The Fall season is upon us. As those crisp Autumn nights transition into the downright chilly nights of Winter, there is no better time than now to start thinking about your fireplace. We can all close our eyes and imagine curling up by the fire while we sip on a hot mug of delicious cocoa or a rich and satisfying glass of red wine. However, what if your mantel surround leaves much to be desired? Like any picture or painting, it needs the right frame to truly enhance its beauty; hence, the fireplace demands a functional yet aesthetically pleasing surround. Maybe you are in need of just a simple shelf to display your favorite holiday decor, or maybe you need a complete surround that compliments the architectural style of your home. Whatever you need, our signature McCoy Millwork Mantels can be the perfect solution, however, there are several factors to take into account so in order to get everyone on the right page I reached out to our in-house Mantel Specialist, Juli Wales, to give us the down low.
#1-What makes our mantels and mantel selection unique?
- McCoy manufactures what I like to call Template Mantels. This means the mantels have been pre-designed and the shop has pre-planned the construction with jigs and spreadsheets which make the process quicker by saving time on planning. Templates allow us to offer custom fit mantels with a competitive, off the shelf price.
- All of our mantels have been designed with popular NW home styles in mind and we incorporate classic and/or modern design elements into all of our templates.
#2-What are some key considerations I should take into account before ordering?
- Local building codes come into play for all wood mantels. Wood burning fireplaces have very specific instructions on the distance your mantel must be from the fire box. Gas fireplaces and inserts have installation instructions that must be followed for safe installation. All fireplace mantels must follow the appropriate guide for “clearance to combustibles” for the given situation. Check with your local building code office or installation manual for more information.
- Measuring is, of course, very important. We have measurement forms and instructions online as downloadable pdfs. We also have a local measurement service. When measuring your existing fire box, it’s important to consider and measure surrounding items such as Window and door openings, as well as the location of light switches, electrical outlets and gas keys.
- McCoy Millwork’s Mantels install over surrounding tile/stone/brick. The fireplace Surround and hearth should be finished before ordering a mantel.
- Tile surrounds featuring a pattern should be planned at the same time as the mantel for a coordinated, attractive appearance.
- Consider the Style of the room. Are there existing mouldings? Choose a mantel that coordinates with the existing moulding.
- Decide if you would like a painted or stained mantel.
- Paint grade mantels are commonly made from MDF (medium density Fiberboard). MDF free mantels are available by request.
- Common woods are Red and White Oak, Cherry, Maple, Mahogany and Fir. Less common woods are also a possibility; check into available choices and pricing.
- Be prepared to find a painter and carpenter or handy many to help with installation if you are not comfortable with these tasks. McCoy Millwork does not have a paint shop for staining or painting, but we can arrange for a simple clear coat during manufacturing.
#3-Can I use a McCoy mantel in any space?
- All our mantels are manufactured for installation on a flat wall. Any corners or “bump outs” require custom fitting on site by a finish carpenter.
- Mantels normally take a fair bit of space. Walls with limited space on the sides, close windows or minimal tile may require a custom planned mantel, changes to the space or a built-on-site custom mantel. See item 6 below for more information on customizing mantels.
#4-What if my firebox is not wood burning but has a gas insert?
- Most new gas inserts have minimal “clearance to combustible” requirements. See Question #2 for code information. If you are installing a new gas firebox inside an existing space, and not in a wall cavity, a mantel can be designed to fit around the structural box that encases the firebox and holds the tile.
#5-How do I know how and what to measure?
- The mantel installs on the wall but fits around the firebox and tile on the sides, top and front. You’ll need to find, and measure, the widest, tallest, and deepest points of the tile surround.
- Be sure to measure all around the perimeter for the deepest measurement. Pay close attention to the center of brick fireboxes. It is not uncommon for the brick to bow out slightly in the middle. For deep or uneven brick or stone surrounds a level is helpful for finding the depth. Place the level on the face of the surround and measure from the wall to the back of the level.
- Measure the width at the top, middle and bottom across the face of the surround.
- Measure the height from the floor or hearth to the top left corner, right corner and middle.
2. Measure the distance to architectural items on the wall; windows, doors, switches and outlets.
#6-What if I want something outside of the templates offered?
- McCoy Millwork can help you design a custom mantel. Send us your inspiration photos or drawings for a quote. If you can envision it, chances are we can make it!
- Many of our mantels can be scaled down for small spaces and cabinet mantels.
- Reference item 3 above for space requirements.
- If you are looking for traditional Built-In mantel, including side bookcases, benches or a tie-in to window casings, you will need to hire a finish carpenter and have it built on site.
- Reasons for a custom mantel.
- Limited space between windows
- Narrow wall
- Unique or preferred design
- Built-in requirements.
While the process may seem a little overwhelming, you definitely want to make sure to do your research. Our sales team is ready and willing to consult with you in order to get your project started. We, also, offer an onsite measuring service (Covid-19 guidelines apply) so you can insure that your measurements are accurate and that our mantels can work for your space. Because our mantels are custom built with a precise amount of detail and craftsmanship, you want to allow yourself 3-4 weeks for production. As a premier supplier of quality Millwork in the Portland area since 1946, we are your go to resource!