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smitty1960 07-22-2009 12:46 PM

drywall over cinder block
I'm brand new to this forum and have my first question. I have a cinder block fireplace and chimney that makes up a full wall in our living room. The cinder block wall/chimney is covered with a single layer of full-size brick. I'd like to remove the brick and replace it with something smoother, possibly drywall. Since this is above ground, will I still need to use furring strips to attach the drywall with 3/4 inch foam insulation between? Will I need some spacing of a fireproof material surrounding the fireplace for a specified distance, or can I drywall right up to it?

bjbatlanta 07-25-2009 02:33 PM

You'll need to check with the local building dept. as far as to code compliance in your specific area. Generally speaking though, I have doubt as to the use of foam insulation on a fireplace. Your "specified distance" with an appropriate material (tile, stone, metal, etc.) might solve that issue though. I don't see fastening the drywall over foam insulation without furring of some sort. You would have to use some sort of fastening system (nails/screws) that would go directly into the block and the foam would allow too much movement to get a fastener to pull tight without movement. Nail/screw "pops" would be a serious issue. The holding power of the fasteners would be a concern also without the use of adhesive. I would recommend using metal furring channel (as opposed to wood strips) attached to the block and insulate between the cavities.......

smitty1960 07-26-2009 02:29 AM

Thanks for your reply. I guess I didn't word my question very well. We don't like the look of a brick wall in our living room, but if we remove the brick, we'd be left with a cinder block wall--even worse. We've got lots of options available to cover the cinder block, and I was kicking around the idea of a smooth wall. Drywall was the first thing that came to mind. I figured I'd need furring strips to have something to attach the drywall to since screwing directly into the cinder block didn't seem to be an option. The styrofoam would act more as a "filler" so there wouldn't be a hollow space behind it. I don't think I'd really need it for the insulation properties. Both the drywall and the styrofoam would pose a fire hazard and I'm sure there must be a minimum distance from the fireplace opening that I can attach it. Maybe I could use some kind of stone just around the opening? I'll admit that I haven't contacted anyone regarding what the local fire code is regarding this situation (yet). I'd welcome any suggestions regarding other materials I could use to "hide" the cinder block.

PaliBob 07-26-2009 04:35 PM


Originally Posted by smitty1960 (Post 305379)
......... I'd like to remove the brick and replace it with something smoother, possibly drywall. .......Smitty

Smitty, If you remove the brick there will be a complication with all the mortar that will remain stuck to the block wall. The wall will a least in the area of the metal HAT channel furring strips (or wood), will have to be cleaned of the remaining mortar and excess grout to gain a smooth surface. This is going to be a messy dusty job grinding to get flat areas every 24 to 16" across the length of the wall. Horizontal bands if you hang the drywall vertically or Vertical bands if you hang the drywall horizontally.

If you use a diamond cup wheel on a 4-1/2" grinder spinning at 11,000 rpm you will soon be single again. If you want to glue 3/4" Styrofoam between the furring channel then you would have to clean the entire wall of mortar.

smitty1960 07-27-2009 12:56 AM

Thanks PaliBob,
I'm kind of at a loss as to how to approach that entire wall. The wife would like to eliminate the fire-place entirely and gain some floor space. Although it's in a corner of the room, it projects into the room at a 45 degree angle. So the entry into our 12 foot wide living room is only 6 foot. This would be an almost impossible undertaking since I'd have to remove the entire wall/fireplace/chimney. BTW, the space on the backside of the fireplace makes up our goofy-shaped entryway closet. So that's not gunna happen! Putting an entirely new layer (of something) over the brick MAY work, but we'd lose even more space. I'm really hoping for suggestions. Anybody??

farnhamassoc 11-13-2010 10:47 AM

alright Smitty,
I hope you havent gave up on this yet. A fireplace is a great selling point in the future and will be exciting keeping those sparks alive in your relationship.

Here is the solution. Leave the brick on the fireplace. Use a nailing gun to install 2x3 firing strips on the wall laid flat. The nailing gun nails will hold well to the brick. This is an old contractor trick. I did mine 8" OC (on center) and they are holding my 200lb Tv up just fine. Arioound your fire place there are some setbacks that need to be in place for the combustable materials. such as wood drywall. and such. Your drywall will need to have somthing on it that is not combustable at least 10 inches above and 6 inches on the sides from the fireplace opening. typically it is granite stone or something decorative like that that will not burn or combust when at great heat.

Your mantle should be above that 10 inch mark tapering up to 18 inches at 8 inches from the wall. In other words if your mantle is 8 inches from the wall it would need to be 18 3/4 inches from the fireplace opening. If your mantle is 6 wide from the wall it would need to be at 15 inches from the opening. If it is one inch you would need it to be at least 12 inches from the opening. This is why most mantles have crown moulding under them. Code requires them to be tapered from the opening because that is what the heat does. Heat goes outward and upward. Google mantle setbacks and you will find a diagram that shows these items.

Thanks and enjoy the fireplace
when your humpin dont get too close to the heat

smitty1960 11-14-2010 08:47 AM

Moved on
Thank for the reply Mike. I had completely forgotten about this thread. It's been a year and a half since we considered the fireplace project. The downturn in the economy has forced a priority shift from aesthetic projects to maintenance and repair projects. The fireplace project has been shelved for the time being and may be resurrected at a later date (when our budget allows), but for now, we're just concentrating on keeping the house from falling apart.

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