Wood Mantel Surrounds are a center piece of the overall fireplace design. They are offered in a wide range of styles which can be finished in a natural stain or painted. Wood mantels and other combustible products must maintain proper clearances from the fireplace opening. The Mantel clearance requirements for wood and gas burning technologies can be found in the fireplace manufacturer's installation manual.
Stone or "Precast" Mantel Surrounds are increasingly popular because of the unique designs and the ability to be installed up to the fireplace opening. They are made from either a light weight concrete mix or a plaster (gypsum) material. Both of these materials are a noncombustible product. The concrete mix mantel surrounds can be installed in their natural color (beige) or painted to fit the décor of the home. The lower priced plaster mantel surrounds utilize a white gypsum material instead of the concrete mix. The plaster cast product is lighter weight, less durable and requires painting to complete the finish look.
There are two Styles of Mantels
Mantel surrounds are the traditional style of mantels which have a shelf and two vertical legs.
Mantel shelves hang on the wall with no vertical legs to support itself.