fireplace upgrade

Learn How to Upgrade Your Fireplace Mantel and Hearth – Simple Tutorial

Fireplace Upgrade for the Mantle and Hearth

Before we sold our rental home, I wanted to recover the outside hearth because fingernail polish was spilled on it and would not come off of the cement I put on. I also needed to replace my mantle because it randomly started warping on one side and was not level. These are such easy fixes and I will show you what I did. 

Materials Needed For Fireplace Upgrade

brad nailer
3 inch screws
Dap plastic wood
Henry feather finish
bucket or something to mix finish in
finishing trowel

The Before

fireplace upgrade

Fixing the Mantle

First thing for the mantle is to build a base out of 2X4s. I wanted this to overhang an inch on all sides. To build a base you just measure how big you need it and make a kind of box. The one side against the wall, then you add 2X4 the length you need every like foot or 8 inches, what you think you need, for the base to be structurally sound. 

Remember to use a drill bit before sinking the screws in or the boards will split. I used 3 inch screws. 

We have little slated concrete above the fireplace, so I’m shimming it with a 1/2 inch mdf piece. 

I attached the base to the studs. I wanted it a little taller so the molding on the fireplace isn’t covered. So I added an extra piece of pine on top of the base. 

fireplace upgrade
fireplace upgrade

You won’t see that top piece I added. It’s going to be covered by another piece of pine. 

Next, you add a piece of pine to the sides of your mantle base. I used a brad nailer to do this. 

fireplace upgrade

Next, you add your front piece! I just used pine and a brad nailer to do this. 


I filled all the holes with Dap plastic wood filler. Then, I sanded them down. 

I found this stain combination from @comestayawhile! I used one coat of Varathane provincial and two coats of antique white. 

Fixing in the Outside Hearth

fireplace upgrade

I’m going redo my feather finish on the fireplace because there was a mishap with fingernail polish. I did a feather finish over a year ago over marble. Here is a link of how I did that. 

First, you want to tape the area all off, just like you would painting. I could not find a bucket and only had a paint tin. You mix it up and want a peanut butter consistency. 


There is no special technique, just spread it around. 

After it dried, I sanded the rough spots. When I seal the concrete it will be one color and not show the sanded spots. 

fireplace upgrade
fireplace upgrade

After the concrete is dried and sanded you can seal it. You need to let it cure for 48 hours after you seal it. 

The After

fireplace upgrade

This was such a fun and easy upgrade to the fireplace. I am so excited the new owners get to enjoy it. 

If you love it, you can pin it

fireplace upgrade
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