Mar 14

Making a Great Room – Resurfacing the Fireplace Part 1

Orginal Fireplace Karen and I are trying to make our home feel as inviting and warm as it can be.  One of the major things that just seemed not to fit in our great room anymore is the pinks and blues of our brick fireplace.  Now we love how the brick looks on the outside of our home, but warm shade of our Sherman William Nomadic Desert Paint the pinks and blues had to go.  But what could we replace it with?  We thought about painting it because Karen’s sister had done that to her fireplace and it turned out really well.  After a long debate we decided that was not going to work for us.  Karen really wanted to use natural stone and after seeing several buildings around us with stone siding I agreed with her.
Heavy Boxes

We went to several different stores at first and most of them had no idea of what we were talking about, but those were the big box nationwide stores.  We then went to a builder’s warehouse and were on the right track, but we realized that it was not going to be cheap.  Karen and I then went back and forth between painting our fireplace or spending more then what we wanted.  Finally, Karen recalled that a friend of hers back in high school worked for a stone yard, and we went to check it out. Eureka! We finally found what we were looking for and it was half the price of something similar at the builder’s warehouse.  It is a veneer stone that looks just like stacked stone put with about a one third the weight.  This was too good to be true, and unfortunately for us it was.  The guy that was helping us quoted us the wrong price and unlucky for us we did not buy right then and there.  A few days later we came back ready to spend.  The guy that we had previously talked to was not there, and the person we talked to gave us the correct pricing.  To our credit we did not get mad or raise our voices we just explained what we were told.  Eventually, we worked it out and to their credit they did come down a little on their pricee so in the end we still ended up with a good deal.
Putting on the Mortar

They had the boxes of the Veneer Stone in stock so we just picked up that same day.  As we were getting our stone their staff was everywhere, and most of the guys had one thing in common they were some big hefty guys.  I did not think twice about it until the stone was loaded up in my car and I had gotten it home and tried to move them to the garage.  Each box seemed to weigh close to 100 pounds and I am not afraid to admit it but I was hurting by the time I moved all seven boxes into the garage.  I now understood why there were some big burly guys working there.
They are still there

Later that week we started working on the base of our fireplace.  Needless to say working with mortar was a lot different than anything else we have ever worked with.  Never working with it before I thought it would be a lot stickier than it was, in my mind’s eye I thought it would be more like thin-set.  When we would put down a tile using thin set sometimes we had to use a crowbar to get it off if we needed to make an adjustment.  With mortar we were worried that the stone veneer would just flop off.  It did not seem like it was sticking at all.  So, I used all of the mortar I had made for our first batch, and Karen decided we should wait just to make sure everything was going to stick.  Luckily for us everything worked out, the stones were not budging the next day so we moved on to another batch of mortar and worked our way up to where the hearthstones would be.
Karen's Dad to the Rescue
Getting the Measurement Right

I did not have the right cutting tools for the job to cut the hearthstones so we hired the best contractor we know, Karen’s dad, and when I say hire I mean give him a call and pay him with either Gatorade or cookies whichever we have on hand (thanks Paul!).  He came over and did all of the technical measuring for us, which is a good thing because my ruler skills are not as accurate as they should be.  He got all of our stones cut in no time.  The next day we got all of the hearthstones mortared and laid.  We are now about a third of the way there.  Hopefully by the end of next week we will have a new looking fireplace.
Last One
a third of the way there

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1 comment

  1. freda phillips

    looks good already

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