets

Set the mounting brackets just below where the bottom of the mantle will be positioned. Use a level to make sure that the mounting brackets will be at the right height so the mantel will be level when it is installed. Screw the brackets into the wall with concrete anchors. 

Step 7: Install Wooden Beam Mantel

Spread some wood glue on the notch in the back of the beam. Lift it up into position and set it on the scrap piece of wood. Hold it to the wood and let the glue set up. Screw the mounting bracket to the bottom of the wood beam. 

Step 8: Clean and Decorate

Once the wood beam mantel is installed you can then start to decorate it. Wipe it off with a damp rag and then start to put your pictures, vases, and other decorations onto the mantel.