I have a early 1950's home with a fireplace that was I guess used for
show mostly till about the late 80's. In the 80's the previous owner
bought a really nice insert with multiple blowers etc that will
actually keep my house around 55-60 all through the winter. The owner
also had the flues checked/lined as well. So in all its in good shape
as far as usability. I have in the past used it to completely to heat
the house a full winter and I have used it quite a bit in the past 3
years to keep the gas bills at a minimal. So in all I am really pleased
with it and would like to keep the setup as there is no problem with
The problem arises from the surrounding brick. Over the years the
mantel front shelf area has begun to seperate from the main fireplace
brick stack. I am planning this weekend to tear it down and to rebuild
that section, from the floor up to the shelf with the insert pulled
out. I am not overly afraid of this as I have done quite of bit of
masonry work in the past including rebuilding 1-2 complete foundation
walls and a complete large front porch. The main stack looks to be very
solid. My main problem is mostly decorative in nature I guess.
The brick is the small (2x4? type pavers) that have been painted
multiple coats of white/off white and I want to spruce this area up as
it is the centerpoint of the room or could be but also keep the
functionality where it is at currently. I do not have any kind of floor
hearth or ceramic at this point under the insert on the floor either
and the room has been completely gutted and is currently in the final
stages of finish up including moldings/paint/carpet. I would like to
incorporate a Pennsylvania Slate color thats a river rock type look to
the fireplace area as the adjoining hallway is going to be Pennsylvania
Slate color scheme Ceramic Tile.
So my question is the following;
What ideas can I use to spruce this fireplace up besides what I have
My plan is as follows, please chime in if you see anything wrong or
have any suggestions, or ideas, pitfalls to avoid etc.
1) First I am removing the insert, cleaning the area , and removing all
loose brick (aggresive to get all possible issues now and in the
2) Rebuild the problem shelf area from floor up.to shelf
After this is where I go astray and can find no supporting info on
except a little help from stone supply shop.
3) I am going to build using (2X2s and 1X2s, wire mesh) a cage around
the whole fireplace area. I am then going to apply a thin set of mortar
all over the screen and let dry
4) Then I am going pick up my stone from the local stone supply. I have
been told I can go 2 different ways here 1) Buy kit stone (lighter then
real stone) and apply it. 2) Buy actual stone (by the pound) and use
it. I am leaning to the By Actual stone as I get to pick out actual
colors and it may be a little more inexpensive in the end but not by
much. The kit stone is supposedly faster. The only negative for real
stone is weight but my house is on a concrete slab, so I think this is
really not a issue. Any feedback on this anyone?
5) Attach the stone using mortar,etc and let dry.
6) Then grout the stone area in and it let dry.
7) Ceramic tile or place a slate/granite hearth at the base under where
the Insert would go to protect the carpet from fire role outs etc.
8) reinsert the fireplace insert
9) rebuild mantel wooden shelf from scratch and stain and install
Then I will remold the rest of the room so I can paint and carpet.
Anyone have any suggestions or ideas on what they have done in the past
with their fireplace?
Any good books,websites, or other media on this subject anyone know
Thanks for the help,