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Terms to Know About Mantels

A fireplace or insert can be wonderful for enjoying the beauty and warmth of a fire in the wintertime. If you are looking to purchase a decorative mantel on which family pictures and other ornaments can be displayed, you can even hire someone to custom design and make a piece just for you in many different types of material. Here are some terms to be familiar with in this area.

  • Mantel - This refers to the entire ornamental frame surrounding the fireplace opening, including the top shelf.
  • Breast - The horizontal portion directly above the opening, often supported by the legs or corbels although it can be mounted directly into the brick.
  • Legs - The vertical supports on either side of the opening that support the breast.
  • Insert - A metal stove that slides into the opening and that will burn wood. The chimney must be of adequate height and should be inspected and cleaned prior to insert installation.
  • Hearth - The flooring inside the opening on which a fire can burn. A hearth will usually extend into the room and can be paved with brick, stone or cement.
  • Corner piece - A shelf designed so that it fits over a corner stove, which is often electric so no chimney is required.
  • Veneer - A very thin strip of wood glued on top of another material to give the appearance that the entire piece is made of the same material as the veneer.
  • Patina - The film of copper carbonate that forms on bronze or copper and occurs with aging, creating a distinctive look.
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    Foster-Taylor Fireplaces Inc
    68677 Highway 59, Mandeville, LA 70471
    (985) 893-2400
    Foster-Taylor Fireplaces Inc
    410 N Alexander St, New Orleans, LA 70119
    (504) 482-7143
    Preservation Salvage Store
    2801 Marais St, New Orleans, LA 70117
    (504) 947-0038

    A fire place can become the focus of any room in a home, restaurant or other space. Because visitors' eyes are naturally drawn to the comfort and beauty a fire place can provide, it is important that the fire place mantel complement and enhance the appearance of the room. The mantel is the shelf or beam which supports the stone or woodwork around it. Mantels can also be used as decoration or to show case favorite photos, artwork, flowers, clocks or other antique accessories. Mantels can be created out of a variety of different materials. These materials include stone and wood such as oak. Mantels and shelves above the fire place provide the homeowner or interior designer a unique opportunity to create an individualized look for the home. Because of this, designers use different mouldings and facings such as tile, stone and even metal to create the desired look and atmosphere for the room. Wooden mouldings can also be used to add decorative trim to the edge of the mantel shelf. Fire place mantels, which were once called chimneypieces or mantelpieces, are only one element of the construction and manufacture of a fire place. Fire places located in the middle of a wall as well as corner fire places also have chimneys or some other construction designed to vent smoke. The hearth is the floor of the fire place, which often extends to the front of the fire place. This is most often made of stone in order to protect the floor of the room from high heat and open flames. Mantels may also incorporate cabinets or handcrafted woodwork into the overall project design, creating a unique and individualized focal point for your favorite room.
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