Subtract the thickness of the facing material (brick or marble) from the return depth shown above to determine the width of each inside return piece.
For example: If you were installing a Louis XIV mantel over a fireplace with a 3/4" marble on the face, you should cut your returns 6 3/4" (mantel return depth) minus 3/4" (marble facing thickness) or 6" (See Fig 3). All three parts of the return should be cut 6" wide. Two side returns and a top return. (If the facing material was 4" thick brick, then each inside return part should be cut 6 3/4" minus 4 or 2 3/4" wide.)
Step 3 - Assemble legs and inside returns
Measure the width of the mantel opening. It should be 42", unless you have a Louis XIV-S, which is 36", or a Louis XIV-L, which is 48" wide. Find the center point of the fireplace opening and measure out 21" in each direction. Mark the hearth with a pencil 21" from each side of the opening. DO NOT mark the hearth with ink. Ink or marker will stain the hearth. Make a line perpendicular to the wall about 6" long. This is the location of the inside of the inside return (See Fig 4).
Set the left inside return, the left inside front leg, the left leg and the outside leg return on the hearth. Add marble glue to the joining edges and assemble as shown in Figure 5. NEVER USE A PETROLEUM BASED GLUE! THIS WILL CAUSE PERMANENT STAINING OF THE MARBLE. Start by gluing the inside front leg to the leg. Then glue the outside leg return to the leg. Then glue the inside return to the inside front leg. Make sure that all pieces remain perpendicular to each other. Check to make sure that the leg pieces are assembled as shown in Fig 5 and that the inside return is parallel with the line drawn on the hearth representing the mantel opening as shown in Fig 4.
Repeat Step 3 and assemble the right leg of the mantel. Make sure the glue is dry before leaving the assembly unattended. It will take about 10 minutes for the glue to dry. After completing the right and left leg assemblies, install the top inside return in the position shown in Fig 3. Apply marble glue to the top of each inside return. Push into position making sure that the back edge of the top inside return is tight against the facing material of the fireplace.
Step 4 - Installation of the mantel face
The mantel face sits on top of the right and left small front legs. It is also glued to the back of the mantel legs (See Fig 6). Prior to gluing, place the mantel face in position to make sure the leg assemblies are properly positioned. Adjust leg assemblies accordingly and then add glue to the mantel face as shown in Fig 6 and set in position. Make sure you have plenty of help to hold both leg assemblies in position while installing the mantel face. You will need at least four people to install the mantel face; one on each leg and two to hold the mantel face. Make sure the face lines up with the inside front legs and the legs. When in the proper position, the mantel leg, outside return and the face should be even across the top. Allow the face to dry in position and then proceed to Step 5.
Step 5 - Install the top return
The top inside return rests on top of the inside leg returns behind the mantel face. This part must be installed prior to installing the mantel top. The top return should be cut the same width as the leg returns as outlined in Step 2. Put glue on the top of each inside leg return and along both long edges of the top return. Set the top return into position as shown in Fig 7. Let dry and proceed to Step 6.
Step 6 - Installation of the mantel top
Once you've completed the installation of the top inside return, put glue on the top of the outside leg return, the leg and the top edge of the face of the mantel. Also apply marble glue to the back edge of the top to secure the top to the wall. Lift the mantel top and center it over the mantel opening and push it firmly against the wall. WARNING: Make sure you have plenty of help installing the mantel shelf. We recommend one person holding each leg assembly and the mantel face and two people lifting the shelf into position.
After centering the top, let the glue dry for at least 24 hours before cleaning. Note if this mantel is being installed in new construction, make sure it is protected from dirt and liquids that may stain the mantel.
Maintaining your beautiful marble mantel
Once you've completed the installation of your marble mantel, you should use the guidelines outlined below to keep it beautiful.
Sealing your marble mantel: The mantel should be sealed with a marble sealer. We recommend Zeta Seal from Regent Products. Call 1-800-624-8210 for a dealer near you. By sealing the marble, you will minimize staining.
Polishing: Only use polishes designed for marble. Do not use car polishes.
1) Marble is very porous and will absorb liquids and stain. Wipe up all spills immediately.
2) Do not use cleansers that contain abrasives, such as Comet or Ajax.
3) Do not use petroleum based waxes or polishes.
To clean marble mantels, use warm water and a mild detergent.
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