How To Install A Mantel On My Uneven Stone Fireplace [Step By Step Guide]

A stone fireplace mantel can be an aesthetic and practical addition to the fixture. But how can you install a mantel if your stone fireplace is uneven? We researched this concern for your convenience and here’s what we found.

First, make sure that you prepare the job site and yourself to avoid any accidents and injuries. Then, purchase the appropriate tools and materials needed for the job, which might include a commercially prepared mantel. Once prepared, follow these steps for the mantel installation on your uneven stone fireplace:

  1. Make the cleat
  2. Mount the cleat
  3. Install the mantel

It might look like a simple installation job at first. But it can still be quite easy to make mistakes if you miss important details. So continue reading as we talk about a mantel installation on an uneven stone fireplace in greater detail.

How Do You Attach A Mantel To An Uneven Stone Fireplace?

Before you proceed with this task, it’s important to prepare and secure yourself and the work area. So take note and follow safety practices like:

  • Ensure that the fireplace and nearby elements are secure. Repair and/or replace any broken or worn objects to prevent onsite accidents and injuries.
  • Check your home’s blueprints. That way, you can avoid harming important components, such as joists, plumbing lines, and electrical wiring.
  • Document your plan for tackling this project. Avoid improvising steps for you might botch the installation job.
  • Wear protective equipment. Equip yourself with safety gloves, goggles, and other safety gear to increase your protection against hazardous elements.

Stone fireplace with fire in home interior

Also, if you believe that you don’t have the confidence, resources, and skill to continue this job, don’t hesitate to call industry experts for help. Otherwise, follow these steps to proceed with this DIY mantel installation operation for your uneven stone fireplace:

What You’ll Need

  • 2x4 wooden pieces
  • Level
  • Steel tape
  • Pen or pencil
  • Drill
  • Screws

tools and materials for making DIY mantel. How-To-Install-A-Mantel-On-My-Uneven-Stone-Fireplace-[Step-By-Step-Guide]

Step-by-Step Guide

Step #1: Make The Cleat

A cleat or wedge-shaped block functions by supporting the mantel during the installation. You can make a cleat by cutting some 2x4s to size. Ensure that the cleat or block has a level surface to prevent a misaligned mantel installation. Also, the cleat should be slightly smaller than your mantel.

Step #2: Mount The Cleat

Next, measure the width of the fireplace and mark the center with a pen or pencil. Then, mark the center of your cleat. Place the cleat to the fireplace while making sure that both centers align. Once mounted, place a level on top of the cleat to ensure it’s parallel to the ground. If not, adjust it until it’s level.

Look for mortar joints in the stone fireplace. Use those areas as a guide to place marks on your cleat. These new marks will be for the bolts to secure the cleat to the fireplace. Remove the cleat from the fireplace temporarily, then drill the holes in those marked areas.

With the cleat prepared, place it in the same area as before. Hold the cleat while another person drills holes into the fireplace through the pilot holes in the wooden structure. Drive a wedge anchor into the newly created hole. Repeat this portion of this step for the rest of the pilot holes and secure them accordingly.

Step #3: Install The Mantel

Slide the mantel over the cleat. Secure by drilling screws into the mantel and cleat assembly. Don’t forget to check if the mantel is level. Make adjustments before finalizing the installation so you won’t run into issues.

Check out this fireplace mantel on Amazon.

The video below will show you a visual representation of the steps mentioned above:

Take note that the risks of committing mistakes are always present when doing DIY home renovation projects. For instance, you could puncture a gas line while working with your stone fireplace. So read our post on how to tell if your gas fireplace has a leak for your safety.

How Do You Make A Mantel?

