As the temperature drops, nothing beats the thrill of curling up in front of a warm, crackling fireplace.
While the fireplace itself may be the focal point of your living room, the mantle adds the finishing touch.
However, instead of opting for a run-of-the-mill mantel, why not use a reclaimed wood mantel, brimming with character, for your fireplace?
A reclaimed wood mantel will add rustic charm to your home while portraying a unique history and character.
Besides, using a mantel made from reclaimed wood is an excellent way to contribute to sustainable building as it helps conserve forests. It also reduces the amount of waste wood that gets into landfills.
In the rest of this guide, I’ll discuss the different designs, types, and styles of fireplace mantelpieces. I’ll also discuss how to use reclaimed wood fireplace mantels.
Let’s get started!
Fireplace mantelpieces are designed in two primary ways:
- A ‘floating’ mantel or mantel ‘shelf’
- A mantel as part of a fireplace surround
A ‘floating’ mantel, also known as a mantel ‘shelf,’ is a standalone option that is not part of the fireplace surround.
Instead of being attached to the wall with visible supports or brackets, a mantel ‘shelf’ appears to be floating above a fireplace opening. A reclaimed wood fireplace mantel shelf is common in many homes due to its rustic patina.
Floating mantels are popular in houses with limited space. These mantelpieces offer a minimalist, modern, and stylish appearance. Thus, if you’re a minimalist, you’d enjoy how a floating shelf fits in with the rest of your décor.
Floating mantels are highly versatile – they can be made from wood, stone, concrete, antique, and cast stone.
These mantels can be customized to fit any style or décor. For instance, a reclaimed wood floating mantel adds warmth and character to a traditional or farmhouse-style living room.
On the other hand, a sleek, polished concrete mantel gives an industrial or contemporary touch to a modern house.
If you go for a floating mantel, ensure it’s securely anchored to the wall to prevent it from falling.
Overall, a floating mantel is your go-to option if you want to finish your fireplace on a tight budget.
A mantelpiece that’s part of the fireplace surround provides a more traditional appearance to any living space. The mantel will usually have corbels or columns attached to the sides.
These mantels are usually made from wood, stone, cast stone, and other materials.
Mantel surrounds are ideal for large rooms with plenty of space because they cover large portions of the walls. Thus, you need sufficient space, not only for the mantel surround but also for the eyes to wander freely and make the fireplace a center of attraction.
Because it takes up a lot of space, a mantel surround serves as a focal point in the room. It adds style and value to a home.
To maximize the aesthetic appeal of a mantel surround, you can use the empty spaces to display decorative items like vases, candles, or photographs. You can also use it to hang stockings during the holiday season!
There are two key things to consider when choosing a fireplace mantel surround:
- The home’s style and aesthetic: While a reclaimed wood mantel is ideal for a home with classic or rustic décor, a sleek, modern concrete mantel surround is suitable for a contemporary space.
- Size and scale: The fireplace mantel surround must be proportionate to your room and fireplace. An oversized or undersized mantel will appear awkward and out of place.
The following are some types and styles of fireplace mantelpieces:
Victorian-style mantels typically feature ornate designs with intricate carvings and complex shapes. It’s one of the reclaimed wood fireplace mantel ideas loved by many.
They are made of hardwood, marble, or granite and come in various colors and finishes.
Victorian-style mantels are expensive due to their intricate and ornate carvings with expensive finishing.
Rustic mantels offer a more traditional, cozy look to fireplaces.
They are usually made from reclaimed wood and come in various finishes, including dark stains and natural shades of brown.
This option usually uses a reclaimed wood mantel with corbels as decorative supports. They can also be customized with cast iron sculptures and other accents for a unique touch.
Choose an option finished with rough, distressed edges for a more rustic appearance.
The craftsman-style mantelpieces feature bold lines and simple geometric designs with clean finishes.
These mantels are usually made from solid wood or cast stone and come in different colors and finishes.
A crucial factor to consider when going for this option is the appearance of the bold lines on your fireplace. If you want to add a touch of drama, consider going for an unfinished option.
