A couple of years ago, Tim installed a fireplace insert in our home. Of course, he wanted a real fireplace but the cost of $10000-$15000 was not on option. He had never built a fireplace and I was concerned that if it wasn't properly built our home would be filled with smoke. So, for about $2000 we purchased an insert. The firebox itself is on the outside of the house with the chimney extending up the two stories. Of course, one of my favorite things is decorating it. It seems a little bare to me now because during the holidays there is not an inch of the top visible. But I'm going off course here, I really wanted to show the mantel and discuss how it is made. After getting the insert installed and running the chimney up two stories, Tim installed tile around it and on the floor as a hearth. At the time, I couldn't make up my mind and Tim choose this ceramic tile. I now wish I had went with a brown/cream marble that Home Depot carries. I ask him from time to time to change it for me but to no avail. Anyway back to the mantel, it is composed of medium density fiberboard (mdf), 1 by pine board for the mantel and trim moulding. That's it! The most expensive thing on this mantel is the emblem in the middle and it costs about $35. This was actually our first time doing this so we went to the local Home Depot and played around with the moulding. You can go as fancy as you want or as simple as you want and save yourself a lot of money!