Colonial Style Mantel
The first mantel that I ever built was a colonial style mantel with a slate surround and hearth. The photo shows the mantel and surround that I built in our first home. I really wish I kept photos of the fire place before this project so you could see the dramatic change.
The previous fire place had a serious 70′s look to it. The fire place surround and hearth were a dreadful looking off white architectural brick that looked like something from the Brady Bunch house. The brick went from floor to ceiling and the hearth was approximately the same size as the new one.
I framed a surround around the upper portion of the brick chimney and covered it with drywall. Then I built the mantel as you see it in the photo. I used techniques similar to the ones I used when I built our latest custom mantel. All of the wood used was pine and poplar and I glued and biscuited all the joints.
Install Tile Over Old Brick
Once the mantel was done I installed slate tiles directly to the existing brick. I used thin set and tiled the surround like any other tile project. This project highlights the fact that you can really change the appearance of an existing fire place and surround. This was a fairly complicated project but certainly one that someone with moderate home improvement skills could tackle. Just make sure you follow all local codes with respect to fire place surrounds, combustible material requirements, etc.