Fireplaces look more complete with the decorative addition of a mantel or a surround. However, before you get to work installing a fireplace mantel or surround, there are a few things you should know.
There is a lot of prep work to do before you can begin installation. It's often best to start by familiarizing yourself with the different types of mantels, surrounds, and shelves that are available for fireplaces. Once you have determined which look is right for your home, then you can begin to develop a plan.
It's All in the Measurements
Accurate measurements of your fireplace are needed to ensure that the fireplace mantel fits properly. Here's some helpful advice on obtaining the correct measurements.
There are three key measurements needed to determine the appropriate size of a fireplace mantel or surround:
- Fireplace Opening Height: Determine the height of the fireplace opening.
- Fireplace Mantel Width: Carefully measure the width of this same space.
- Fireplace Depth: This is the distance of the facing materials, which is a non-combustible material like brick or tile that juts out from the point of installation.
Working with the Numbers
With the above measurements in hand, you can begin to determine what the measurements of your fireplace mantel or surround should be with a few simple calculations. These calculations vary by manufacturer, but generally involve adding or subtracting a few inches to establish a perfect-fitting mantel.
The purpose of these calculations is to ensure that the fireplace mantel or surround overlaps the facing material to create a consistent and finished look.
Other Measurements to Consider
Whether you are working with a kit or building the fireplace mantel on your own, there are a few additional measurements to incorporate into your plan.
- Fireplace mantel restrictions: Often times there are windows or doors that ultimately restrict the length or height of a fireplace mantel or shelf. It's best to know these measurements before you get too far in the installation process.
- The size of the hearth: The width of the overall unit also is important to ensure a balanced look.