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….” Perfect time for a DIY floating mantel, don’t you think?
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:
- barn beam or other mantel piece
- hammer drill
- 1/2″ lag bolts, 6-10″ long (how many depends on your length, see below)
- 3/4″ anchor sleeves, 3″ long (with 1/2″ interior diameter)
- ratchet with socket
Lag anchor sleeve
- wood/metal epoxy
- tape measure
- chalk line marker
- small sledge hammer
- hacksaw or angle grinder
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.