DIY Fireplace Mantel

How to make a rustic, floating mantel in 6 easy steps
It’s that time when you want to cozy on up to the hearth and warm up by the fire. If you find yours somewhat lacking, how about dressing it up with a simple yet impactful floating mantel?
Unlike other mantels that require lots of know-how, materials and steps, this one is fairly simple and straightforward to build. Frank Ripley of Ask Frank Designs in Orillia, Ontario, shows us how.


Once you’ve found a nice piece of reclaimed wood or other surface for your mantel, figure out where you want the mantel to go. Most mantels are placed about five feet above the floor; measure the height on your wall and draw a horizontal line the length of the mantelpiece. If you have drywall, use a stud finder to locate the studs, and mark those spots; typically, the studs will be spaced about 16 inches apart. If you have a brick wall, simply mark the line every 16 inches, for the bolts to go in. Make sure your marks are level and that they cover the width of your mantel.


Use a 3/4-inch masonry bit and wrap a piece of tape around the bit at the three-inch mark, so you know how deep to drill. Drill holes at each mark.

Step 3

Insert lead sleeves into the holes.


Insert a 10-inch lag bolt into each sleeve and tighten to secure. Use an angle grinder to cut off the bolt heads.


After you’ve installed the lag bolts, transfer those measurements to the back of the mantel, using a tape measure. Use a 1/2-inch drill bit and drill into your marks a 1/2 inch deeper than the length of the lag bolts after you’ve removed the heads. The extra 1/2 inch ensures that your mantel will sit firmly against the wall.


Apply high-temperature silicone to the end of all the bolts. Lift the mantel into place, pushing firmly into the bolts.

Steve Maxwell

Steve Maxwell

Steve Maxwell and his wife Mary live on a 90-acre modern homestead on Manitoulin Island, Ontario in a stone house they built with local materials beginning in 1985. Steve is Canada’s longest-running home improvement and how-to columnist and editor of Home and Property. He divides his time working on the land, building things large and small, and creating articles and how-to videos that teach sustainable, self-reliant, hands-on living skills.

Posted on Wednesday, October 4th, 2023

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