Adding a fireplace is the perfect opportunity to create a visually striking focal point for your home while adding elegance and warmth to the space. The best way to achieve this welcoming and luxurious environment is with the right mantel.
A fireplace mantel can add sophistication to your living spaces without sacrificing functionality. However, fireplace mantels come in so many sizes, staples, and materials. So, finding the perfect one for your needs can be challenging.
Luckily, At CAPO Building Specialties, we have put together the ultimate fireplace mantel buyers guide to help you find the perfect model for your home!
What Is a Fireplace Mantel?
Fireplace mantels, mantelpieces, or chimneypieces are decorative structures that are installed above the fireplace opening to provide style and elegance.
They serve a functional purpose, as well as an aesthetic one. They fulfill the role of shelves or ledges above the fireplace while adding a visual focal point for your living areas.
The most important function of a fireplace mantel is to create a transition between your firebox and walls. This transition is essential to prevent heat damage on nearby items and accessories, and reduce the risk of fires.
Fireplace mantels act as barriers that redirect smoke and gasses up the chimney. Additionally, you can use your mantel to display decorative elements and accessories like artwork, mirrors, and collectibles.
These structures come in various sizes, shapes, designs, styles, and materials. Each one provides different benefits and advantages for each type of home architecture and design. From elaborate carvings and molding to unique decorative accents, you must choose the right one for your needs and taste.
Why You Should Consider Getting a Fireplace Mantel
Are you renovating your fireplace or adding a new one to your home? Considering a fireplace mantel is an important step to take.
A mantel might not be the most affordable addition to your home renewal project. Still, the benefits it offers are unmatched when it comes to looks and functionality.
Here are the advantages of adding a fireplace mantel to your existing fireplace:
Enhanced Interior Design
A brand-new fireplace mantel can create a unique focal point to enhance your home’s interior design while creating a welcoming and pleasant aesthetic. A fireplace mantel is the perfect opportunity to display your taste and personality.
For instance, you can customize it to your specific preferences by choosing the right material, engravings, and more. Alternatively, you can pick the perfect design that will create the best effect on your living areas like something rustic, modern, contemporary, or industrial.
Additionally, your fireplace mantel provides architectural character to your home. It can turn the most plain and basic design into a stunning room. A fireplace mantel should be a no-brainer if grandeur and elegance are important to you.
A Unique Way to Display Decorative Elements
As we mentioned before, a fireplace mantel creates the ideal environment to display your unique decorative elements. That’s something sure to make your home’s interior design stand out from the crowd. It will call the attention of every guest as soon as they step into your living space.
Fireplace mantels create a beautiful frame over your fireplace, which you can use to showcase collectibles and accessories like vases and candles. Some homeowners even create exceptional seasonal decorations on top of the fireplace mantels.
A Christmas mantel decoration might include garlands and figurines related to the season. On the other hand, Halloween fireplace mantels are full of pumpkins and scary elements. Then there’s also Thanksgiving, the 4th of July, and many other holidays that will give you the perfect excuse to decorate your fireplace mantel!
Practical Functionality for Your Fireplace
Many homeowners think fireplace mantels are just an expensive way to add elegance to their homes. However, there’s practical functionality in the design of fireplace mantels. This can help you take advantage of accessibility and more.
For example, a fireplace mantel can be used as a shelf to keep your everyday items within reach like remote controls or even a soundbar. Many homeowners also use their fireplace mantel shelves to store their book collections.
Adds Home Value
One of the main advantages of fireplace mantels is their incredible effect on your home’s resale value. The elegance and functionality these structures add can make your property more desirable for potential buyers. After all, houses with luxurious fireplaces are some of the most sought-after homes in the market.
A well-designed and durable fireplace mantel will catch the attention of potential buyers while adding a welcoming feel that everyone seeks in their homes. It also serves as a way to make your home stand out from the rest.
Living Areas More Welcoming and Warm
When paired with a functional wood-burning fireplace, a fireplace mantel can enhance the feeling of warmth and welcome in your living spaces. It’s the perfect area to enjoy gatherings with friends and family and create cherished memories.
Think about a Christmas Eve with your kids and spouse, sitting by the fire, enjoying and relaxing together.
