I am working on refacing my fireplace. I plan on putting stained wood around the mantel and the sides of the fireplace and will be using marble tile on the inside and the hearth. I have a couple of questions:
1. As you can see from the picture, there are four awkardly placed vents (not connected to the box, but release heat formed by the wood burning fireplace). My code guy said while there isn't any regulation keeping me from blocking the vents, that it could damage the firebox if I block them off. I was thinking of just closing off the outer half of each vent (with brick and mortar) so I can get a decent amount of wood on there and just use a smaller vent cover. Does anyone see any issues with that/do I really need to do that?
2. Because the brick is painted, how should I go about tilling over it? I was originally going to just toss hardi board on it and tile to that, but after reading saw some saying to put up 2.5 diamond lath and mortar over it til smooth and go from there. Any thoughts on which one to do.