Friday, October 1, 2010
Fireplace Mantel Kits - A Thrifty Alternative
Does your house have a fireplace that’s tired and old fashioned? Does it look like it needs a new set of clothes and the old ones came from the thrift shop? There are a number of things you can do to make a huge difference. One of the best is to purchase a fireplace mantel kit to either replace an old, worn one or to add one if you don’t currently have one. Adding a fireplace mantel from a mantel kit is not a complex project. Almost everything you need is included. You may have to add a 1” x 4” inch board and the hardware to mount it to the wall. Throw in some basic tools and you have everything you need. Full instructions are included. The change and improvement in the looks of the fireplace and room may be dramatic.
Many of the fireplaces you see these days aren’t as fancy and ornate as those from yesteryear. Typically a fireplace insert that’s pre-manufactured is used that provides all the functionality you need at a cheaper price but the look of it doesn’t compare. They work fine and save a lot of money. If you want a fancier look and you don’t have a mantel or the existing one isn’t cutting it, now you can fix that without spending a fortune.
If you have no mantel, a fireplace mantel kit is an affordable item that can be used as a major feature when added to the room. A full mantel is basically a shelf with legs or columns attached that extend from the bottom ends of the shelf to the floor or hearth. It acts like a picture frame for the fireplace on the top and sides with the hearth providing the bottom.
A mantel can be picked that works with your type of house style and also matching the type of the fireplace. Classical, traditional and modern designs are available, each of those in a wide variety of options. Fireplace mantel kits are available for most any standard fireplace size. Wood fireplace mantel kits may be made from a choice of hardwoods: mahogany, choi, walnut, oak, birch, and maple, as well as pine. Less expensive kits use fiberboard or MDF if you want a painted mantel. Sometimes the less expensive options are also combined with wood.
You could build your own fireplace mantel if you’re really handy with tools and techniques. You could save some money but you’ll add a lot more labor. If you’re going for something fancy, milling or carving the wood is beyond the skill levels of the average handyman. Like a picture frame, a simple one isn’t too tough but the ornate ones require and artist and a craftsman.
You can buy fireplace mantel kits that start around $200 for MDF materials that are primed and ready to paint. These are not for staining. Premium models of solid hardwood, unfinished and pre-sanded fireplace mantel kits can be had for under $350. More deluxe models are available in cherry, oak, poplar, and mahogany with prices beginning starting below $600. If you want an ornate piece, prices go up to several thousand dollars. Fireplace mantel plans including a kit are so much easier to do and provide better results.
Fireplace mantel kits may feature hand-carved and machine cut elements to provide a piece that shows its quality and craftsmanship. Options can include pre-sanded and unfinished fireplace mantel kits if you want to finish them yourself to save some money. Minwax can give you beautiful, warm finishes with a huge variety to choose from available at most any home supplies dealer. Unfinished mantels can be painted any color by the customer.
The fireplace mantel kits are easy to assemble and install with few tools required. The upright portions are shipped separate from the shelf portion. They are bolted onto the top with a few bolts and nuts that are included in the kit. The customer normally supplies a mounting board to attach to the wall from which the mantel will hang. This is normally no more than a 1”x4” board with an edge cut at a 45 degree angle.
Instructions that come with the fireplace mantel kit show you how to measure for the mounting board length and where to fasten it to the wall. The fasteners to hold it to the wall will depend upon the wall type. Sheetrock, brick or wood all require different fasteners to mount the board. Instructions for assembly and mounting come with the fireplace mantel kits.
When you add a fireplace mantel, it can make a huge improvement in the appearance of your fireplace and the room. Whether your home is a French provincial, contemporary, craftsman or ordinary bungalow, check out the many looks that suit your decor.