Types of Fireplace Mantels
Like fireplaces themselves, fireplace mantels are usually made of various materials, including wood, metal, cast stone, and more. The material you choose for your mantel will determine its overall price and durability, as well as some added benefits you should be aware of to make a more informed purchase.
These are the most popular types of fireplace mantels:
Cast-Stone Fireplace Mantels
Cast-stone is the artificial version of stone-made fireplace mantels. Instead of using natural elements like granite or brownstone, cast stone is made of gray cement combined with natural gravel and colored with mineral pigments. This combination gives the impression of real stone at a fraction of the price.
Although it’s less durable than the real thing, cast-stone fireplace mantels are a perfect option for homeowners looking to add elegance to their properties. One of these models can complement and enhance your home’s interior design while offering a handful of benefits.
Even when cast stone is more affordable than stone or marble, you won’t notice the difference. Just like the more expensive materials, cast-stone fireplace mantels will help you increase your home’s visual appeal and overall resale value.
Wood Mantels for Fireplaces
Many homeowners choose wood fireplace mantels for timeless appeal, affordability, and versatility. Usually crafted from oak, mahogany, cherry, or maple, these unique mantel designs offer great advantages for your property.
For instance, wood fireplace mantels can be carved into beautiful designs. This allows you to customize the look of your fireplace to fit with your home interior design. The warmth of the surface material enhances rustic spaces like cottages and farmhouses.
Wood is an ideal and affordable option if you have a cabin or house in the country. However, we don’t recommend it for properties with a more contemporary or modern design.
This option is also not the most durable or elegant. So, you will need to keep that in mind when choosing between the different types of mantels.
Stone and Marble Fireplace Mantels
When it comes to luxury, stone fireplace mantels have no rivals. These mantels showcase the sophistication of your home while adding timeless elegance that materials like wood or metal cannot compete with.
If their aesthetics are not enough to make you decide, stone is also the most durable option for your fireplace mantel. Common options include stones like marble, limestone, granite, and travertine.
Stone fireplace mantels are highly versatile and can be used to enhance the interior of modern, classic, and contemporary homes. In fact, many homeowners choose them to create an interesting and dramatic focal point in their living spaces.
Metal Fireplace Mantels
Whether stainless steel, wrought iron, or brass, metal fireplaces are becoming more popular because of their unique look and textures. Although it’s a more recent trend, metal fireplace mantels are a good choice for properties with a contemporary design. These include minimalistic and industrial spaces.
Besides their aesthetics, the biggest appeal of metal fireplace mantels is their incredible durability. Unlike wood or cast stone, they don’t need constant maintenance and can be cleaned quite easily. We recommend getting one from a reliable manufacturer with clear cleaning instructions and a good warranty.
Types of Fireplace Mantels by Design and Style
When choosing the right fireplace mantel for your home, you must consider your home’s overall style and interior design. Ideally, the mantel should complement and enhance it.
If you choose right, then your fireplace mantel will make the aesthetic of your living spaces more stylish and elegant.
These are the most popular fireplace mantel designs and styles for residential and commercial purposes:
Traditional Mantels for a Classic Look
A traditional or classic fireplace mantel has a timeless design that fits almost any home style perfectly. One of these mantels will usually include intricate carvings, moldings, and other decorative elements and details. They are the ultimate showcase of craftsmanship, which makes them a perfect way to add sophistication to your home.
Imagine a grandiose historical property and how incomplete it would look without the proper fireplace and fireplace mantel. That’s what traditional models offer, the chance for your home to feel as timeless as the history of its architecture. Combine them with the right accessories and furniture, and your home will become a living art piece.
Rustic Fireplace Mantels
A rustic fireplace mantel is perhaps the best option for homeowners looking for that magical and romantic ambiance created by wood-burning and gas fireplaces. These mantels embrace an organic and more natural theme. They also often include reclaimed wood and distressed textures for a more welcoming look.
Rustic fireplace mantels might have a weathered and aged appearance. Still, they will add elegance and coziness, which few models can rival.
For instance, one of these mantels might use natural wood grains, knots, and some stone elements for a rugged and earthy aesthetic.
These fireplace mantels should be your go-to choice if you have a home or cottage with a farmhouse or country interior design.
