Fireplaces make good focal points in most rooms where they are located, and mantels are fun furnishings to decorate because of their position over the fireplace. However, because mantels are located over the fireplace, it’s important to be safe while decorating them.
Anything placed on the mantel must be relatively resistant to heat and flames. Items placed on the mantel must also be secure, so they cannot fall into the path of the fire.
If you’re a homeowner with a fireplace, here’s what you need to know about decorating your mantel. These tips will help you stay safe and avoid accidents that could lead to a potential fire, or which could lead to the decoration being ruined.
1. Prevent Items from Dangling Down
Mantels can be made from combustible material, because set far enough away from the flames that they cannot catch fire. However, nothing should be allowed to dangle below the bottom of the mantel.
This includes garland, draperies and other types of material. Be especially careful of placing anything on the mantel that could potentially roll down the front of the mantel and hang in front of the fire, like a scarf.
2. Avoid Use of Wax Candles
Wax candles can become soft and melt, if left on the mantel for long enough and in the direct path of the heat from the fireplace. For best results, only place electric candles instead on the mantel. If you must use real candles, do not light them, as they may melt extra quickly when positioned above flames.
3. Choose Flame Retardant Materials
Combustible materials could be dangerous when placed on a mantel. For example, wreaths are a common decoration placed above the mantel at certain times of the year. However, some wreaths are combustible and could be dangerous on the mantel. When choosing a wreath to be hung above the mantel, look for wreaths that are marketed as “flame retardant.”
4. Use Stable Items Only
Never put anything up on the fireplace that does not balance well in the narrow space provided. If an item seems unsteady, replace it or find some way to make it steadier. For example, a plate leaned on the mantel may roll off or slide down the front of the mantel, and break on the hearth below. Use a plate stand to prevent this problem.
5. Watch for Fireplace Soot Buildup on Mantel Items
Gas fireplaces should not produce soot buildup. If your gas fireplace does start to produce soot, this could be an indication that your fireplace is malfunctioning, and the fuel is not burning properly. When cleaning items on the mantel, check them for soot buildup. If you spot soot buildup on your mantel items, contact a fireplace professional to inspect your fireplace.
6. Never Decorate with Something that Would Attract a Pet
Sometimes nimble cats and other small animals may attempt to jump onto the mantel. This could result in something getting broken, a fire breaking out, or your pet becoming injured. To avoid this problem, avoid placing anything on the mantel that could attract your pet. This includes tinsel, artificial plants, and food.
7. Never Place a Plant on Your Fireplace
Fireplaces can easily dry out plants, and when plants lose leaves, they may become a fire hazard on the hearth below. Never place a plant, or even a bouquet of flowers, on the fireplace.
Contact the Experts for Information about Gas Fireplace Installation
If you’re thinking about having a fireplace installed in your home, work with the experts to ensure the work is done properly. At Alpine Fireplaces, we install quality fireplaces for homeowners like you. Contact us today to get started.