Hugo Totty is passionate about DIY projects. I love sharing my experiences about different home improvement projects that I've completed.
For anyone with a fireplace in their household, it makes sense to have it as a focal point. These large sections make it easy for you to add things like TVs and the like above the fireplace too, making it a suitable focal point overall.
One common problem with fireplaces, however, is that your fireplace mantel can become warmed or damaged through the heat.
It makes sense: the sheer volume of heat being produced by your fireplace is going to have an impact on the mantel. But a few simple adjustments can be all that you need to ensure that your mantel is not going to be damaged by the use of the fireplace.
Make Sure You Are Not Too Deep
One of the most common reasons for your fireplace mantel being damaged by heat is the depth. Many people build their fireplaces too deep, which can leave it looking uneven with a large and visible protrusion that is not very nice to look at.
The first problem you should look to solve with your fireplace mantel then is making sure that it is not too deep. As you are getting the fireplace designed, avoid any depth beyond 7”.
Make Sure You Are Not Too Close
Another common problem for many fireplace mantels is that they are too close to the fireplace itself. Regulations state that you must have a clearance of at least 6” from the side of the fireplace to the opening. It might also have an 8” gap at the top.
Many fireplaces do not follow this clear regulation though. A brick is around 8” wide itself, so you can use one to help make sure that your fireplace mantel is provided with enough coverage.
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Design a Metal Hood
Another option for many fireplaces is installing a metal hood. They are an excellent choice for those with the available space. Hoods will deflect the heat and properly shield the mantelpiece from being warped or damaged.
If you do go down the route of using a hood though, you should make sure that you get an extended one.
The only thing that it will not do is directly stop the heat from getting to the mantel. Though what it will do is make sure that the heat is not serious enough to damage the mantel.
You should therefore be able to get many years of extra life out of that mantel. The fitting of a metal hood can do just that—as long as you make sure that it sticks in place exactly as it should.
Include a Heat Detector
Some fireplaces are built into areas so tight that you might not be able to get the proper clearance, or you might be barely meeting the required clearance. With that in mind, you might need to resort to something else.
What we recommend you do at that junction is install what is known as a heat deflector. These are often made from metal, so you will need to have them painted with a suitable color to ensure it matches your fireplace. It should also be installed just below the fireplace mantel so that it does not become obstructive to the mantel itself.
Heat deflectors allow for air to pass between the deflector and the mantel, meaning that the heat is never actually going to hit the mantel in the first place. This is a good way to make sure that you are left with a safe way to avoid the mantel from being warped due to the heat.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Hugo Totty