Contemporary or Modern Fireplace Mantel
Modern fireplace mantels use sleek lines, a minimalistic approach, and contemporary aesthetic trends. They can provide an elegant and sophisticated look. These models also often include clean designs with little to no engravings or carvings, plus simple yet stylish straight edges.
Contemporary fireplace mantels are usually made of metal combined with glass and concrete for a modern feel. These mantels are perfect for homes with metallic themes like wrought iron or stainless steel. We also recommend them for properties and businesses with an industrial style.
Transitional Fireplace Mantels
A transitional fireplace mantel blends two types of designs to create a versatile and stylish structure. The result is one that feels as stylish and unique as your home itself.
The most common combination of styles is contemporary and classic. It uses moldings and carvings with clean lines and simple profiles for a more powerful visual impact.
A transitional fireplace mantel’s harmonious and balanced look provides a timeless appeal. Adding one of these versatile structures to your fireplace results in a refined and more elegant look. This will create a perfect focal point to make a visual statement with your fireplace.
Customized Fireplace Mantels
A customized model is the perfect choice for homeowners looking for a unique fireplace mantel. Custom fireplace mantels are tailored to your specific home needs, from colors and material to the overall architectural aesthetic and style.
Because of this one-of-a-kind approach, your fireplace mantel can enhance your home’s visual style, translating into an increased resale value. However, custom fireplace mantels can be more expensive. You also need a reliable manufacturer for the job, or you might not get the result you’re looking for.
What to Look For in a Fireplace Mantel
Now that you know more about fireplace mantels, from benefits and types to their purpose, it’s time to find the perfect model for your needs. However, that can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for.
You should keep some factors in mind when choosing the right type of fireplace mantel for your home. These factors include preference, home design, maintenance requirements, and more.
Here are the most important factors to consider when deciding where to buy fireplace mantels:
Look for the Perfect Style to Match Your Home
Your fireplace mantel will be the focal point of your home’s living areas. As such, it should be carefully planned and designed for the best results. Because these structures can be important for your overall aesthetic, we recommend defining your home’s interior design before purchasing.
Understanding whether you need a modern, classic, rustic, or industrial fireplace mantel is half the battle. You could choose a design that contrasts with the rest of your home for a more daring style. Still, most homeowners prefer the harmony of a complementary style.
Remember that your home’s design is an extension of your own personality and taste. So, you should choose the fireplace mantel style that better fits you and your needs.
The Right Size for Your Fireplace
When adding decorative and functional structures to your living areas, it’s important to get the right measurements. Remember, not all fireplaces are the same shape and size, and not all walls have the same requirements.
Fireplace mantels with wrong proportions and measurements will look aesthetically awkward. This can make your living space look and feel visually unpleasant. Knowing the proportions for your fireplace and walls will help you get the best fireplace mantel for your home.
Select the Right Material
As with every other aspect of construction and remodeling, choosing the perfect material for your fireplace mantel is essential. We recommend not purchasing anything before knowing the right material for your home requirements.
Wood can be an affordable and classic solution for a fireplace mantel. However, it can be the wrong choice if you live in highly humid weather.
On the other hand, stone and metal are the most durable options. Still, they can blow your budget as they are also the most expensive materials available.
The right fireplace mantel material is the one that fits your home style and functional needs while fitting your remodeling budget.
Ask for Customization Options
Many homeowners are looking for a fireplace mantel as unique as their homes and themselves. However, pre-made fireplace mantels won’t offer that sense of uniqueness that stands out from the crowd.
Instead, we recommend contacting your supplier or manufacturer and asking them for the customization options they provide. Some of them will allow you to add engravings, moldings, and carvings or choose the perfect color for your home needs.
Remember, a customized fireplace mantel also requires a customized fireplace surround. So choose one supplier and get both with the same specifications. That way, you can create a more coherent theme for your fireplace and living spaces.
Ensure It Can Be Installed in Your Home
Depending on where you live, code regulations might prevent you from installing a fireplace in the first place. If that’s the case, you might need to reconsider getting a fireplace mantel or surround unless you want the look of it without the fireplace itself.
Additionally, we recommend hiring a professional for the installation process. Some fireplace mantels can be more complex to install than others. However, when installing a mantel yourself, ensure the structure is safely anchored to the wall, which should help prevent accidents.
