It’s no secret that the addition of a floating wooden mantel can bring character and style to any living or dining room. Commonly sitting above a fireplace, the mantel provides a central feature that is homely in nature and offers the chance to create an arrangement very similar to shelves. If you need any more persuasion for investing in a wooden mantel, read this blog here first! Anyway, whilst mantels are becoming increasingly popular, tutorials and guides on the installation process is still scarce. So, not only do we sell floating mantels, but we wanted to provide a guide that you can use for the effective installation of wooden floating mantels. Saying that, a trained professional to assess the potential installation is advised first so a more detailed picture can be presented.
What you’ll need:
- Wooden beam
- Skilsaw (cut beam to correct length)
- Drill and drill bits
- Lag Bolts and Shield Set
- Caulk and Caulking Gun
- Spirit Level
Determine The Correct Height of your Mantel
There are several ways to install your wooden mantel and we will cover these within this blog. Regardless of the process chosen, its firstly important to determine the height of your mantel. If you are placing the mantel above an open fireplace or wood burner, you will need to consider some guidelines which inform you of the minimum distance that the mantel can be placed for safety reasons which you can read here. (https://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/all-codes-and-standards/list-of-codes-and-standards/detail?code=211)
Slide over Bolts Method
Probably the most common method used for installing wooden beam mantels due to the easy fitting and sturdy structure that it provides. The method uses lag bolts that are fixed to the stud walls behind the masonry wall for the mantel to slide onto.
- To begin with, you need to locate the studs that are behind the wall which can be done with an electronic stud finder.
- You’ll then need to mark where your lag bolts will be installed into the studs. To do this correctly, in line with each of the studs, measure the correct height from the ground and mark this.
- Now you can drive ½ inch lag bolts into each of the studs that will support the length of the mantel. Ideally, you’ll want the bolts to drive completely through the studs and then have 2/3rds left to support the mantel.
- Cut the ends off the bolts
- Place the mantel against the lag bolts and mark these positions. This will be where the bolts slot into the mantel and hold the structure in place. Drill the mantel where the markers are.
- Just before sliding the mantel into place, apply construction adhesive into the holes and at the back of the mantel. It can now be slotted into place.
- The joint between the wall and the mantel can now be sealed using caulk.
It might be that you are unable to find the studs in the wall. Alternatively, you can use an anchored masonry technique, but the wall will need to be at least 4 inches thick in order to fully support the weight. Steps 3-6 can then be repeated for this method.
Backer Board Method
This method can be used if the fireplace has not been fully installed yet and therefore you have some room to attach the backer board flush with the masonry wall. Actually, whilst this method can only be utilised if the complete fireplace has been fitted, it can be a much simpler process and one that ensures the upmost strength and durability.
- To begin with, you'll want to cut your backer board. Your backer board needs to be at least the same width as your mantel and higher than the height of your mantel. Also you need to ensure that the thickness of the backer board is equal to the thickness of the masonry.
- This backer board will now need to be attached to as many studs as possible. For each stud, two lag bolts will need to be fixed from the front driving through to the studs. Make sure to pre drill the holes which will ensure that the bolt will sit flush with the backer board. These bolts will need to be 5 or 6 inches.
- Next, you'll want to clamp your mantel onto the backer board. To do this effectively, pre-drill holes in the backer board and use these to fix the lag bolts in place, making sure that 2/3rds of the lag bolt are hanging out to support the mantel. Ideally, you'll want to replicate the same amount of lag bolts you used to fix the backer board to the studs, to fix the mantel to the backer boards. Mark where the lag bolts rest against the mantel and pre-drill holes so that the mantel can slot into place with the bolts supporting its weight.
Your mantel is now installed using this method and the complete fireplace installation can now be completed.
These two methods are ones that we would highly recommend to ensure a complete and robust mantel structure that adds much character to your room. Make sure to read these steps carefully and seeking a professionals advice is highly recommended.