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Fireplace Mantel Materials

There are three common materials used in crafting fireplace mantels. Each one offers different benefits depending on your style, budget, and safety concerns. Carefully choosing the right material for your home will ensure lasting beauty and is certain to create a stunning focal point for your space.


This probably the first material that comes to mind when thinking of a fireplace mantel. The classic look provides versatility unmatched in other types. From a Victorian-style piece embellished with carvings and stained a deep mahogany, to a rustic, unadorned plank worthy of the coziest of cabins, wood allows for a warm and truly customized look.Wood mantels are available in a wide range of prices, depending on such factors as wood type, stains, embellishments, and size.

The easy installation makes it a favorite option, especially if you’ve chosen to install the mantel yourself.


For natural elegance and incredible durability, many people choose stone. Ranging from the rough and traditional to the smooth and modern, stone offers a variety of style options. Typically more expensive than other materials, durability and low-maintenance care are favorite features. Because stone is non-combustible, it’s an incredibly safe choice with no risk of fire.

Stone is a lovely choice if you’re looking for natural, long-lasting beauty or a more formal aesthetic.


Medium Density Fiberboard is an affordable and durable option for fireplace mantels. It provides the same classic beauty as wood, but is non-combustible making it an extremely safe choice. Like both wood and stone, MDF offers a wide array of design possibilities for a unique, personalized look.

The durability of MDF ensures it will remain a lasting part of your home, while its smooth surface is easy to paint or stain, making it customizable as well.

Sizing Your Fireplace for a Mantle or Surround

When choosing a fireplace mantel, even the most gorgeous piece won’t look right if it’s sized improperly. With a few simple steps and easy measurements you can ensure a perfect fit to create the dazzling hearth your home deserves.

Taking accurate measurements is an essential step to finding the right size, and these three key measurements will give you the information you need to find your ideal match.

  • Fireplace opening height: Measure the height of your fireplace opening from the base to the height.
  • Fireplace opening width: Just like the height, measure the width of the opening from end to end.
  • Fireplace depth: Measure the distance of the facing materials. The facing materials are the non-combustible materials, such as brick, that jut out from the point of installation.

Use these measurements to calculate the size you need. Mantel sizing varies by manufacturer, so consult the specifications to ensure you get what your space requires. This typically involves adding or subtracting a few inches to create a snug fit. The mantel should overlap the facing material, adding a customized, consistent look.

Be sure to take any nearby windows and doors into account when measuring, as close placement to the fireplace may restrict the length or height of the mantel that will work for you.

And finally, remember to consider the size of your hearth. The idea is to create a balanced look that isn’t too small or large for the space itself. Everything should have a similar scale in order to create a cohesive look, and ultimately, an elegant finished space.