It’s finally September and autumn is just around the corner! Yippee! Do you love fall like I do? I’ve got it so bad that I switch the Christmas song to this season, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year….”
The colors, harvest time, fall festivals, knowing things are slowing down all make it seem so comforting. My husband tells me that it’s sort of weird I like it because everything is dying. Not so! Everything is going to sleep and taking a rest, including me!! Tsk.
About a year ago, I decided to finally get a mantel put on our fireplace and I knew just what I wanted. A barn beam mantel. Not a shiny, glamorous looking mantle, but a rustic, roughed up, story-telling mantel. I knew I could find one somewhere in the farm country I live in, so I put a wanted out on Freecycle (willing to pay), Craigslist, etc., and bingo! Freecycle came through and guy had torn down a barn and had all sorts of goodies for me to peruse.
At $4 a foot, this was a steal because no one wants old-looking barn beams, except rare finds like me. ahem. We took the whole family and had a blast because rarely do we get to be out on farm with all its sights, sounds, and animals. It didn’t take long for me to find the perfect beam with perfect imperfections.
A floating mantel was the option we did, which basically means that it doesn’t attach to “legs”, but looks as if it is floating on the wall. Want to do one yourself? You don’t have to use a barn beam, but anything you want really. It’s pretty simple, but there are a few necessary steps to take to make it safe and secure.
Here’s what you’ll need:
*this post does contain affiliate links so you can find the products I love!
First, check the codes in your area for installing a mantel. We have a raised hearth, with a fireplace insert, and added 13″ from the top of the insert, putting the top of our mantel at 49″ above the hearth. Once you’ve figured out your height, you will need to find the studs in the wall with a stud finder or other method.
Next, grab a tape measure and mark the spots across the wall, making sure you’ll be landing in a stud at the correct height. Double-check by using a level and chalk line marker to give you a visible guide. Since we are drilling into our bricks, we found a mortar line and used it as a guide.
You will need to know the length of your mantel to figure how many bolts you will need. When you’ve got your measurement you’ll want to use this formula:
- Find center – mark it with chalk. Starting from center, measure out 12″ each direction and mark. We used 5 bolts for our 7’4″ beam at 12″ apart, leaving large space at ends because of the openings in our beam. You could go to the edge.
Once you’ve got your marks, you will need to drill the holes for the sleeves with the hammer drill and 3/4″ bit. Mark your bit with tape at 3″ to make sure you get the accurate depth. Tap the sleeves in with a small sledge until flush with the wall.
Using the ratchet and appropriate socket, anchor down the lag bolts, leaving 3″ sticking out. Then take your hacksaw or angle grinder and cut the heads off the bolts. This will allow you to slide the mantel onto the bolts easily.
Grab your chalk and rub it on the end of the bolts in the wall. You could measure and mark your mantel on the backside for the bolts, but that can be a little tricky, so we decided to just lift the mantel up to the chalked bolts and press it into them to get the mirror image on the mantel. That way we would know where to drill. Just be precise as can be when pressing the mantel onto the bolts.
Now, drill the mantel, using the 1/2″ drill bit, on the chalk marks you just made on the mantel. Do a dry fit to see if your holes line up. We had to tweak ours just a bit, but for the most part we got it. Our dry run was so hard to remove that we felt it wasn’t necessary to use an epoxy. However, there is any epoxy that is made specifically for wood to metal, just go to your local hardware store and ask.
Mount the mantel and let cure (if using epoxy) and then break out the decorations!!
Ta da!! My hubby did most of the work because this was my Mother’s Day present. I am very pleased to have it!
My autumn mantel is not yet complete because the local gourds and goods have yet to be harvested, but…lookin’ good so far don’t you think? Become a follower to see updates!
Don’t you just love the hand-hewn beam with the hand-hewn crossbeam notches? Can you see the hand-drilled holes in the notches? I am in awe of the craftsmanship.
How about you…what do you do to celebrate autumn?
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