Mantels can be made from concrete, stone, brick, wood or other composite materials. The materials used to build a fireplace mantel depends on the type of mantel desired.
A shelf mantel is a popular choice because it provides shelving to add beauty and functionality to a fireplace. Shelf mantels are usually easy to install and made of wood.
Full-surround mantels have legs and surround the entire fireplace. The legs sit on the floor outside the hearth or on the outside of the hearth. This type of mantel is highly customizable and a popular choice among homeowners.
When deciding on the materials to use for a mantel, it is important to make safety the primary factor. Materials such as stone, brick and concrete are non-combustible and the selection is almost limitless when materials such as polished marble or unworked stone are considered.
Of course, wood mantels are combustible, but there are a number of choices for constructing a mantel that is safe and beautiful. Wood mantels come in pine, cherry, walnut, oak, poplar, maple and mahogany and the wood may be stain- or paint-grade.
When choosing a material for a mantel, keep in mind that proper measurements are the key to an effective and attractive mantel. Mantels should always conform to building codes and never block windows.