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Types of Fireplace Mantels

MantelFireplace mantels not only decorate an otherwise ordinary looking fireplace, but they also serve a functional purpose. You can easily display knick knacks, family photos and other valuables representing the past. When you have a place to show off your family heirlooms, you don’t need a separate shelf, which helps you conserve space in a small room.

These mantels come in a wide range of styles, ranging from rustic and natural to contemporary and elegant. When choosing a fireplace mantel, it helps to know what’s available and the features of each type.

Fireplace Mantel Materials

There are several types of materials used in constructing fireplace mantels.

  • Wood—Most fireplace mantels are made from wood as it’s a material builders can easily work with. It’s also the most affordable material. Unlike stone mantels, you paint or stain wood mantels. What’s more, wood can be carved and manipulated to make various styles and shapes. Wood mantels come in oak, cherry, cedar and in other hardwoods.
  • Brick—Brick mantels are ideal for creating different looks. The kind of appearance you want to create depends on the brick colour and type of brick. Because it’s exceptionally heavy, a brick mantel needs additional support.
  • Tile—You can find tile in a wide range of finishes, colours and styles. To make a tile mantle look contemporary, don’t include shelves.
  • Stone and rock—These mantels continue to be popular as these materials are especially resilient to damage. For a more natural appearance, use cultured stone. Stone options include river rock, granite, limestone, concrete and others.
  • Marble—For a rich, elegant look, use marble mantels. Because this material is extremely hard, it looks best in a formal room. Marble is known for its longevity and durability.
  • Metal—A metal mantel can look either contemporary or historical, such as a Victorian style that’s finished with hand-rubbed gold.

Considerations and Warnings

  • Besides marble, don’t choose granite, slate or limestone if you’re looking for a pastoral or a natural look.
  • Antique mantels are typically too large for new fireplaces because antique fireplaces were much bigger than contemporary fireplaces. Therefore, you’ll need to decide how much of your mantel needs trimming so that it fits correctly. Be sure that any alterations you make won’t compromise on the appearance you want to depict.
  • Consider how much wall space you have around and above your fireplace.
  • Wood mantels need sufficient clearance from combustible items on their sides and top.

The Finishing Store has been providing high quality home furnishings, including mantels, mouldings, flooring, closets, stairs and windows for Victorian and Nanaimo residents for more than 60 years. Please contact us for all your finishing needs.


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