How to Install a Fireplace Mantel on Brick
If you are planning to install a fireplace mantel on brick, you will need the proper tools and knowledge to complete the task. Depending on your mantel design, you might need to drill masonry anchors into the brick or secure the mantel with brackets. You will also need to determine which method is best for your project.
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Using Brick for Mantels
Before you can begin the installation, you must find a place to work. Ideally, you want to use a drop cloth or similar material to protect your flooring from dust and debris during the process. You also need a hammer, a masonry drill bit, and a pencil or chalk for marking drilling positions.
Using a masonry drill bit, mark the places where you plan to drill holes for masonry anchors. Then, drill 3 inches deep into these holes to accommodate the anchor sleeves you will insert to provide support for the wooden mantel.
Then, you’ll need to insert a lag bolt into each anchor sleeve and tighten the bolt until it’s securely in place. If a different set of hardware is provided with your mantel, use screws in the anchor sleeves to attach it.
Mounting a Wooden Mantel on Brick
One of the most reliable methods for mounting a solid, floating wood mantel on a brick wall is to use posts. The posts can be expansion bolts, 1/2- or 3/4-inch rebar, or galvanized steel pipe that extends at least halfway into the brick and mantel.
Once you’ve located the posts, position them over a stud behind the brick. Then, mark each post with a marker and drill holes across the back of the mantel for each post with a drill bit that has the same or slightly larger diameter as the post. Once the mantel is securely mounted, you can fill the drilled holes with epoxy cement or construction adhesive and then push the mantel flush against the wall without putting any weight on it.
You can also use a stud finder to locate wall studs before you start your masonry installation. If you don’t have a stud finder, you can use hollow wall anchors to attach the face board of the mantel to the brick wall.
Make sure you follow local building codes. Typically, you’ll need to mount the mantel at least 10 inches high from the top of the firebox opening, and then leave an additional 6 or 8 inches of space around the fireplace for clearance.
If your fireplace has a decorative corbel, you can use it as a support for the mantel. These corbels will have a notch cut into them where the stud can sit. When you screw them to the studs, they will act as a bridge between the brick and the mantel.
Alternatively, you can fasten the mantel to a backer board that’s sized to fit your brick. You’ll need a masonry drill bit to pre-drill the screw holes and then attach a lag bolt through the backer board and into the brick. This is the only way to guarantee a sturdy, permanent installation.