Consider Your Budget
Your budget is the last consideration when looking for the right fireplace mantel. A mantel is just one part of a beautifully designed fireplace. If you are budgeting for the entire structure, then don’t forget to also include part of the budget for a fireplace surround.
Wood fireplace mantels are the most affordable options, followed closely by cast-stone models. However, if you have money to spare, metal and stone fireplace mantels are the ones that will offer the most benefits, from durability to elegance and more.
Tops Brands for High-Quality Fireplace Mantels
A high-quality fireplace mantel with excellent craftsmanship and a unique look can transform
your living space into that welcoming room of your dreams. The way to achieve this is by choosing the right mantel for your home’s interior design.
When it comes to finding the perfect fireplace mantel for your home, researching and comparing manufacturers and suppliers is essential. There are dozens of fireplace mantel manufacturers available, but only some of them offer quality and innovative designs.
These are the best fireplace manufacturers in the industry:
HearthCo: Exceptional Quality and Reliable Customer Service
With over 20 years of experience in the industry, HearthCo manufactures high-quality fireplace mantels and surrounds in Northern California. This company has become one of the most popular and reliable providers of the best fireplace mantels available. They excel through innovative built-in cabinetries, stylish wood frames, and superior craftsmanship.
In fact, this commitment to quality and craftsmanship has led HearthCo to become the leading supplier of mantels and surrounds on the West Coast. Whether it’s affordable prices, reliable customer service, or a large variety of products, homeowners across the country are turning to HearthCo for all their fireplace mantel needs.
These are the most popular fireplace mantels by HearthCo:
Terra Bella: The Terra Bella series includes a beautifully designed mantel frame with an intricate design. It can enhance your home’s elegance and classiness. It can be customized to your liking, allowing you to choose the color that suits your aesthetic needs better.
Hollywood: The Hollywood series has a cleaner design, with elegant lines and fewer curves. It’s HearthCo’s most popular and luxurious model, excellent for modern and contemporary home designs.
El Dorado: As one of HearthCo’s most affordable models, El Dorado offers subtle elegance and a unique style. It’s the perfect addition to any home with a more classic and timeless look.
Brick Overlay: The Brick Overlay Series is a mighty and sturdy addition to your living spaces. With a wider frame and more traditional design, this model is the most popular among homeowners because of its elegance and superior functionality.
MagraHearth: Fireplace Outfitters for Every Need!
MagraHearth is one of the most popular and reliable fireplace mantels and surrounds manufacturers. This company has become synonymous with high-quality fireplace mantels through craftsmanship, innovative techniques, unique designs, and a commitment to excellence.
This experienced manufacturer specializes in non-combustible mantels made of concrete and cast stone. Due to these non-combustible materials, you could install your mantel even closer to the fireplace. This can make it feel like an extension of the fireplace rather than something you’ve placed on top of it.
Among the most popular fireplace mantels by MagraHearth, you will find classic and modern models like the Beam Series or the Chiseled Stone Series. Both are designed to enhance your home’s elegance while providing the best possible durability.
Other models, like the Natural Wood Series, provide a sense of versatility that few fireplace mantels can match. You can find these models in different colors and materials, including graphite, silver, brown, and more.
How to Maintain a Fireplace Mantel
A fireplace mantel is a decorative element that can enhance your home’s interior design while adding a focal point to your living area. As such, keeping it in the best condition is important.
Every fireplace mantel has unique maintenance and cleaning requirements because of the materials used to manufacture it. A wood fireplace mantel, for instance, needs periodic polishing and refinishing to remain as visually pleasing as when it was new.
Stone and marble mantels, on the other hand, require a gentle clean and periodic sealing to keep them looking good. However, we recommend following the manufacturer’s instructions and cleaning guidelines to prevent damage to your fireplace mantel.
Here are some ways you can keep your fireplace durability intact even when used constantly:
Protect your fireplace mantel from excessive heat. The mantel surface is not designed to withstand hot temperatures from teapots, pans, and other items.
Moisture is one of the most damaging factors, especially for fireplace mantels made of wood. We recommend drying your mantel properly after cleaning the fireplace.
Avoid physical impact against the fireplace mantel surface. We recommend using coasters or mats for better protection.
