How Far should a Mantle Stick Out?

Getting the dimensions of a mantel correct is essential for two reasons. Having the correct dimensions for your mantel helps protect all the objects you place over your fireplace from the heat. Two, having a mantel f the correct dimensions keeps your TV safe. This is particularly important if you intend to sit your TV on the mantel.

 Unfortunately, however, there are no universal dimensions for a fireplace mantel. Nevertheless, there are recommendations that you should consider when setting up your mantel.

How Far Should a Mantle Stick Out?

A mantel should stick out from the wall at least 6 inches. This distance is equivalent to 15.24 cm. This recommended length is essential for two reasons.

First, having your mantle stick out from the wall at least 6 inches preserves its aesthetic properties. Remember that your mantle is supposed to help improve the look and feel of your fireplace as well as the entire room. Having a too short or too long mantel will interfere with the look of your fireplace.

Two, the mantel usually serves the all-important function of storing some objects. People usually place objects on the mantel varying from framed photographs to even TVs. If you intend to sit your TV atop your mantel, then it is a good idea to ensure that the mantel extends out of the wall for at least 6 inches.

Fireplace Mantel Clearance

Observing the clearance distances for a mantel ensures that it serves its intended purpose and maintains the safety of everyone in the house. For example, it is recommended that combustible materials be kept at least 6 inches away from the fireplace. This is because combustible materials can catch fire easily if they are too near the fireplace’s opening.

 That said, the mantel should be about 12 inches above the opening of your fireplace. Therefore, the actual distance between the mantel and the fireplace’s opening should be the sum of 12 inches and the number of inches that mark the protrusion of the mantel off the wall. Thus, if a mantel is 6 inches deep from the wall, its height from the fireplace opening should be 18 inches.

Observing this distance ensures that the mantel serves its intended purpose of deflecting the heat from the fireplace’s opening.

What Is the Standard Size of a Fireplace Mantel?

The standard size of a fireplace mantel should be as follows: a 36-inch fireplace mantel should have a width of 48 inches. In addition, a 42-inch fireplace mantel should have a width of 54 inches. The guiding principle of determining the size of the mantel is that it should not be extensive that it reaches other parts of the wall of your house, including the windows and doors.

Generally, the width of the mantel’s shelf, when divided by 2, is always far, much less than the distance from the center of the fireplace to any other nearby item, including doors, adjacent walls, and windows.

How Wide Should a Fireplace Mantel Be?

Typically, the mantel should be slightly wider than the fireplace. This clearance is necessary to ensure that the fireplace mantel deflects all the warm air currents that come out of the firebox of your fireplace. It is common to get fireplace mantels at least 3 inches from the edge of the fireplace on both sides.

 It is also common to find fireplaces with mantels that are as wide as 6 inches from the edges of the fireplaces on both sides. There is no one fixed length by which the edges of the fireplace mantel should be from both ends of the fireplace.

How Long Should a Mantle Be?

The length of your fireplace mantel depends on the size of your room. If you have a large room, it would be best to go for an equally long mantel. For example, a mantel 6 inches long would suffice in a large room. Conversely, a shorter mantel of a face height of 4.5 inches would be ideal in a small room. Getting the fireplace with a mantel whose height suits your house helps maintain the overall look of your interior space.

How Deep Should a Mantle Be?

The depth of your mantel depends on the level of traffic taking place around it. If you were having a lot of traffic around the fireplace mantel, keeping it deep inside the wall would be best. This means that the projection of the mantel would be visibly small.

Alternatively, it would be best to use a small depth and leave a large chunk of the woodwork of the mantel protruding outside if you do not anticipate a lot of traffic around it. In practice, the depth of your fireplace mantel ranges anywhere from 10 to 12 inches.

How High Should a Mantle Be?

The mantel should be at least 4.5 inches from the room’s floor. The actual height from the fireplace opening should be at least 12 inches. It is essential to adhere to these recommendations to ensure that your house meets all the technical and safety recommendations.

How Thick Should a Fireplace Mantel Be?

