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Floating shelf in front of gas inset fire

last month

First time posting on here and need some advice. We have built a floating shelf that runs across our gas inset fire. See pic and the inspiration of what i envisaged. Its made of MDF 60. I wanted to paint same colour as our wall but i've been advised that, even with a intumescent paint, it will crack. So, now i'm thinking of microcement. But i'm now worried that creating this was a bad and unsafe idea!! Any advice? How has this been achieved on pinterest?? Any advice/guidance much appreciated!!

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United Kingdom
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