Colonial Mantel with Slate Surround

By Todd Fratzel on Finish Carpentry

Colonial Style Mantel

Mantel with Slate Surround 300x199 Colonial Mantel with Slate SurroundThe 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.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today's Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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1 Comment

  1. Perry Degener says:

    The slate provides an immediate classic look.

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