The thickness of your mantel depends on the weight of the objects you would like to put atop the mantel. If you intend to sit heavy TV and other items on the mantel, it would be a good idea to have a slightly thick mantel. Ideally, the thickness of a fireplace mantel should be 7 inches. Some mantels can be as thick as 12 inches, while others may be as thin as 5 inches.

How High Should a Mantle Be Above a Wood Burner?

The height of your fireplace mantel should be the sum of 12 inches and the length of the depth of the fireplace mantel. Thus, if your fireplace mantel protrudes 6 inches outwards, its height should be 18 inches. The 18 inches is the sum of 12, which is the standard value, and the 6 inches, which is the equivalent of the depth of the fireplace mantel.

 This height is ideal to ensure that the mantel protects the items atop it from the heat that comes from the burner. For example, if you set a TV on the mantel at this recommended height, the chances are that the TV will be safe from the heat that comes off your burner.

Extending a Fireplace Mantel

You can extend your fireplace mantel to enable it to accommodate more comprehensive objects, including your TV. Extending your fireplace mantel is an easy task. Here is a breakdown of how you can go about this task.

  • The first step is to assemble all the materials and tools you need for the job. In this case, you will need an additional size of wood, about six wood screws, a hammer, drill, and paint.
  • Measure the existing mantel and decide the new dimensions that you need to add on both sides to extend it to the desired length
  • Cut the wood according to the new dimensions and place it at the correct positions relative to the mantel.
  • Secure the extension using the screws and finally paint it to match the original mantel.

How to Install a Fireplace Mantel – Step-By-Step

If you would like to replace your old fireplace mantel with a new one, you may not have to call a technician to do the job for you. With basic skills and an eye for following instructions, you can complete the job in a couple of hours. Here is a systematic guide on how you can install a fireplace mantel.

Step 1: Assembling the mantelpieces

Your mantel comes in the form of several pieces that are detached. It would help if you assembled them before finally installing the mantel over your fireplace. At this point, carefully slide the legs of the mantel into the shelf by ensuring that the dowels fully enter their designated holes. Next, tighten the leg seams by carefully pushing and twisting the legs.

Step 2: Dry fitting the mantel

Carefully lift the assembled mantel and place it around the fireplace. You can adjust the shims under the legs to ensure that the mantel perfectly fits around the fireplace. Next, use a pencil to draw the outline of the mantel around the fireplace. The outline will help you quickly and perfectly fit the mantel.

Step 3: Positioning the cleats

Carefully lay the mantel on the floor with its face down. Position the horizontal or top cleat by measuring the inside of the shelf and cutting a two by 4 to accommodate the measurement. Use a similar procedure to dry-fit the vertical cleats inside the legs of the mantel. Measure the inside length and cut two by 4 cleats before dry fitting them.

Step 4: Boring the pilot holes

Ensure that the edges of the legs and shelf of the mantel sit flush with the wall, then mark the distance on the wall. Mark the exact positions for the cleats by connecting the dots using a level. Make pilot holes through the cleats and the brick wall using a masonry tip attached to a hammer drill.

Step 5: Attaching the cleat and the mantel

Use 2.5-inch concrete screws to fasten the cleats on the cleats through the pilot holes. Hold the mantel up and align it with the markings you made in the previous steps. Ensure that all the edges of the mantel are flush against the wall. Secure the mantel in place by using the trim head screws.

Step 6: Finishing up

Use a hammer to drive the 4d nails through the molding into the mantel. The molding effectively covers the gap between the legs of the mantel and the bricks.


There are no strict dimensions for a fireplace mantel. Your choice of the size of a mantel depends on how large your house is. The rule of thumb is that the bigger the room, the larger the fireplace mantel.

Generally, the width of the fireplace mantel should be more comprehensive than that of the fireplace on both sides. This allowance enables the fireplace mantel to successfully dissipate all the heat from the fireplace. In addition, the fireplace mantel can protrude at least 6 inches from the wall.

This level of protrusion allows the fireplace to not only prevent the heat from the fireplace from damaging your equipment but also maintain the aesthetic qualities of your house. Finally, replacing your old fireplace mantel with a new one is a relatively easy DIY task. If you are not confident in your skills, it may be a good idea to get a technician to complete the task for you.