Avoid leaving cold or hot beverages on top of the mantel. If you do, use a cup holder. It’s even more important when you have a wood fireplace mantel, as wood is more susceptible to damage by water and condensation.
Cleaning Your Fireplace Mantel the Right Way
As we mentioned before, how you maintain your fireplace mantel depends on the material and design itself. That’s the same for the cleaning process. You cannot clean a wood fireplace mantel the same way you would a cast-stone or metal model.
Here’s how to clean your fireplace mantel based on its material:
Wood Fireplace Mantel
To clean your wood fireplace mantel, you need a soft cloth or a feather duster. You should use these two items to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris. Otherwise, they can lead to rot and other problems with the structural integrity of your mantel.
Although dusting your fireplace mantel should be a regular process, a wood model requires extra care and cleaning. If it has a finish, you should use a mild wood cleaner, avoiding any harsh chemicals as they can damage the wood.
We recommend a soft sponge to scrub the surface of your mantel gently, and remember to remove moisture right after every clean. Use a dry cloth for this purpose.
Stone Fireplace Mantel
Unlike wood fireplace mantels, stone models have better durability and resistance against the elements. However, if you want your mantel to last for a long time, you need to clean it properly every now and then.
These are the steps you need to follow:
Use a microfiber cloth to remove as much dust and debris from your mantel as possible. Any soft cloth will do if you don’t have a microfiber cloth.
Now you need to use a surface cleaner to remove any sign of grease or soot. Avoid using abrasive cleaners as they can damage the stone. We recommend a combination of mild soap and warm water.
Wipe the fireplace mantel with a damp cloth. Use gentle and soft movements to prevent scratches over the surface.
Most manufacturers and suppliers will include guidelines on properly cleaning the fireplace mantel’s surface. We recommend following the instructions to prevent damage to your elegant, expensive fireplace mantel.
Painted Fireplace Mantel
A painted mantel needs to be dusted regularly to prevent the accumulation of dirt and dust. Otherwise, they could diminish the elegance of the entire structure. When there are stains or marks on the painted surface, the best option is to use a mild detergent mixed with water to remove them.
Scrub the surface gently with a soft cloth or sponge and rinse with warm water. As with previous materials, avoid using harsh cleaners or abrasive chemicals, as they can strip off the painted surface of your mantel.
Once you’re finished cleaning, dry the surface with a microfiber cloth or something soft, and repeat the process as necessary.
Metal Fireplace Mantel
For metal fireplace mantels, dusting should be done regularly. You can remove most of the dust and debris using a soft cloth or feather duster. However, if your mantel has a protective finish, we recommend following these steps:
Combine soap with warm water to create a cleaning solution that’s not damaging to the mantel surface. You could use a specialized metal cleaner. However, they tend to be more expensive and difficult to find.
With a soft cloth, scrub around the edges of the mantel to remove stains and other imperfections. We recommend a gentle movement to prevent damage on mantel surfaces with finishes.
Once you’ve finished with the cleaning solution, rinse the surface with clean water. Use a dry cloth or sponge to remove as much moisture as possible. Don’t use brushes that could scratch your mantel surface.
Drying your metal fireplace mantel is important to prevent rust formation and other corrosion-related problems. If properly cleaned and maintained, metal should last a long time.
FAQ: Fireplace Mantels
How Do I Measure for the Right Mantel Size for a Fireplace?
Measuring your available space for the right size of fireplace mantel is an essential part of the buying process. The wrong size mantel can make installing the structure over your fireplace impossible. It will also mean a trip back to the manufacturer, costing you time and money.
Luckily, measuring your space for a brand-new fireplace mantel is simple. All you need to do is start with the width of the fireplace opening. Ensure you take the measurement a couple of times to double-check the results.
Once you have measured the width, you can move on to the height. Measure everything from the hearth to the desired mantel shelf. Add an inch around the fireplace opening to allow room for the structure itself to stand out.
Can Fireplace Mantels Be Installed on Any Fireplace?
As a rule, you can install your brand-new fireplace mantel over any fireplace, whether wood-burning, electric, or gas. These decorative structures are primarily used for wood-burning models, but there are no limitations.
However, we encourage you to consult the manufacturer before purchasing accessories or mantels for your fireplace. With these projects, it’s always better to be cautious.
