What is the Purpose of a Fireplace Mantel?

A fireplace mantel is a hood that projects over the fireplace box. Wood-burning fireplaces were used in the medieval period, and the mantel helped to catch smoke. The mantel prevented the smoke from entering the home. Times passed, and smokeless fireplaces like gas and electricity were invented. The purpose of the mantel was also changed to be a decorative feature.

Nowadays, the mantel is built big, going up to the ceiling. Doing so adds aesthetics to your home. Mantels are built with different designs and materials that make the room look elegant. Some natural stones and concrete can also create a beautiful mantel. Simple designs and styles blend in with your home, but complex styles will make your home stand out.

Primary Purpose of the Fireplace Mantel

From the introduction, the purpose of the mantel can be divided into traditional and modern purposes. The mantel’s traditional or original intent was to catch smoke escaping into your living space. The extension on the firebox ensured that smoke only went out through the chimney. It also prevented the flying embers from entering the room.

Modern Purposes of the Fireplace Mantel

1. Decorative tool

Since the invention of electric and gas fireplaces, the mantel’s primary purpose changed to adding aesthetics to a room. The different designs and styles of mantels make your home look excellent. Some designers use unique materials like marbles to make the mantel colorful. Some people create a social class by using expensive materials like gold and diamond.

You can mix and match the mantel to go with other things in your home like the furniture and the wall. Mantels that go up to the ceiling make your home stand out. Paint your mantel with a dull color because bright colors can fade from the excess heat from the fireplace.

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2. Protects the area around the fireplace

A mantel offers protection to the wall around the fireplace. It cushions the area from excess heat in the fireplace. Wooden and dry walls require a mantel made from a heavy material. Such types of walls are vulnerable to destruction by excess heat.

3. Protects the fireplace

A mantel is a projection on the firebox, this projection hides the fireplace, and no agent of destruction can easily access it. Falling objects and pets will not easily reach the fireplace. Electric and gas fireplaces are very delicate and require adequate protection. The cap-like shape of the mantel will ensure your expensive fireplace remains safe in the firebox.

4. It is an exemplary display area.

The mantel is the focal point of view in a house. Hence it is an excellent place to display your trophies and pictures. Your guests will quickly read your achievements and success from the mantel. You can also add one or two music system speakers to the mantel, and the whole display will be perfect.

5. Increases the value of your home

Interior designers create unique mantels that make your home look attractive to potential buyers. The real estate business is a harsh industry, but small things like the style of the mantel can change the buyer’s decision. The seller will also take advantage and charge a higher price on the home. However, spend an average amount of money on the mantel because you will recover when you sell the house.

Care and Maintenance Tips for Fireplace Mantels

Of course, the number one care tip is always to clean the fireplace mantel. Experts say you must clean the fireplace after every use. If you do not have much time, do it once a week. Clean the soot if you are using a wood-burning fireplace. Accumulation of soot can lead to stains and damage. After one or two months, you must do a deep cleaning to remove hidden particles.

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Do not clutter material on the mantel. Too many things on the mantel will exert force and can even break it. On the other hand, the material clutter on the mantel will make it hard to clean. The mess can also cause structural damage to the mantel.

Avoid foodstuffs and beverages on the mantel because they can sweat and destroy the mantel. Immediately clean the accidental spills on the mantel, or else they can stain. Moisture is unsuitable for a wooden mantel and can even lead to mold and mildew.

Paint your wooden mantel with sealants to prevent it from fading. Sealants will make old wood look new, and smoke will not affect the wood. Use natural oils on the wooden mantel to enhance its lifetime.


The mantel was originally used to prevent smoke from entering your home. It also stopped flying embers from reaching flammable materials. Nowadays, it is a decorative tool in different styles and designs. It also protects the fireplace and the area around the fireplace from smoke stains and excess heat. It adds value to your home because of the unique nature of the mantel.

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