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This next week will mark our 5 year anniversary for living in our home. I love that we have been able to put down roots with our kids. It is the longest we have lived anywhere after having kids. Second longest in our marriage when we lived in a home for about 8 years pre kids. So this foreclosure has been shown lots of love to fix up a bunch of cosmetic things like the fireplace mantel.
About a year and a half ago, I was just done with the oversized fireplace and dated style. It was about 1.5-2 feet taller than it should have been for the space. Yes, it was literally ridiculously tall and I’m pretty sure should have had the sides sitting directly on the flooring but the production home builder saved some money by adding this gem to an elevated fireplace instead of creating one specifically for this type of hearth. SIIIIGGGHHH. But the good news is this monstrosity was probably just one more reason that buyers were scared off from buying the foreclosure and it waited around for us to purchase it after it had sat around 3 years.
Here it is several years ago… blaaaahhhhhhh
For the new mantel, I wanted a simple design that wouldn’t take up much space but would go with a future update in our kitchen and match our newly refinished stairs (see – Steps to Makeover Stairs On A Budget). Making anything fancier than this simple fireplace mantel surround was a no go for this gal. I do not have the greatest finish carpentry skills – I can cut boards and screw them together but when I try to match them up sometimes they end up like this…
Um, yea, that didn’t quite line up. Thank goodness for wood putty. lol
So first things first, you’re going to need a plan. For this mantel, I used 1.5 inch x 1.5 inch boards for the interior of the mantel surround and 2 inch x 8 inch boards for the exterior part. I used wood screws for fastening it together and to the wall. Depending on the width of the wood you are using will determine the size of screws you will need. I had to use screws that were long enough to go through the board size and into the other board or wall. TIP: The size of the Common Measurement is not the actual measurement (except for length). This is the measurement before the board is milled. Check out this chart for the standard actual measurement verses actual sizes.
Here is a list of tools you will need…
Electric Screwdriver & Bits
Here is a list of materials you will need to create this simple fireplace surround…
Lumber: 2 inch x 8 inch boards for the exterior of fireplace mantel. First I had to measure the height and width of the exterior part of the bricks plus the width of the boards on each end. For my project that meant I needed 2 boards that are 36″ and 1 board for the top at 61″
Lumber: 1.5 inch x 1.5 inch boards for interior of the surround. This was easier to figure out because I only needed to measure the height and width of the bricks.
Fasteners – to attach boards together and mantel to wall studs
Stain & Foam Brush – to stain wood before cutting & assembly
Wood Putty – to seal gaps and cover screw locations
Sandpaper – to smooth out rough spots
Steps to take…
- Remove the old fireplace mantel. Ours wasn’t anchored correctly so it was super easy to remove. (There are positive things about a cheap builder!)
- Stain or paint the boards. Some people might want to do this after cutting the boards, but I prefer to go ahead and get this done especially if I know I’ll be using all the lumber and their won’t be much in the way of scraps.
- Measure the board lengths you will need and add the width of the board for the exterior boards as needed.
- Measure that again and add all that again; just in case you missed something.
- Measure it again. Ok ok, I’m kidding.
- Cut the boards to the lengths depending on the size of your fireplace. Where two boards are meeting up cut these ends at a 45degree angle so these will match up. It might not be perfect but if it’s close enough you can hide the mistake with puddy.
- Assemble the exterior boards in place. a. Attach the side boards to the wall and next to the bricks making sure to use your level to make sure it is perpendicular. b. Attached the top board to the side boards and wall studs.
- Assemble the interior boards in place. a. Before fastening the interior boards, assemble them inside the already assembled exterior boards to make sure you don’t need to cut the lengths a little to get them to fit. b. Attach the interior side boards to the exterior boards placing them as close to the facing of the bricks as possible. The interior boards are to cover the gaps between the exterior boards and the bricks; plus it gives it a more finished look. b. Attach the top board to the sides and top boards.
- Use wood putty to hide any screws drilled into the wood pieces and any big gaps where the boards meet.
- Touch up any stain or paints.
- You did it! Get some coffee or tea; then sit and enjoy your new mantel!
TIPS & HINTS
This project took me way longer than I thought it would. That’s mainly because I measured things wrong. oops! SO I had to make two trips to the hardware store for that. Then I thought I had the screws that I needed but … NOPE. Back to the hardware store. At the end of this makeover, and with the boards not matching up, I had to … you guessed it… go back to the store. whewww! Luckily, I had all of the tools and other supplies. So this is a great example of why having a plan and a list of supplies and tools needed ahead of the project start is important! I would have saved myself at least 3 hours and a headache or two. ha!
I am so happy with how our fireplace looks now. Plus, my husband is happy that his ginormous TV can fit over our fireplace and the flow of our furniture makes a lot more sense with all the entrances into this room. I’m just glad the height of the mantel isn’t taller than my head now. Let me know if you try out this simple and easy to make fireplace mantel.
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