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I am new to posting on this site but have been reading it for a while! My wife asked me to redo our fireplace mantel. When I got the drywall off I noticed that the studs are not exactly uniform. I want to install a VERY basic wood square mantel. Does anybody have suggestions on the best way to

  1. build the mantel?
  2. Attach it securely to the wall using the stud layout?

The studs:

enter image description here

The mantel I would like to build:

enter image description here

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The studs are likely following a standard layout such as 16 inches on center (16 oc) this is so that plywood/sheetrock will typically fall on a stud without the need to cut the 8 or 12 foot piece. For your application, I would recommend (based on similar jobs in the past):

  1. Inserting 2 x 4 blocks horizontally in between the vertical studs at the edge of the sheetrock and the edge of the insert It looks as if three would be more than enough. Secure with framing nails or screws (screws would be practical in this application). This will provide vertical anchor points for the vertical section of your wood surround.

  2. Mark on the sheetrock the location of the studs for future location purposes

  3. At this point you can secure the surround to the framing, or you can attach the backerboard for the tile to the framing and then attach the surround to the backer board. In this case, attaching the surround directly to the framing may give a cleaner final look. Typically surrounds are made to attach to a ledger board (basically a piece of wood secured to the framing), and the surround then rests on the ledger and is secured with trim nails, etc.

  4. Attach your backer board for the tile. (dura rock etc.) Be sure to use screws about every 6 inces in the studs. You want the backer to be as secure as possible in order to prevent future cracking.

Here is a link that shows a similar project, take a look at the ledger. in most cases, guys will use a simple 2 x 4 for the ledger (Note, I have no affiliation with the link).

I would recommend taping the seams of the backer board with fiber tape, and and filling the tape with thinset when attaching the tile.

I hope this helps!

  • The hard part of this install is getting it to look like the picture below. The fireplace he has may not be able to just show the opening. Not sure what the heat rating is on the bottom or top parts of the chamber are. But manufacturer will tell you if you can durarock over them - if they get too hot the durarock will eventually have issues. So then he would have to have a little bigger cut out. – DMoore Oct 1 '14 at 16:46
  • I agree that it will be difficult to match the image entirely, and am assuming that they are willing to live with the decorative features built into the insert. This looks like a standard contractor grade decorative insert. The options are to either live with the insert or replace. – Richard Mudd Oct 1 '14 at 17:23

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