The mantel ties in nicely with other craftsman furniture like cabinets and end tables.
Contemporary mantelpieces have simple and modern designs that match almost any décor. They are usually made with smooth finishes from wood, metal, or concrete.
To add texture and character to your fireplace, consider getting one finished with a marble or granite top.
Overall, contemporary mantels are perfect for homes looking to achieve a modern look.
Distressed mantelpieces give a home a classical, vintage look.
They are usually made from reclaimed wood and come in shades of brown and gray.
To achieve the distressed appearance on your mantel, consider going for one with professionally-designed rough edges and imperfections.
A distressed mantel can be ideal for a weathered, lived-in appearance.
You can put reclaimed wood around a fireplace due to its versatility and natural rustic appearance.
Reclaimed wood is easy to work with, so installing it does not require a lot of construction or carpentry skills.
Moreover, reclaimed wood gives your fireplace a unique warmth and richness you won’t find in other mantel materials.
Here is the procedure to attach a reclaimed wood mantel to your fireplace:
First, you need to get the necessary tools for a seamless process. You’ll need the following:
- A drill/driver with bits for drilling and screwing
- Heavy-duty mantel mounting brackets
- Fasten Master Headlok Screws
- Mark the wall: Measure the size of your reclaimed wood mantel and mark the correct position on the wall. Make sure to level it with the fireplace.
- Attach mounting brackets: Use your drill/driver and screws to attach the mounting brackets to the wall.
- Secure the mantel: Slide the mantel over the mounting bracket and secure it with heavy-duty screws.
- Check stability: Give the mantel a gentle push to ensure it’s stable and secure.
Here is a video demonstrating the above process:
You can fireproof a wooden mantel by installing a fire-resistant barrier like a piece of tempered glass or metal sheet. In addition, you must install the mantel at a suitable clearance, at least 2 inches (51 mm) from the firebox.
Although you can use wood for a fireplace mantel, it’s worth noting that wood is combustible. Therefore, according to Fire Codes, you must observe a fireplace clearance of at least 2 inches (51 mm) from the firebox.
The disadvantages of reclaimed wood include the following:
- Limited supply.
- Inconsistencies in quality.
- It is expensive.
Reclaimed wood is not heat-resistant. Therefore, it must be installed at a safe clearance from the fireplace to prevent cracking.
The following is the procedure for making a mantel out of reclaimed wood:
First things first – get the necessary tools. You’ll need the following:
- Three pieces of reclaimed wood with different sizes.
- A measuring tape.
- Chop saw.
- A marking pen.
- A drill/driver.
- Nail gun.
- Wood glue.
- Measure the wood: Lay the largest piece of reclaimed wood on a table and measure the size you want using a tape measure. Mark the desired length.
- Cut the wood: Cut the wood using a chop saw according to the measurements and split it for the top and bottom pieces.
- Cut the sideway fittings: Cut sideway fittings from the other two pieces of wood.
- Apply glue: Apply glue on the sides of the main reclaimed wood to assemble the fitting pieces of wood.
- Assemble: Assemble the three pieces from the glued directions. Use a nail gun to hold them firmly.
- Secure: Secure the mantel on the wall using the attachment procedure detailed above.
- Check stability: Give the mantel a gentle push to ensure it’s stable and secure.
Your reclaimed wood mantel is now ready for use.
Here is a video demonstrating this process:
No matter which mantelpiece style you choose for your home, ensure it complements the rest of the décor and fits properly in your room.
A reclaimed wood mantel is ideal if you want an elegant, timeless look in your living room.
However, remember that reclaimed wood mantels are not fireproof and can crack or burn when exposed to direct fire or heat. Therefore, you must observe the necessary safety rules, like maintaining a fireplace clearance of at least 2 inches (51 mm).
Following the steps in this guide will help you install a reclaimed wood mantel to transform your home.
Due to the many factors to be considered, achieving a self-sustaining home is not a walk in the park. If you’re determined to attain this goal, here is an article detailing how to achieve a self-sustaining home.