ventless gas fireplace mantel ideas

I just got a ventless gas fireplace for the basement. To save money, I decided that I would make the mantel myself. If memory serves me correct, its about $400 cheaper without the mantel, so that could buy a lot of tools.
I am going to have to frame, right now its sitting into the room but I'm building bookcases for either side, so it will be flush or slightly recessed.
My question is:
Does anyone have any experiences they wish to share on building a mantel for a **********ventless gas fireplace********?
I'm stressing this point because of the major differences between gas and wood burning fireplaces, since it dramatically affects the materials that can be used and their proximity to the actual firebox.
As always, any suggestions would be appreciated.
Chuck
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My mom has one. It can get pretty hot on top, so I'd do something noncombustible for the surround AND make sure the fan always runs whenthe fire is on. Her fan can be turned off and when it is the front above the opening will get hot enough to make the paint smell. I'd use some veneer stone or brick on cement board myself.
With the fan, it's an effective heater, although I really don't think it's a good idea to have the exhaust dumped into the living space.
Be sure you let in enough air to maintain the oxygen level!
I have a woodstove, but it's a bit of work. At least I don't worry about what to do with scraps.
Wilson

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