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This is an installation guideline only. Local codes may vary and should be checked.
A general knowledge of masonry skills is assumed.

The first step in mantel installation is to attach the hearth to the subfloor.  The hearth sections are set by applying a layer of thinset mortar to the subfloor and to the bottom of the individual hearth pieces and then carefully positioning the pieces in the same manner that tile would be set.  In some cases, a thin bed of brick mortar may be required for leveling.

If the subfloor is made of wood, OSB, or any other non-masonry material, we recommend that a layer of backerboard be placed (without mortar) on the subfloor and that the hearth be attached to the backerboard.

Backerboard with hearth
Backerboard with hearth


A substructure should be built from CMU, brick, or other masonry material. A wood substructure is recommended only if the subfloor is wood or OSB and weight is a consideration. Wood substructures should be covered with backer board. Next, set the hearth on the substructure as described above and clad the sides of the substructure using the same procedure.

Example of a Raised Hearth
Example of a Raised Hearth

Cladding front and sides of substructure
Cladding front and sides of substructure

Completed raised hearth
Completed raised hearth before grouting


• Place Ό” spacers on the hearth where the legs will be positioned. Ό” Leg spacer placement

1/4 Leg spacer placement
1/4" Leg spacer placement

• Apply thinset mortar to the back of the legs and then set in position. Shim the legs as necessary to insure that they are plumb and level.

Thinset mortar applied to the back of the leg
Thinset mortar applied to the back of the leg

Thinset applied to the wall before installing leg
Thinset applied to the wall before installing leg



• Another method of mechanically attaching the leg is to “toe” it in by drilling at about a 45 degree angle and using long screws. Care should be taken not to drill within 2 inches of the edge of the leg.

Toe-ing in the mantel leg
“Toe-ing” in the mantel leg

• The top of the leg is then mechanically tied to a stud using the supplied split- tailed masonry anchors.
• First, locate the stud.
Locate Stud
• Then measure and mark the area which will be ground into the leg to accept the anchor.
Locate Stud
• Then install the anchor.
Locate Stud
• Matching slots will also be ground into the underside of the header. (This is not shown.)
Locate Stud
• Apply thin set to the slot before setting the header. This will ensure that the leg is mechanically tied to the wall.
Locate Stud
Locate Stud
Locate Stud

• Place Ό” spacers are placed on the top of the legs

• Apply thinset mortar to the back of the header.

Applying thinset mortar to the mantel header
Applying thinset mortar to the mantel header

• Carefully lift and set the mantel header on the spacers. Due to the weight of some headers, mechanical lifting equipment may be needed.


Lifting the mantel header
Lifting the mantel header

Alternate Method of Lifting the mantel header
Alternate Method of Lifting the mantel header

Caution: Because the use of crowbars or similar tools to position the
header may chip the stone, this procedure should be avoided.


• Shim as necessary to insure that the header is plumb and level.

• Locate the studs behind the header and mechanically tie it to the wall.

Some of our mantels have a one-piece header and shelf. For one of these mantels, a different method is used to mechanically tie the header to the wall:

• First, locate two or more studs behind the header.

• Drill lag screws into the studs, leaving approximately 1½” exposed.

• Place 1/4" inch spacers on top of the mantel legs


Spacers and lag screws
Spacers and lag screws

• Locate the correct position on the back of the header and drill oversized holes or cut slots with a saw and masonry blade to receive the lag screws.


Cutting slots to match the lag screw locations
Cutting slots to match the lag screw locations

• Fill the holes with thinset mortar or epoxy, apply thinset mortar to the wall and back of the header, and carefully set the header on Ό” spacers placed on top of the legs. See cautions listed above when lifting the header.


Setting the mantel header
Setting the mantel header




Place Ό” spacers on the top of the header and use thinset mortar to attach the shelf to the top of the header and the wall. For most styles, it is not necessary to mechanically tie the shelf to the wall.


Applying thinset to the top of the header
prior to placing the shelf
Applying thinset to the top of the header prior to placing the shelf


Filler panels, if any, are generally installed using only thinset mortar.  Install the side filler panels first, using ¼” spacers on all sides meeting other stone.  With prefabricated fireboxes, the black flashing on all sides of the firebox opening can normally be covered with stone, but take care not to cover louvers, glass, or other access points.  Temporary supports may be needed to keep the top filler panel in place while the thinset mortar cures if the style being installed does not have side filler panels. 

Thinset does not hold well when applied to metal.  If the filler panels are to be applied to metal only, use a construction adhesive (such as “Liquid Nails”) instead of thinset mortar. 


Installing a bottom filler panel. 
(Note that the spacers have been cut in half.)
Installing a bottom filler panel.
(Note that the spacers have been cut in half.)

Some installations will not have side filler panels. Temporary supports may be used to keep the top filler panel in place while the thinset mortar cures. Another method of installing a top filler panel without side panel support is shown below:


First, screws are driven into studs
First, screws are driven into studs

Next, the heads are ground off
Next, the heads are ground off

The back of the filler panel is marked
First, screws are driven into studs

Slots are ground where marked
Slots are ground where marked

Thinset is applied (Also, note the spacers.)
Thinset is applied (Also, note the spacers.)

The unsupported upper filler panel has been
installed and is being grouted.
The unsupported upper filler panel has been
installed and is being grouted.


Caution:
Be careful not to attach any stone to metal which will heat up when a fire is started.  Thermal expansion of the metal may break the joint and possibly the stone. Be careful when drilling through any portion of a prefabricated firebox. Although the flashing on some places on some models may be penetrated, this could cause hazardous conditions in other places or on other models.


Grout and point all the joints.  (Caulk is often used in the joints between the mantel and the wall to prevent cracking caused by wall movement.)  Sponge all exposed surfaces with clean water as the grouting operation proceeds to ensure that mortar does not dry on the mantel face. 


Applying grout to the mantel joints
Applying grout to the mantel joints

Applying grout behind the lower filler panel
Applying grout behind the lower filler panel

Finished mantel installation
Finished mantel installation