How to Replace a Fireplace Mantel

A fireplace mantel.
  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 350-500
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Prefabricated fireplace mantle
2x2 inch ledger board
Drill with masonry bit
Lag sleeves and bolts
Hammer and nails
Pry bar or Crowbar

Replacing an older or outdated fireplace mantel can update the look of the entire room. You can expect to complete this project in a few hours, but the pleasure you'll get from your new mantel will last for years to come. Here's how to replace your fireplace mantel in a few easy steps.

Step 1 - Remove the Old Fireplace Mantel

Using a pry bar or crowbar, gently pry the mantel from the bricks or wall behind it. Most of the time fireplace mantels are held in place with glue and wooden pegs; therefore, proceed slowly to avoid cracking or damaging the bricks or wall to which the mantel is attached.

Step 2 - Measure

Next, measure the width and the depth of the old mantel with your tape measure. These measurements will be used to determine the measurements of your new mantel. If you are planning on installing a surround mantel or wrap-around mantel, make sure to adjust your measurements accordingly.

Step 3 - Purchase a New Fireplace Mantel

When purchasing your new fireplace mantel, be sure to get a mantel that is as close in size to the original mantel as possible. If you will be replacing your old mantel with a surround or wraparound-type fireplace mantel, make sure that the width clearance of the surrounding area is about 3 to 4 inches wider than the fireplace opening.

Step 4 - Attach the Support Ledger

A mantel on a fireplace.

Next, measure the width of the fireplace opening, and cut a 2x2 inch piece of ledger board to match. Place the support ledger at the desired height and level it. Drill pilot holes in the support ledger board all the way through into the brick or stone. Insert the lag sleeves into the ledger board and screw in the lag screws with your drill or electric screwdriver.

Step 5 - Prepare the New Mantel

Once you have attached the support ledger brace board, place the mantel up against the brick supports or support wall. Next, align the new mantel so that it is centered on the support wall and the fireplace opening, and to where it rests upon the support ledger board.

Step 6 - Attach the Mantel to the Support Ledger Board

After you have properly aligned the mantel with the support ledger board and fireplace opening, nail the mantel directly to the ledger board.

Step 7 - Secure the Mantel

Follow the manufacturer’s instruction for attaching the mantel to the support bricks or support wall. This usually involves either glue and pegs or lag bolts and sleeves. Before securing the mantel to the support bricks or support wall, check again and make sure the mantel is level. If not, adjust the support ledger board until it is.