Even though a lot of homes these days are opting for modern central heating systems, the traditional fireplace continues to be a warm and loving place to gather around as a family.

For many years, they were the main focal points of any living room and they just had this aura of appealing elegance that brought everything else in the room together.

The great news is that you can still enjoy the majestic beauty of the fireplace by creatively refinishing your mantel, and making it the beautiful focal point it should be. If you don’t know how to go about this, don’t worry. 

Keep reading to learn how to refinish a fireplace mantel and make it look brand new once again! 

“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation."  Michael Jordan

Start by Stripping Down the Old Finish 

Start by stripping down the old paint. Source: Aesthetic Interiors
Start by stripping down the old paint. Source: Aesthetic Interiors

If you want your fireplace to look brand new, then you’ll have to start by stripping down the old finish. Painting or staining on top of an old paint job will only lead to a bumpy ugly look, and the new coat would easily crack and peel away in no time. Start right from scratch to get that refreshing new mantel look that you want. 

The primary purpose of stripping is to get rid of as much finishing as possible to access the mantel’s raw wood. You’ll also need to sand the wood to get it ready for the next layer of finishing.

Apply a Little Stain 

The easiest and perhaps the best way to refinish your mantel is to apply a new stain. There are many options to choose as far as stains go, and while a dark espresso tone is very popular right now, choose whatever fits your decor better.

Important: Before you start working, it’s important to test out the stain on a piece of wood and just see how it looks before applying it to the fireplace. The only thing you need to do here is to make sure the stain can match up to the rest of the wood tones in the room. 

How to: Typically, the stain is applied in two layers. Just use a foam brush to apply the first layer and let it rest on the wood for at least 15 minutes. After that, wipe off the excess stain with a dry cloth gently and then apply a second layer. Wipe it off after 15 minutes and let it dry for 24 hours.

The Clean Up

The white paint job makes the space look refreshing! Source: Den Garden
The white paint job makes the space look refreshing! Source: Den Garden

Once you have finished applying the stain, it’s time to clean up your workspace. If there are any drops on the floor, clean them up before they dry. 

Pay attention to the sanded materials, too. A vacuum cleaner should be able to get rid of it without any issues. It’s important to also collect all your tools for cleaning. 

Don’t clean the stained or painted mantel immediately. It’s always recommended to wait for 24 to 48 hours before wiping it clean with a dry cloth. 

Painting the Mantel 

If you don’t like the look of natural wood or if it doesn’t match your current decor, you always paint the fireplace and mantel. White is a very popular look this year, whether your mantle is made of wood or brick. 

Just follow the same preparation procedures above but instead of applying the stain, go for a coat of paint instead. That’s it! 

Tips to Keep in Mind 

  • It’s always advisable to apply a primer coat before painting a fireplace. This often helps the paint to hold to the wood better.
  • Apply a sealer coat after staining or painting, to protect the finish and make sure it will last long. 
  • Always shake the sealer and the stain thoroughly before you start applying it on the mantel. 
  • Make sure that any excess stain is wiped off immediately before it dries up on the wood.

Don’t have the patience or time to refinish a fireplace mantel yourself? Contact a local pro and request a free quote! 


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