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operagost 01-08-2010 01:34 PM

Exposed wood mantel
I recently discovered something in my recently purchased stone home that escaped the notice of both the inspector and me. The wooden mantel that is installed on my fireplace actually extends about 5 inches below the stone. I suspect the previous owner hadn't used the fireplace since it was installed, because there doesn't appear to be any soot on the wood (although there is a little soot staining the older hardwood flooring in front of the fireplace). Does this sound like a potential fire hazard, and if so, what should we do to protect the mantel? *

* Please ignore for now the other issues we know about, like possibly needing a sweep.

Billy_Bob 01-10-2010 12:06 AM

I don't understand what you mean by 5 inches below the stone?

What you can do is place a thermometer there and keep an eye on it while you have fires going in the fireplace.

Then the ignition temperature of wood is around 572 degrees F.

user1007 01-14-2010 12:20 AM

Assuming your chimney is swept out and the fireplace drafts well, I don't see that you have any risk issues with this. If you have tall flames licking at the mantle, whether or not five inches below the stone, you have other issues to worry about.

If it is a simple mantle, you could pull it apart, trim it down, and put it back up. It was probably that the thing came in a standard size and someone slapped it on to be done with a project?

By the way, I do nag my clients relentlessly to at least have their chimneys inspected once a year and swept as needed. You would be surprised how much stuff builds up in them. And chimney sweeps work cheap and are a lot cheaper than a fire!

operagost 01-14-2010 01:58 PM

Billy Bob, the stone opening for the fireplace is several inches taller than the mantel that was placed on over it. Thus, some of the back of the mantel is exposed to the fire.

Thanks for your advice. I had thought this was not a concern considering the (lack of) proximity to the fire, but I needed some confirmation. I'll focus on getting the chimney inspected and swept.

tpolk 01-14-2010 05:38 PM

one good fire and you wont have to dismantle the mantle
plese remove

operagost 01-14-2010 10:21 PM

terse replies are confusing please elucidate

Scuba_Dave 01-14-2010 10:29 PM

Do you have a picture ?

What is the distance from the bottom of the fireplace to the wood mantel ?
From where a log would sit to the wood mantel ?
Wood will char at lower temps

tpolk 01-15-2010 07:05 AM

sounds like your mantel is below the top of the firebox opening which exposes it to open flame this is how i read your post. I know they make a heat resistant brush on material called no char that was used at times when mantels in old construction were to close to firebox for code and safety. Yours sounds like it is part of the fireplace opening which promps ...please remove

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