Step 4: Bore the pilot holes

Boring the pilot holes with a hammer drill and carbide-tipped masonry bit.
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Measure the thickness of the mantel edges that will sit flush against the wall on the legs and shelf. Mark the distance on the wall at several points inside the pencil scribe of the mantel's outline. Use the 3-foot level to connect the dots and mark where to hang the cleats.

Hold the top cleat against the wall. Using a carbide-tipped masonry bit in a hammer drill, bore four evenly spaced ½-inch-diameter pilot holes through the cleats and into the brick.

Tip: Drill and screw into the brick, not the mortar. Brick is denser and will hold screws securely.
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    Tools List

    • hammer drill
      Hammer drill with 3/16-inch masonry bit
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • hand saw
      Saw,
      to cut 2v4s
    • four-foot level
      3-foot level
    • torpedo level
      Torpedo level
    • caulk gun
      Caulk gun
    • flathead screwdriver
      Screwdriver

    Shopping List

    1. MANTEL

    Comes in a kit with legs, a shelf, and interior trim.



    2. SHIMS

    to level the mantel.



    3. 2x4 LUMBER

    for cleats on which the mantel will hang. Two 8-foot pieces should do it.



    4. 2 1/2-INCH-LONG 1/4-INCH CONCRETE SCREWS

    for attaching the mantel to a brick chimney. If the wall isn't brick, use 3-inch decking screws to attach the cleats to the studs.



    5. 2-INCH FINISH SCERWS

    to fasten the mantel to the cleats. Finish screws (aka trim heads) have small heads that sink below the surface without the need to drill a countersink hole first.



    6. 4d FINISH NAILS

    to attach the edge molding.



    7. WOOD PUTTY

    to fill screw holes.



    8. CAULK

    if you're painting the mantel, to fill gaps where it meets the wall.