Can Fireplace Mantels Be Installed on a Wall Without a Fireplace?
You can install a fireplace mantel over a wall without a fireplace. In fact, because of how elegant and visually striking fireplace mantels are, many homeowners consider adding them to their homes even if they don’t own a fireplace.
Faux or decorative mantels are fireplace mantels without any purpose other than being a focal point for your home. They add architectural interest to enhance your home’s aesthetic without committing to a proper fireplace.
Are There Building Codes and Restrictions for Fireplace Mantels?
Although there are no specific codes regarding fireplace mantels, some restrictions limit the use and installation of fireplaces. This is especially true for wood-burning models in specific states and cities.
However, even if there aren’t fireplace restrictions, we recommend double-checking with your local government to ensure everything is up to code.
How Long Do Fireplace Mantels Last?
High-quality fireplace mantels can last 10 to 20 years, depending on certain factors that influence their durability. The most important factor is the materials used to manufacture the mantel itself.
For example, cast stone or marble are more durable than wood mantels and will last longer.
The climate and temperature of where you live will also play an important role in the durability of your fireplace mantel, especially if the mantel it’s located outdoors.
Dry climates are better for wood-made mantel designs, and cold weather can crack cast-stone models. Keep that in mind when choosing the right model for your needs.
What Are the Common Signs Your Fireplace Mantel Needs to Be Replaced?
If your fireplace mantel starts to sag or pull away from the wall, then you will have to get a replacement. A sagging mantel can become a hazard, as it has lost its structural integrity. We recommend getting rid of it as fast as possible, especially if you have kids and pets at home.
Cracking, fading, and other signs of the passage of time should also be considered. A fireplace mantel that looks old or outdated diminishes the aesthetical benefits of having one in the first place. So, you will need to replace it as soon as possible.
Can I Build a DIY Fireplace Mantel?
The decision to build and install your own fireplace mantel is yours, but there are some things you should consider. First, homeowners looking to delve into this DIY project require excellent knowledge of building codes and regulations. You will also need experience with wood and other construction materials.
You will indeed be saving a lot of money. However, a DIY fireplace mantel can lead to accidents and other issues like a lack of craftsmanship and elegance.
After all, fireplace mantels are supposed to enhance your home’s visual appeal. If they fail to do so, it would be counterproductive to have one.
We recommend leaving this type of structural manufacturing to the professionals so that you can enjoy your brand-new mantel without worrying about your safety. A professional will consider aspects like fire safety, structural integrity, and electric or gas connections. Then, they can provide the best experience for you and your family.
What's the Difference Between a Fireplace Mantel and a Fireplace Surround?
A fireplace mantel is a sort of shelf or ledge right above your fireplace opening. It works as a transition between the fireplace opening and the wall above it. It adds protection against fire and heat for walls and decorative elements.
Fireplace surrounds, on the other hand, are structures on the sides of the fireplace that serve a similar purpose as mantels. They cannot be used as shelves or ledges. However, they greatly impact your fireplace style and room’s ambiance.
Both fireplace mantels and surrounds enhance your fireplace aesthetic while adding a much-needed sense of elegance and luxury.
How Much Do Fireplace Mantels Usually Cost?
A fireplace mantel can cost anywhere between $300 and $5,000. This big difference between prices is due to the different aspects that can vary a fireplace mantel’s overall cost. For instance, size and materials can greatly affect your budget.
The design complexity also influences the final price of a fireplace mantel. Adding engravings and other customization options will increase the overall cost. So, keep that in mind when budgeting for your new fireplace mantel.
Remember to add-in to the budget the price of a fireplace surround and other accessories you’ll need to keep your fireplace working properly.
Find the Perfect Fireplace Mantel for Your Home with CAPO Building Specialties
The right fireplace mantel for your home combines a beautiful design, superior durability, and excellent functionality to enhance your living spaces. They are the epitome of luxury for residential and commercial properties.
There’s no better place to find the perfect model for your needs than at CAPO Building Specialties. We have everything you need to create that visually striking fireplace your home deserves.
Whether it’s the right accessories to the most stylish mantels in the industry, we have it all. Check out our complete fireplace mantel collection, which includes the best MagraHearth and HearthCo models, and find the perfect one for your needs!