Getting the Most from Your Mantel

Getting the Most from Your Mantel

We’ve been designing, building and installing mantels for over 30 years, so we know the difference the right mantel can make to your home.


A Burning Desire for Change

The fireplace is often the centre of attention in a room, so it’s important that the fireplace surround is done properly. After all, without a mantel, a fireplace is just a brick-lined hole in the wall – and nobody wants that. The single biggest reason we see people wanting to revisit the treatment around their fireplace is that they are renovating. They may want to cover the brick façade, or simply update the look. But if you’re tempted to just tear out the fireplace, remember – that’s the most expensive option of all. Removing bricks and chimneys is major household surgery.


Mantels – Many Choices

Although there are standard mantels available that can be adapted to different sizes, a custom mantel gives you the greatest flexibility. If you have seen something you like in a magazine, or just have a sketch in hand, we can recreate the design to fit your space. Whether modern or craftsman, tudor or colonial, the style of your fireplace surround can anchor the whole room. As for materials, 75% of the mantels we sell are painted, so they can be made from solid wood or from Ultralight MDF, an economical option that takes paint beautifully. If you opt for a clear finish, we can also provide them in virtually any wood species and stain colour to match your hardwood floor, house trim, or other furnishings.


Mantels – No Choice

You should be aware that there are significant building code requirements which apply to fireplace mantels. It’s not surprising when you remember that most mantels are built of flammable material. That’s also why stone or ceramic tile is often installed to surround the opening of the fireplace, whether it be gas or wood burning. Electric fireplaces require less clearance. The building code has very specific limits on the amount the mantel can project from the wall, and how close the mantel can be to the opening. In either case, we’re ready to help make sure you get a solution that will keep both you and the building inspector happy.


Secret Storage Weapon

If you’re going to update your mantle, you should think about whether you also want to add storage in the new design. Vertical pillars can provide hidden or visible shelf space, and the whole unit can include integrated bookshelves and cupboards. A fireplace surround can be a very versatile form of built-in storage, and this is true in every decorative style.


No Fireplace? No Problem

Maybe you don’t even have a fireplace – just fireplace envy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy having a mantle. Instead of using a ready-made board or box as a floating shelf on a blank wall, consider a mantle treatment instead. You can add moldings or brackets (corbels) to make a much richer statement, and we can custom make it to a dimension that suits your space.