How to Build Wooden Fireplace Surrounds

What You'll Need
Solid oak boards 1 x 8; 1 x 6; and 1 x 4
Solid oak mantle piece
1 x 10 board
1 x 8 board for the decorative effect
Crown molding
Finishing nails
1/2 inch screws
Hammer or nail gun
1/4 inch countersink drill bit
Wood filler
Wood glue
Masonry bit
Masonry screws
Circular or table saw

Nothing beats the sight of a fireplace in any room of your home, but it is the wooden fireplace surrounds that you build around fireplaces that really makes them stand out. An unsightly fireplace can be transformed with a little bit of work that even the novice carpenter can accomplish. In addition to being a source of heat in the room, the fireplace can also become the focal point of the decor.

Step 1 – Measure the Size of the Fireplace

Since most municipalities have specific regulations concerning the distance any wooden structure can be from the fire box in a fireplace, it is important that you check the building codes for your area. Measure this distance as well as the height and width of the fireplace. Write down the measurements and take them with you to the home improvement store where you intend to purchase the materials.

Step 2 – Begin Making the Sections for the Fireplace Surround

Saw out the boards you need for the sides of the fireplace surround. Cut 2 pieces each of the 1 x 4, 1 x 6 and 1 x 8 boards to the same measurement as the height of the fireplace.  Sand them with the sander until they are really smooth when you rub your hand over them.  Glue a piece of 1 x 4 on top of a piece of 1 x 6. Screw the pieces together with ½ inch screws, but do so from the back so that there won’t be any marks showing on the front of the surround. Repeat this for the other side with the remaining pair of 1 x 4 and 1 x 6 boards. Now, glue the sections you just made to the 1 x 8 boards.

Step 3 – Add the Crown Molding

Nail or glue crown molding on the sections. Do this on the sides where the boards are joined together. If you decide to nail them, use a nail gun and finishing nails because you can easily fill in the holes with wood filler before you paint the finished project.

Step 4 – Attach the Sides to the Wall

Determine how far out from the fireplace you want the sides to be. Mark the wall in this location. Use construction adhesive to glue the boards to the wall. With the masonry bit, drill two holes through the 1 x 8 board, about six inches from the top, and through the brick of the fireplace. Anchor the board in place with masonry screws. 

Step 5 – Make the Mantle

Cut the 1 x 10 board to fit the measurement between the two side pieces. Make sure that it fits snugly flat against the fireplace. Drill five holes along the top of this board, again making sure that the bit goes through the brick. Screw it in place with masonry screws.

Step 6 – Decorate the Front of the Surround Top

Draw a design on the 1 x 8 board and cut it out with the jigsaw. Use the sander to smooth this board and glue it to the 1 x 8 piece that you used as the backboard. It will cover up the holes you drilled to attach it to the fireplace.

Step 7 – Put the Mantle in Place

Drill ¼ inch holes in the mantle. Glue the mantle on to the surround and then screw it in place. Make sure you countersink the screws.

Step 8 – Finish the Wooden Fireplace Surround

Check over the surround to make sure there are no areas where you can see any imprint of nails or screws. If so, such as on the crown molding, use a small amount of wood filler on the tip of your finger and fill in the indentation. Wait for it to dry and paint or stain the surround to suit the décor of your room.