What’s the Best Wood for a Traditional Fireplace Mantel

Looking to create a focal point in your living room? A fireplace can bring warmth and beauty. Learn about the best wood for a traditional fireplace mantel.

With your new slate fireplace mantel, you’ll enjoy the warm glow of a wood fire while stepping into a rustic cabin feel.

But what kind of wood should you burn to get the most heat and ambiance?

A piece of burning wood is an excellent and nostalgic source of heat and family fun. So, it’s worth choosing a wood with the most warmth and longevity.

Let’s dig into what makes your traditional fireplace a warm and cozy way to pass the cold winter nights.



Oak is the best wood for a traditional fireplace mantel with its dense grain, warm color, and natural ability to resist fire. Oak is a strong, durable hardwood with pronounced grain patterns, making it perfect for the rigors of a busy hearth. Oak mantel pieces come in a variety of different styles, including half-round, square, plain and carved designs.

Oak is extremely resistant to the heat, soot, and smoke that comes with a fireplace and won’t warp over time. Its beautiful grain adds a timeless, classic look to the fireplace, making it an ideal choice for homeowners looking to add a warm, sophisticated feel to their living space.


Hickory is one of the best woods to use for a traditional fireplace mantel. Its straight grain and rich color make it an attractive choice, while its durability ensures that your mantel will stand the test of time.

Hickory is known for its great strength, making it difficult to dent or ding, meaning it is perfect for use in the traditionally high-traffic area around the fireplace. It is also a relatively inexpensive and easily accessible wood, not requiring a specialty order.

If a more rustic look is desired, hickory is easy to work with and finish, allowing for a natural look with beautiful and unique character. Hickory is a great choice for a timeless and stylish traditional fireplace mantel.


This type of wood is generally favored because of its light yet strong characteristics. Maple is also known to be very dense, which makes it excellent for dealing with regular wear and tear.

Additionally, maple is both beautiful in color and grain, which makes it a great choice for decorative purposes. The creamy-white color can complement any decor and look warm and cozy when lit.

Maple is also known for being a relatively soft hardwood, which makes it very easy to work and shape, giving you the ability to customize the mantel with various carvings and designs. Maple is also a relatively affordable wood, which is an added plus.


Mahogany has a rich, long-lasting warm hue looks elegant and subtle in a living room or family room. Its high density and slow growth rate make it one of the most durable woods around.

Not only is mahogany durable, but it also looks great and offers a degree of versatility when it comes to staining and polishing. This type of wood creates an inviting atmosphere and will provide years of sturdy and beautiful service. 

The Best Wood for a Traditional Fireplace Mantel

Fireplaces have been a comforting presence in many homes for centuries. While what’s considered the “best” type of wood for a traditional fireplace mantel will depend on personal preferences, these four tend to be the most popular choices due to their durability and temperature resistance.

If you’re looking for the perfect wood to give your fireplace the charming, timeless feel you’re imagining, consult with an expert today and find the right wood for you.

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