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Perry401 09-26-2011 09:48 PM

Attaching heavy mantle
I have been helping at a house that has a fireplace. The walls are 4 inch cinder block with brick veneer on the outside, a thin air space and some sort of plaster board covered with 1/2 inch of plaster on the inside. At one time this house had a mantle, as can be seen in other houses built at the same time by the same developer in the area. These are amazingly uniform in size, design, etc.

The new owner wants to install a mantle again. (An elderly neighbor said the mantle was removed around 1960 to make the fireplace more "modern".) The mantles in other homes in the area are sandstone about 3 inches thick and about 5 feet long and 14 inches deep. They were supported by sandstone cornices about 6 inches square projecting from the cinder block wall.

The new owner wants to install a heavy oak mantle. I have thought of several ways to attach this, but believe the best would involve drilling into the stone cornice pieces which are still built into the wall (the projecting parts were cut off and plastered over in the re-muddeling). What would the best anchor type be to use for this application. I was thinking of using hilti expansion anchors, but someone else suggested using an epoxy bolt anchor system since this system would not put stresses on the sandstone which may have developed stress faults during the demolition of the projection portions of the cornices.

Any advice would be welcome!

Bud Cline 09-26-2011 10:36 PM

I think I would find a way to use a toggle reaching into the cells of the block.:)

BigJim 09-27-2011 01:54 AM


Originally Posted by Bud Cline (Post 736689)
I think I would find a way to use a toggle reaching into the cells of the block.:)

I agree with Bud, I have used 2X4s toggle bolted to a block wall in the past, just leave enough hollow in the back of the mantel to slip over the 2X4.

Mr Chips 09-27-2011 05:08 AM

Toggles will work fine as long as the block isn't grout filled, and if you are lucky enough that the voids fall inline with your preferred anchor locations.

The downside is if you plan to use, say a 1/4" toggle you'll need to drill a 5/8" hole and if you do that and find out then that the block is filled, your options will be fewer if the design of the mantle won't allow you to change your anchor locations. You could also run into trouble if you can't see the block, and end up drilling into the solid web or end of the block, instead of the void. And even if you hit the void on one end, doesn't guarentee that your hole will land in the void on the other end. Because you are hanging what sounds like a solid wood mantle, you might be able to simply move over and drill a new anchor hole, but it's something to keep in mind if what you hope to do won't allow this.

If you won't easily be able to relocate your anchor points, you might be better off drilling a small diameter hole in one or two locations, just to verify what your up against, and making a plan based on that.

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