If you choose to make a mantel instead of buying the unit from a reliable retailer, follow these steps to complete this project: 

What You’ll Need

  • Circular saw
  • Miter saw
  • Wood glue
  • Sander
  • Wood stain (optional)
  • Paintbrush (optional)

tools and materials needed in making a mantel on fireplace. How To Install A Mantel On My Uneven Stone Fireplace [Step By Step Guide]

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Cut the lumber according to your planned dimensions with a circular saw.
  2. Use a miter saw on all of the edges of the cut wooden pieces.
  3. Apply wood glue on the areas of the wood that’ll support the connected pieces.
  4. Attach the wooden pieces to form the mantel.
  5. Use clamps on the wooden mantel to secure it until the wood glue dries and cures.
  6. Use a sander to remove the excess wood glue from the mantel.
  7. Finish the wooden mantel if desired.

You can also purchase a commercially prepared mantel if you don’t like making one from scratch. But take note that buying a mantel might be more expensive than building one yourself, albeit you may save extra cash if you do.

Check out this fireplace mantel shelf on Amazon.

You can also watch the video below for a visual guide of the steps mentioned above:

How Do I Choose A Fireplace Mantel?

Take note that your stone fireplace mantel selection is just as important as the installation process. So think about the following factors if you’re still choosing the ideal mantel for your uneven stone fireplace.

Natural Gas Insert Fireplace built with stone and wood


You don’t want the mantel to be too large or too small for the fireplace. The following guidelines may help you in choosing the correct mantel size to fit your space’s requirements:

  • Width: A mantel that’s about 3 to 12 inches wider than the fireplace’s firebox should suffice.
  • Height: Typically, the mantel should sit approximately 4-1/2 inches above the fireplace’s hearth.

You can also read our post on the correct width of a fireplace mantel to help you gain additional insight into this subject matter.


Ensure that your chosen mantel fits the room’s theme. For example, a straight edge mantel could help enhance a room with a traditional aesthetic. You can also match the material of the fireplace mantel with other objects in the space for a uniform look.

Some examples of mantel styles to choose from are:

  • Contemporary: Ideal for fireplaces and living spaces prioritizing simple designs.
  • Traditional: Presents a classic approach to highlight a fireplace’s vintage features.
  • Transitional: Often possesses different aesthetic features to help bridge the gap between contemporary and traditional designs.
  • Rustic: Has traits that typically aim to enhance the coziness of the room.


Fireplace mantels usually come in different materials. You can find options made of wood, metal, brick, and stone.

If you want a wooden mantel, make sure to choose one that can withstand the heat coming from the fireplace. Some ideal choices are:


Although classified as a softwood, pine is a relatively common wood used in many fireplace mantels because of its fire-resistant properties. In particular, the Canary Island pine is one of the most fire-resistant pine species, allowing it to have a better chance of surviving forest fires than other plants.

Red Alder

Red alder typically has a uniform texture, which might make it a good choice for contemporary living spaces. This type of wood can also resist low- to moderate-intensity fires.


Aside from being an excellent candidate for a fireplace mantel, oak wood is a type of hardwood with high levels of fire and water resistance. Oftentimes, it may not even need staining to increase its resistant properties.


As a type of firewood, hickory can also be a good choice for a fireplace mantel. Lumber from the hickory tree often has high heat resistance properties. Its durability and thickness also make it difficult to cut and split, making it resilient to breaking from external forces.


Walnut is a kind of tight-grained wood with a dense structure. If polished, it can have a smooth finish that can make a fireplace mantel made out of this material act like a shelf. Aside from having fairly high heat resistance, walnut wood also has excellent rot resistance, allowing it to have great longevity.

But keep in mind that walnut usually becomes darker over the years. Take this color change into account, especially if you’re particular with your living space’s aesthetics.

How Deep Should A Mantel Be?

Generally, a mantel should be about seven inches deep. With this depth, it should provide sufficient space to allow the fixture to act as a shelf. This measurement also helps to allow you to hang decorative objects without them becoming fire hazards.

Fireplace mantel or mantelpiece. How To Install A Mantel On My Uneven Stone Fireplace [Step By Step Guide]

Final Thoughts

Mantel installation often demands careful planning and the correct execution of the procedure’s steps. But don’t forget to secure your tools, the area, and yourself to prevent mishaps before, during, and after the job.

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