Home built in 1920's, plaster walls throughout. We have a fireplace in the
middle of one wall of the living room, and the chimney area is a big
narrowing pillar around the fireplace all the way up to the ceiling (of the
first floor). See pic here:
That picture was taken from the top of a ladder on the other side of the
room. I zoomed in some to get a clearer pic. The different colors you see
are just us painting some samples to see what color we liked in the room.
The SIDES of the protuberance tilt inward on their way up to the ceiling,
but the FRONT does not; the front is straight up.
The black line I painted across the image is right where it stops being
solid under the plaster ON THE FRONT. By this, I mean I can hit the plaster
with my hand right above the stone around the fireplace, and it seems very
very solid underneath (as if there are bricks, or some kind of heavy solid
surface under the plaster) up until that line; when I hit the wall above
that line, it sounds hollow underneath, like there's nothing there but the
On the SIDES, however, it seems very solid all the way up to the ceiling. I
can hit the SIDES of that big chimney protuberance all the way up to the
ceiling, and it feels/sounds like it's brick or something very solid.
However, on the FRONT (right above the fireplace), it starts sounding hollow
upward right after that black line. It's as if the chimney, made of brick,
follows the curves of the sides, but tilts back away from the front starting
at the black line upwards (the wall is straight all the way up on the fornt,
but only sounds hollow after the line upwards. After the line, hitting the
FRONT sounds hollow underneath).
We want to apply a flagstone facade all the way up to the ceiling (like how
they do with those fireplaces in ski lodges, etc.), but I'm wondering if
there's anything behind the hollow part of the front to anchor things into;
I don't want to apply mortar and stone on the plaster wall where's there's
no support underneath (this will be a facade, but we DO intend to use real
stone, so even though it's a "fake" front, it'll still be actual stone, and
therefore heavy enough, I assume, to not want to just build it up on nothing
but a plaster wall with no real beef behind it).
So what do I do? Smash in a hole in the plaster up above the fireplace to
see what's behind there? Has anyone seen a setup like the one in the
picture? And why do the sides seem solid all the way up while the front
does not? Is the chimney at this point really wide but not so deep? Why
does it seem solid on the sides all the way up while the front does not?
Any thoughts, advice, etc. appreciated. And if any of this seems like a
really dumb question, forgive me. I've only been the muscle/gopher for home
projects up until now, and even though I try to pay attention and get
glimpses of the expertise, I've not come across this particular situation
before. In fact, I've never helped on stuff with plaster walls before, it's
always been about sheetrock on new construction. And, of course, since it's
my own home, I'm extremely nervous about doing ANYTHING.
Thanks again, and I hope to hear some good sound advice.
The Complete Newb