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How Far Should A Fireplace Mantle Stick Out?

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Last updated on August 14th, 2022 at 01:24 pm

Building a mantel for your fireplace helps to enhance its beauty and make it a focal point in the house.

But, of course, adding beauty to the house/fireplace isn’t a mantel’s only purpose; it also protects heat or smoke from entering the room.

But it’s still a problem for house owners to know what mantle to install and how far it should stick out.

A mantle should stick out at least six inches from the fireplace; it can exceed but not less than six. A fireplace mantel height will also determine how long a mantel should stick out. For example, the distance between the fireplace opening and mantle should be 18 inches for a six-inch mantel from the wall.

How Far Should a Fireplace Mantel Stick Out?

How Far Should a Mantle Stick Out

A fireplace mantel should always stick out more than six inches for the best option.

However, six inches is just the minimum and available length for any mantel; extending to eight or more inches is okay.

Also, six inches is best to help a mantel prevent heat from the fireplace without messing with a mantel’s other essence.

Another thing that will determine how far a mantel should stick out is the type of fireplace.

Again, it would help if you considered the fireplace style, inside or outside the wall, with a hood covering the opening.

A mantel is more likely to stick out longer for a fireplace outside the wall with a hood around.

Sometimes what you wish to place on top of your mantel matters too. You don’t want your decorations/items falling off, so have a plan of what you want on top before deciding its length.

But still, avoid letting it stick out too long to avoid any inconvenience in the room.

Nevertheless, making it longer than the minimum length is still your choice. Also, note the distance between the fireplace opening and your mantel to have an effective mantel.

Distances shorter than three inches are dangerous, so you should have good measurements and never guess their measurements

The fireplace mantel height from the fireplace opening is always more than the length a mantel sticks out.

Hence, the height you want to keep your mantel away from the fireplace opening should be double the mantel’s length.

However, 12 inches from the fireplace to the mantel is ideal, depending on what type of mantel you want to install.

A mantel is a hood/blockage, so it should stick out enough to prevent heat or smoke from entering the house.

If a mantel can’t provide convenience, beauty, and protection, then it’s useless. In other words, wrongly building a mantel over your fireplace is the same as not having a mantel. 

Some codes help you to install any mantel correctly and to avoid flame hazards. For example, the building codes will determine the correct measurements for your fireplace about the mantel.

Also, the codes emphasize giving a good clearance and what length a mantel should stick out.

Tips for Installing the Right Fireplace Mantle 

Installing the proper fireplace mantel includes things around the mantel and the fireplace itself.

First, you must get the fireplace mantel proportions to the fireplace right because it’s most important.

Now let’s see a few essential tips to help you get the correct mantel installation.

#1. Clearance

The key to a good fireplace mantel is correct clearance; you don’t want your fireplace messing with your mantel.

The first thing you should consider for installing the right fireplace mantel is the mantel’s safety. 

There should always be a reasonable clearance from the fireplace opening to the mantel. When installing a mantel and you don’t consider the clearance, you are probably ready for fire disasters. 

When considering a mantel,  the average height fireplace opening should have from the mantel is 12 inches.

But following the building code requirement, which explains that a ⅛ inches should have an additional one inches clearance, 18 inches is better.

#2. Room size

The size of a room also matters when it comes to installing a mantel in your house. The room size will primarily determine the height of a mantel because the fireplace mantel proportions are essential. 

Besides, you don’t want the mantel looking out of the design and ruining the aesthetic appearance of a room.

For instance, if your room is not large enough and your fireplace mantel height is six feet, it will look out of proportion.

So before installing a Mantel, you should know the room’s height, I.e., from the floor to the ceiling.

However, depending on your room’s height from the floor, a mantel height mostly ranges from four to six feet.

Therefore, a four-foot-tall mantel is okay for a room with a six-foot height, and larger rooms can exceed that.

Also, if you don’t have the right size measurement or consider it, things can go out of proportion when installing.

The fact that you can extend a mantel more than six inches from the wall doesn’t mean you should overdo it.

A mantel that sticks out longer can interfere with other room features and give the mantel a lousy display.

Another tip for installing a right fireplace mantel is installing a mantel heat shield beneath your mantel to absorb heat.

Also, you can install materials like tiles or marbles in-between the mantel and fireplace opening.

Installing these materials is more effective for wood-type mantels to help them last longer.

Installing materials like marbles or tile is more like a safety tip for your mantel because such materials don’t burn.

However, a heat shield proves its importance when you use your fireplace more in cold weather.

Standard Mantel Height for 9 Ft Ceiling 

A standard mantel height for a nine-foot ceiling should be 4.5 feet. However, the height from the mantel to the ceiling shouldn’t be smaller than the mantel to the floor.

With a nine-foot ceiling, having a mantel height of 4.5 feet leaves a space of 4.5 feet for your decorations and other things.

A fireplace emits a lot of heat, affecting other building structures, including the ceiling. Thus, having the proper fireplace mantel height and other measurements is essential to help avoid the most likely hazard. 

The house proportions are essential for installing a mantel, and as such, they influence your design.

Nowadays, a standard room is most likely to be nine-foot height, and others can be taller too.

However, using a fireplace mantel height measurement of a 14-foot room in a nine-foot room will affect your designs.

When Observing the table above, the measurements are almost half the room’s height. However, a mantel’s height to the floor should be the same height from the mantel to the ceiling. 

Below is a table that shows the suitable height for your mantel with some come room heights:

Room HeightsMantle Heights
8 foot3.6 feet (42- 50 inches)
9 foot 4.6 feet (54-60 inches)
10 foot5 feet (60-66 inches)
20 foot6 foot (72 inches)

Looking at the table above, you will notice a tall height as 20 feet requires a six-foot mantel. The mantel height suitable for every house is approximately four to six feet.

However, having a mantel taller than six feet is out of proportion; it alters your home’s design.

Another consideration is leaving enough space to decorate/design above the mantle. Thus, it’s essential to leave a space of three feet above the mantel for decorations.


If there are any local building codes or authorities, you should check them before building a fireplace.

However, getting the correct measurements for installing a mantel isn’t easy, but when you plan and take the correct measurements, it’s easy.

So if you want a perfect mantel, you should ensure your mantel and fireplace sync with the room’s space.

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