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I have a very rough stone fireplace for which I'd like to hang a new mantel. Eventually I want to hang a flat screen and the new mantel will protect it from heat and such.

I have noodled this project and noodled it and have not been able to land on a decent solution. I'm open to ideas. I've considered chiseling high places and building up a mortared flat plane. I've even thought about using an angle grinder... and quickly dismissed the idea. All of these ideas have their pros and cons.

As for mounting: hidden channel bracket mounting, iron under brackets (which I really like), even hidden rods that go into the mantel. As my mantel piece is probably about 50-70 pounds, how I mount it greatly depends on how sure I am of the surface I'm mounting to.

In the end, the issue is: what is the best way to mount it to this surface!?

I'm a blank slate for ideas. Thank you!

The mantel piece is about 5' long and about 8" high.

Fireplace wall - image 1

Fireplace wall - image 2

New mantel to hang - image 3

Here's a view from the attic crawl space. On the left is the chimney. On the right is the masonry, to which the rock is attached.

Masonry in the attic - image 4

  • Nice looking mantel what species is that? Have a look at the way it was done here fourgenerationsoneroof.com/…. On your fp I would get the mantel fitted dry onto the rods then tape around the piece remove it and address the highest points wit angle grinder with diamond blade then the lowest spots with filler of mortar repeat until you have a reasonably flat plane inside the taped area. Then proceed with epoxy in the holes and temp brace it at level until set. – Kris Mar 30 at 1:18
  • Is the stone natural stone with a masonry backer? Or is it a much thinner veneer stone over cement board and framing or wire lath and wood framing? Age of the house could give a small clue, but not as definitive as first hand knowledge... – Jack Mar 30 at 3:25
  • It was a HUGE find! It's a piece of heart liquid amber (sweetgum) I found at a salvage lumber yard. – Jim Nowak Mar 30 at 17:40
  • @Jack I was wondering the same thing. The house was built in '78. It looks like these are natural stones with a masonry backing. I climbed up into the attic and took some picks... I'll add one above. – Jim Nowak Mar 30 at 17:43
  • @Kris - ok, thanks for that link! I had found rod systems on Amazon, but this is better! I hadn't thought about how practical it would be to just epoxy them into the holes. It makes sense. – Jim Nowak Mar 30 at 17:54
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The first step is to put the hidden fasteners in. Like you said, I would use a rod system and epoxy it into the stone so that they won't come out.

As far as getting it to sit on a flat plane, I wouldn't chisel the block out. I would build up the area where the mantel will sit with a mortar that is colored to match the stone face. You can pick up mortar tints, like the Quickrete Mortar Tints. Just use a thicker mortar and mask off the areas that you don't want to get covered. Build up in layers if you are laying it thick. Just cover the area that you want the mantle to sit.

  • So: 1. build up a flat plain. 2. Use epoxy to level a rod system. 3. Drill it in permanently with epoxy into the masonry. 3. hang the mantel using epoxy between the rods and wood... does that sound about right? – Jim Nowak Mar 30 at 17:50
  • Kris had made a comment above with a link. What you're saying here makes even more sense. I think I may have found a way to do this. Thank you. – Jim Nowak Mar 30 at 17:56
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Since the stone is backed by masonry, that is the structure, the masonry backer. The stone facing is stacked against the backer and is typically stuck on no better than what the little it takes to keep from falling off. It typically is not intended to support materials hanging off the stone, it could pop out of its placement. This is why in the article that Kris linked the rebar is drilled into the stone 12". Most stacked stone veneers I have seen are around 5" thick over the backer and the 12" deep drilled holes will allow the rebar to anchor in the real structure, not just the facing. If your stone is only 5" as well, you may not need to go 12", 9" will get you 4" into the backer which is plenty. Be sure you clean the dust out the hole!!! With a brush and use a tube extension on the air nozzle to blow air into the bottom of the hole. Just at the opening will not clean out the hole!!!

The only other issue I see that may occur, is if the block work that makes up the backer is hollow block. when the holes are drilled for the rebar and epoxy, you will find that firs hand. If it is hollow, you will not have anything that will contain the epoxy, so you may use a screen tube but it is necessary to use one that is long enough to reach the void if you find any. You will not need one as fancy as the one in the link, but it has its advantages as mentioned in the link.

  • Thank you. From what I can tell rock on this wall are about 4-5" thick. I don't think that's cinder block on the backing (meaning hollow) from what I saw in the attic. Your comment underscores all this as it was a concern of mine. It looks like my research is over as to the plan. Now I just need to know how to build the mortar plane. – Jim Nowak Mar 31 at 20:23
  • If you mean the mortar that will fill the gap behind the mantel once it is in place, you will see it will be much easier to figure, once you get the mantel situated. – Jack Apr 1 at 3:21
  • Ok, I get it. Thank you. – Jim Nowak Apr 3 at 1:45

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