Updated: November 2017

Fireplace Mantel Reviews:

Recently a neighbor of mine that had never been in my house was visiting and noticed our nice fireplace mantels. I had never realized how lucky we were to move into a home that already had fireplace mantel shelves and fireplace surrounds. Our family room gas fireplace has a fireplace mantel shelve and our living room has the fireplace mantel surround. The difference between these two is that the shelve only goes across the top of the fireplace and the surround goes all around the fireplace, even down to the floor. I didn't know that some homes in our neighborhood don't have those decorative features with their fireplaces. In any event, I decided to look into mantels and surrounds to see how much they cost and what varieties are available. The two most popular styles of mantels and surrounds are those made with either wood or stone. The old brick surrounds found in many homes built during the 1970's and 1980's are no longer popular. Today, homeowners want custom stone work or decorative wood mantels to add elegance to their fireplaces.
fireplace mantel

Buying Guide - How much are these you ask? The simple wood mantel shelves over the fireplace can run as cheap as $300, but the more extravagent surrounds that are made with custom stone or tile can cost you well over $6000. A friend of mine does tile work and he gets fireplace surrounds to do periodically. His work is all custom and he can charge $2500 to $5000 for most jobs. The fireplace can be the center of attention in a living room or even a master bedroom and having a custom fireplace mantel done seems to be something homeowners are willing to fork out the big bucks for. Like I said above, our home came with some nice fireplace surrounds - wood mantels and tile work along the bottom. People who own electric fireplaces can also get surrounds for those units as well. Pricing varies, but we found several types on Fireplacemantels.com for $600 to $1000. Some surrounds are more extensive than others and include things like book shelves. The first step you need to accomplish before even looking at mantels, shelves or surrounds for your fireplace is to accurately measure the fireplace opening height, mantel width, and fireplace depth. Remember that stone mantels and surrounds will cost more than wooden ones. Installing fireplace mantels and surrounds should be left up to professionals since fitting these units can be exacting work. One thing that we found out is that if you already have a hard wood floor installed around your fireplace it can be hard to get a good "fit" with a new fireplace surround. The edges at the bottom will sometimes need to be reformed to fit nicely with your current hardwoods. If you have carpets then it should be much easier to get a seamless look. You can browse the top selling fireplace mantels online here.

Wood Fireplace Mantels:

We found the Sonata Mantel on Fireplacemantels.com which sells for $299.99-$499.99 (depending on the size). This mantel/surround is similar in style to the ones in our house. It was rated one of the "customers choice" selections on the website so we figured it must be a good starting point. The mantel is framed with birch or oak plywood and has top molding and fluted columns. The one big drawback is that the mantel ships as an unfinished piece meaning you get to stain or paint it yourself. The depth of the shelve is 6 1/2 inches while you can get a custom width from 70 to 80 inches and a height option between 51 3/4 inches all the way up to 55 3/4". The Florence Fireplace Surround starts at $379.99 and is another excellent choice for a surround. The wood trim and design are what make these fireplace surrounds so decorative and for the price it will really add some elegance to your living room or family room fireplace. Check out all the most popular wood fireplace mantels here.

Stone Surrounds:

Wood mantels are nice, but stone mantels and surrounds for your fireplace are that much better looking. Stone mantels will definitely cost much more ($5000+) than the wood options, but if you live in a new or updated home then the stone will bring out everything else. The King Louis Fireplace Surround ($5099.99) on Fireplacemantels.com is just one we can recommend. The unit has hand carved detailing, it's made with natural limestone, has arches in the design, and offers 2 finishes to choose from. We also visited Mantelsdirect.com online and liked their inventory as well. They carry cast stone mantels, marble mantels, and gypsum stone surrounds. Check with a tile installer or a fireplace specialty store for installs.

Custom Fireplace Mantels:

Some larger homes come with larger fireplaces which means custom mantel work. We found several websites that do custom fireplace mantels, shelves, and surrounds. Ageewoodworks.com offers granite, marble, and slate surrounds while Custommantels.com specializes in custom built wood mantels. Oldmillmantels is another site that has some beautiful work on it for custome mantels and surrounds. If you are not interested in ordering something over the Internet, I suggest contacting a local woodworker or custom tile fitter to see what they can do for you.