How To Protect Your Fireplace Mantel

Your fireplace mantel may have been chosen for its good looks, but it needs to be protected from the fire it frames. General wear and tear may also compromise your mantel's safety. 

Fireplace Mantel Safety

It is essential to consider safety when you are installing your mantel. The mantel will come with comprehensive instructions, which you should not deviate from. If you are installing a stove with a mantel over, check local building and fire codes for their requirements and clearance. Combustible materials have to be kept a certain distance from the fire itself. Stoves in particular, generate intense heat and should be installed with caution.

Make sure that you also protect yourself when installing any type of fireplace or stove. Stone mantels can be heavy, and should not be lifted by one person.

Mantel Maintenance

Maintaining your fireplace mantel will preserve its appearance and will ensure that it lasts longer. The methods you use to maintain the mantel will depend on the material it is made from. For example, for a fireplace stone mantel, stone soap is available which will not damage the surface of the stone. Washing it regularly will protect the mantel from stains caused by soot and smoke from the fire. Scrubbing the mantel delicately every month will make a difference, but take care not to use a wire brush that is too abrasive in case you cause more damage than you prevent.

To protect a wood fireplace mantel, use a treatment that is specifically designed for the purpose. Wood can fade with age and the adverse effects of a smoky environment, so ensure that the mantel has bee sealed. Do not place coffee cups and wine glasses on top of the fireplace mantel shelf, as glasses and cups can leave an unsightly ring which can be difficult to remove.

Protecting Your Mantel’s Decor

To protect the look of your stone fireplace mantel, seal the stone with a bespoke sealant so that dust, soot and grime can be wiped easily from the surface of the mantel without the need for intense scrubbing.

If you have a wood fireplace mantel, polishing it regularly will give it an attractive shine, and protect the wood from the elements. For both wooden and brick fireplaces, you can buy paints that create a barrier between the wood and the elements. As with most painting jobs, the surface must be scrupulously clean and free from debris. If possible, choose a paint that does not require a primer. It’s best to apply the paint with a brush rather than a roller for brick and wood, as both substances have their own grains and indentations which need to be fully covered for a high quality finish.