Monday, September 20, 2010

Wood Fireplace Mantels - An Easy Remodel

Wood Fireplace Mantels

Are you sick of looking at that old, tired fireplace that saw its best days long ago? Are you about ready to tear it down and start over even if it costs you a fortune? Keep on reading and get some alternative ideas short of doing something that radical.
Install a new wood fireplace mantel or shelf as an add-on or replacement and see the striking difference in the appearance of your old wood fireplace. If the fireplace is brick, you might also want to consider a brick fireplace painting kit, new doors or other accessories. The new combination will become the focal point of the room. Dress it up and make it uniquely yours by adding portraits, statuary or family heirlooms of top.
A wood fireplace mantel has a top, usually a shelf, and legs or columns attached. These legs extend from the bottom of the shelf down to the hearth. If you imagine a picture frame for a portrait, it’s a similar thing for your wood fireplace. The hearth or floor acts as the bottom piece of the frame. A wood fireplace mantel shelf is the horizontal shelf piece that attaches to the wall without legs. If your budget is less, a shelf could also be a viable alternative.
Buying a wood fireplace mantel kit is affordable and installing one adds a major accent to the fireplace and the room. It would be possible to make your own if you had the skills and the time but it’s not likely to be something you’d want to undertake. Installing it is a much simpler task.
If you don’t have the skills or don’t want to spend the time required, it can be as simple as getting a wood fireplace mantel kit and spending a few hours installing it. The work is not very difficult and can be done by someone with basic do it yourself skills. You may purchase these kits with varying amounts of finish work done. It’s a tradeoff of cost and labor, but also knowing that you’ll have a well engineering piece to install. You may buy models that are unfinished, partially finished and pre-sanded, and ones that are stained with six coats and ready to assemble and hang on the wall.
Do you want a painted look? Mantels made from MDF or fiberboard are available and will save you some money. Want a rich, stained appearance that brings out the natural wood grain? If so, a stain grade wood is needed for the fireplace wood mantels. They’re available in a cheaper pine or poplar but you’ll likely want to pay a little more for one of the beautiful hardwoods. They come in oak, mahogany, cherry or walnut, to name a few. While they can cost considerably more, hand carved versions can be works of art.
Most any style you can imagine is available. Classical, traditional and modern, among others, come in a large selection to suit any home type or decorator taste you may have. Don’t be too concerned about matching architectural styles. A carved wood rustic mantel could be just the unique and contrasting element you want in a contemporary home.
Wood fireplace mantels can feature hand carvings and machine-milled elements at various price points. The hand crafting adds to the overall cost but also to the artistic appeal. The amount of finish can include pre-sanded and unfinished wood fireplace mantels. Pre-stained mantels in professional finishes cost more and but there is less work for you and a better chance of ending up with a quality project. If you do want to finish it yourself, Minwax provides a large number of choices in color and hue. This product provides rich tones and a professional appearance even by homeowners. If you buy the wood fireplace mantels already stained, you may specify the finish color as anything Minwax makes.
Wood fireplace mantels are sold in a broad range of prices. Pay as little as less than $200 for MDF material, primed and ready to paint. Premium models come in hardwood, suitable for staining, unfinished and pre-sanded, and also fully finished. Those models start at under $350. Deluxe models are available in poplar, cherry, oak and mahogany at prices that begin below $600. The highest cost, most ornate mantels may run up to several thousand dollars but they are truly gorgeous. You’ll feel like you’re in a mansion when you see one of those on the fireplace.
Wood fireplace mantels are easy to assemble and install. Bolt the side pieces onto the top shelf using the nuts and bolts that come with the kit. You’ll need a mounting board that is only a 1”x4” board with an edge cut at a 45 degree angle. The instructions detail that. The fasteners you use depend upon the wall type.

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