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Fireplace Mantels And Surrounds | Mantel Shelves 

Fireplace Mantels And Surrounds | Mantel Shelves 

Empty space around your fireplace can sometimes work very well with the feel of the room, but a mantel is often a nice addition to any fireplace! It can really enhance the style of the room regardless of your décor, has an ultra-modern feel to it (this steel shelf looks great), or if you want something a little more traditional like this gorgeous wood fireplace mantel.

Having a mantel allows you to put some of your favorite things on display. Family photos, knickknacks, or even a cute kitten incense burner can adorn your mantel and add a personalized, warmer touch to your fireplace. They also happen to be perfect for hanging Christmas stockings, just be sure to take them down when it comes time to roast chestnuts!

Some of our customers prefer a full entertainment wall featuring not only their fireplace, but also television, books, and a 'booming' sound system. We have some really beautiful fireplace media walls for those of you who are looking for the full package. Or, you can go with a pre-cast fireplace mantel. And for those who favor something more modern, the floating fireplace mantels really compliment contemporary fireplace decor. Consider investing in a fireplace hood as well to protect your new mantel and make cleaning your fireplace easier!

When it comes time to add fireplace accessories to your home, we’re happy to help you make the best choices and get the best high-quality fireplace accessories on the market.

What Are The Clearance Requirements For A Mantel Or Mantel Shelf?

Did you know that installing fireplace mantel shelves or surrounds without adequate clearance from the fireplace opening can be a dangerous fire hazard? It can lead to damage and injury, or worse. Most applications (wood-burning, gas-fueled, or electric) radiate heat from the front of the firebox, along the sides, up above the fireplace opening, and even down toward the hearth and floor area. Because of this, your mantel surround or shelf must be placed a safe distance away from the firebox. A non-combustible material (tile, marble, stone, concrete, etc.) is also required to be installed between the fireplace opening and your mantel. 

Many fireplace mantel shelves and surrounds are built from wood. As you can imagine, this material is combustible, so it is very important that the appropriate clearance is enforced and maintained. Since fire and building codes vary from state to state and town to town, it is the homeowner's responsibility to check on these ordinances prior to installation. These regulations are in place to protect life and property and to avoid creating unsafe situations that result in a fire. In the absence of codes, the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) highly recommends following the guidelines set by the National Fire Code and/or the National/Standard Building Codes.

We also have a nifty little blog with some great information pertaining to mounting a TV above your mantel or fireplace. Take some time to read over this information as it will help with this decision!

Fireplace Doors Online puts the safety of our customers first, and we're here to give you a heads up on the fireplace mantel clearance to combustibles issue so that you can enjoy your fireplace risk-free! 

National Fire Code

  • This ordinance states that any combustible material (such as a wood mantel surround or shelf) must be at least 6 inches from the fireplace opening.
  • In addition, for every 1/8 inch that a trim or molding piece on your mantel juts out, another 1 inch of clearance is needed.
    • For example: If a 3/8” of trim protrudes over the bulk of the mantel – you would need 9 inches of clearance from the firebox, minimum.
  • When installing a mantel shelf, don't forget to account for any brackets or corbels when measuring for the appropriate clearance!

National Standard Building Code

Masonry-Built Fireplaces
  • All combustible mantel surrounds and shelves must be kept at least 12 inches from the opening of your fireplace (top and sides).
  • In addition, if the side panels of your mantel project more than 1-1/2 inches from the fireplace facing, you will need additional clearance equal to this projection.
    • For example: If your side panels jut out 2 inches from the facing, an additional 2 inches of clearance will be needed from the fireplace opening to the sides of the mantel assembly.
  • When installing a mantel shelf, don't forget to account for any brackets or corbels when measuring for the appropriate clearance!

Factory-Built Fireplaces

  • All factory-built/prefab/zero-clearance applications must be testing-agency listed and installed in accordance with the agency's requirements. What this means for you is that you need to read and follow the manufacturer's guidelines in your owner's manual regarding fireplace mantel installation, safety and fire-hazard clearances, warnings, and usage. (If you do not have a manual, contact the manufacturer.)
  • Typically, “zero-clearance” means that the fireplace is recessed into the wall. Wood or framing can be installed tight against the insulated firebox. However, some of these prefab applications have instructions or labels that strictly require a ½ inch clearance to certain materials.
  • Make sure you are following the installation requirements found in your fireplace owner's manual, paying special attention to clearances and warnings!

Improper installation of a mantel surround or shelf can lead to personal injury or property damage. Play it safe by reading and adhering to all safety and fire clearance codes and/or manufacturer's instructions.