Repairing a Fireplace Mantel: The Bare Necessities

A fireplace mantel can be a joy to have and a very useful attribute to have for the cold winters. However, there are times when you need to repair or replace the fireplace mantel for a number of reasons. Hence, there are some considerations before you begin the process and this would be deemed as the bare necessities.

Repair Scratches
The only known way of “removing” the scratch is to re-surface the entire piece, which is impractical and costly. Scratches can also be removed in an alternate method. For starters, heat the surface with a propane torch and place a bar of paraffin wax once it is extremely hot. Move the wax back and forth such that it will melt into the scratch.  Let it dry completely, removing the excess wax carefully.  This will visibly remove the scratch, and can be improved with some buffing.

Repair Chips
A piece of chipped marble is not uncommon due to the fragile nature of marble. To repair this, place a small amount of polyester adhesive on a working board. Use a suitable color kit to create a color mix with the adhesive that matches the marble color and apply it to the chipped edge. Spread and smoothen the mix. You can do the same to fill in large chips not on the edges.

Polish Edges
The quickest way to polish marble or granite edges is to utilize a polishing system with a set of 6 different discs. When polishing edges, avoid going over 2,500 rpm on a variable speed grinder. Since different manufacturers specify different ratings, check the RPM ratings of the grinder that you are using.  It is slightly different for polishing stones. It is important that you wear goggles to protect your eyes from flying dust and marble particles. Start with a grit on the grinder of around 80 and work your way to grinding the rough surface to a smooth finish. Increase the grit wheels, buffing the stone for some minutes until you get the desired amount of polish. Darker colors like green and black are harder to polish and hence should not be rubbed when polishing.

Replacing the Mantel

In extreme cases, you may want to replace the mantel itself. This is a last resort and is a little complicated, depending on the style of the fire mantel. Before starting off, make sure that you have a Metal measuring tape, prebuilt mantel, a 2 x 2-inch ledger board, a Level, a Drill with masonry bit, a Lag sleeves and bolts, Hammer and nails. You can start by systematically removing the old mantel and replacing it with the new one. Removing the old one is not hard because they are usually stuck to the wall by means of a strong adhesive. Place the new one over the brick support that was supporting the old mantel. On the new mantel, level the ledger board at the height desired and drill through the wood into the brick with a mortar bit. Secure the new mantel directly to the ledger board with nails.