Attach a Mantel to a Brick Fireplace Hearth

A fireplace is often the centerpiece of a living room. Installing a mantel can help frame the fireplace while adding an architectural and decorative element to your home. With the correct tools and materials, a mantel can be easily attached to your brick fireplace hearth. A mantel can be attached by nailing it to baseboards, or with cleats if you have a mantel that cannot be nailed through.

Assemble the mantel. Sand, prime and put an initial coat of stain or paint on the mantel. Allow it to dry.

Measure and mark the height and center point of the mantel on the wall if you are installing a hanging mantel. Mantels are typically hung 60 inches high. Hold a board onto the wall where the mantel will hang, make sure it is level and trace a line where the top of the mantel will be. Stand your mantel up, position it in its proper place, check to see if it is level and trace the outline on the wall if you are installing a mantel with legs. Place shims underneath to level uneven standing mantels.

Measure and cut a baseboard or a cleat using a 2-by-4 to fit on the top, inside of the mantel. Make a cleat by ripping a 2-by-4 or a 2-by-6 lengthwise down the middle and with your table saw blade set at a 45-degree angle. This will create a locking mechanism for hanging the mantel on the wall.

Mark where the baseboard or cleat will go on the wall. Measure down from your mantel line to account for the thickness of the top mantel board. For cleats, hold the cleat (both halves of the 2-by-4 that was cut at a 45-degree angle) to the wall. Check it with a level and trace a line along the bottom edge of the cleat.

Screw either the baseboard or the bottom half of the cleat to the wall. Start by pre-drilling holes. Use a masonry drill bit with a carbide tip if screwing into a brick wall. Attach with wood screws if you are screwing into a studded wall and concrete screws if you are screwing into brick. The cleat attaches with the flat side against the wall, and the angle side facing up. The low end of the angle goes towards the wall. Attach the top half of the cleat to the top, inside of the mantel. This should be positioned with the angle side facing down and so the high end of the angle will go towards the wall and create a perfect fit with bottom half of the cleat on the wall.

Vertical baseboards can also be used on the inside of the legs of standing mantels to help create an even more secure fit against the wall.

Slide the mantel onto the cleats or baseboard. Nail finish nails through the mantel and into the baseboards if you are using that method. Make sure the mantel fits snugly against the wall. Add a final coat of stain or paint.


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