Build a Mantel Out of an Old Barn Beam

5 Materials
If you like rustic decor the way that I like rustic decor, you are going to love this! When I saw someone was selling 100 year old beams from a barn they had dismantled my heart jumped and my brain started turning. I wanted to do something at my new lake house fixer upper with one of these beams, but what?
I decided to go look at the beams and allow them to speak to me. After studying the pile it came to me, a fireplace mantle! I picked up my favorite one and headed back to the lake house to get to work!
The first thing we did was power wash the beam to make sure we would not be taking in critters with the beam. Then we had to decide how long we needed the beam to be for our fireplace.
To hang the beam we had to hollow out part of the beam so that it could go on top of a 2x4 that had been attached to the fireplace with 4" lag bolts.
To do this we marked the area that needed to be hollowed out with a sharpie marker and then, using a combination of tools we we hollowed out the beam.
Once the beam was hollowed out it was put up over the 2x4 and attached the beam from the top with more lag bolts, making sure to keep it level.
After the stone was put on the fireplace I realized the beam was not popping like I wanted it to so I waxed it with a dark wax. The wax helped make it pop and will protect it for years to come. For a full tutorial, including a list of all the tools we used and step by step instructions follow the link below. I would also like to invite you to check out our entire Lake House Fixer Upper Series by clicking HERE.
Suggested materials:
  • Power wash
  • Sharpie marker
  • Reciprocating Saw
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  3 questions
  • PatriciaF PatriciaF on Sep 09, 2016
    Love the look! Have been wanting to do the EXACT same thing in our home. Have to ask you where you got the stones

  • DORLIS DORLIS on Jan 29, 2018
    my fireplace is faux stone applied over plywood. i would like to put up a mantle and like the old beam idea, but wonder about it's weight, would the plywood support it? or would i need the 2 x 4 bolted to the plywood ? also wondering about the uneven rock surface. Better to set the beam out so it clears all the rocks and fill in maybe with foam insulation so nothing would fall behind the beam. the fireplace is 8 foot wide x 4 foot deep. i also worry about adding more weight as it sits at mid point of the house. should i add another jack in the basement to support the extra weight?

  • Marie Marie on Apr 19, 2021

    My fireplace is all red bricks which I love but I want to put a Wooden beam too but a « fake » one. A lighter version.

    how will it hold ?

    i like your real beam looks so authentic..

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  • Phylis Sommerlad Herald Phylis Sommerlad Herald on Jun 23, 2018

    I have a stone fireplace that the small mantle is stone. You have inspired me to do this.

  • Jenny Jenny on Sep 13, 2021

    I built a stone faced chimney breast that looks almost the same as yours. Nice to know fashions come around. My build was 42 years ago. Have always wished that I had incorporated a mantle when I built it. You've inspired me maybe it will get one at last! 😊