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Old 01-03-2012, 01:18 AM   #1
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Preparing to redo fireplace mantel, what to expect?


Hi All,

I am preparing to redo fireplace in our living room, and I was hopping for some words of wisdom....


It is brick gas fireplace. Chimney is red brick, but inside of the fireplace is yellow brick. Front is laid with light stone, as well as large shelf a front of the fireplace.

I would want to make wall flat, put 8" of granite/marble around the opening, and wood mantel around it. In front, I would want to put 18-24" of granite/marble on the same level as [to be installed] hardwood floor. Also, to repaint yellow bricks with Alsey Firebrick Stain.

A few possible issues I can see:
* bricks of the chimney are forward comparing to the rest of the wall. In this case, I am thinking about installing another layer of drywall on all of the wall (loosing say 4" in the length of the room).
* front shelf of the fireplace is made of brick. Which means that I would have to demolish brick (not sure how, but...) and then make sure that floor is solid and leveled.

Anything else?

Thanks,

Vadim


Last edited by kutsyy; 01-04-2012 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:37 AM   #2
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Preparing to redo fireplace mantel, what to expect?


That is one butt ugly, overscaled fireplace, but you know that.

You should probably call a mason in to discuss any real issues about the fireplace itself. Mortar seems intact from your photos.

Leave natural brick alone!!!! If you can stand it. You most certainly, instinctively know if you start staining hearth bricks it all has to end badly? Right.

I cannot imagine you will hurt the firebox taking that stone, or faux stone facing off. Do not underestimate the weight of what you are up against though if that whole thing is real stone. Your are not going to be able to hold onto any of those pieces while working tools get the mortar out under them. You need to assemble a team.

And where are you going to put them. They would make a lovely walkway? Otherwise you will need a dumpster. Once spotted you will need a demolition permit. And you may need one for disposal.


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Old 01-03-2012, 01:41 AM   #3
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Preparing to redo fireplace mantel, what to expect?


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Your are not going to be able to hold onto any of those pieces while working tools get the mortar out under them. You need to assemble a team.
These stones are actually very very light, 1-2lb each. We have them in number of other places, inside and outside. Not sure what they are.
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:03 AM   #4
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Preparing to redo fireplace mantel, what to expect?


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These stones are actually very very light, 1-2lb each. We have them in number of other places, inside and outside. Not sure what they are.
If they only weigh 1-2 pounds they are not stone. Contractor bag them and forget my suggestion to recycle them into your landscape. And I should have seen the weight of that wall would need its own foundation under it. Sorry.

Others step in to correct me but just Sawsall the whole wall from the studs, fake stone and all. If it is faux stone you are going to destroy the drywall anyhow trying to peel it loose. It is glued on. There is no mortar. And there is no use for the faux stone stuff.

Last edited by user1007; 01-03-2012 at 02:11 AM.
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:12 AM   #5
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Preparing to redo fireplace mantel, what to expect?


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If they only weigh 1-2 pounds they are not stone. Contractor bag them and forget my suggestion to recycle them into your landscape.

Or better yet. Others step in to correct me but just Sawsall the whole wall from the studs, fake stone and all. If it is faux stone you are going to destroy the drywall anyhow trying to peel it loose. It is glued on. There is no mortar.
It is mortar, but I am not worried about these stones, they are for decoration only. I am worried about brick under the stone.
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:56 AM   #6
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Preparing to redo fireplace mantel, what to expect?


I did this last year-when we removed the fake stone, we had to strap the brick with 1x4 so it would be even with the framing (so had to build it out). The wall was drywalled and in this case an electric insert was put in, with tile about your dimensions.



Hard to say exactly what the best answer would be until the stone is off, and you can see what you're working with. Although if you say the brick is proud of the drywall (I can't really tell) I'm not sure about adding drywall, as you will probably want to strap the brick to drywall the area you'd like. I would think removing the drywall on the wall and strapping the wall out to make one flat plane would work. Although it kind of looks like plaster to me, who knows.

There are certain dimensions that non-combustable material has to be in place around the fireplace opening, if you keep it wood burning-Something to look into.

For the hearth, I would expect there to be concrete under the brick, that's what I found anyways.

Make sure you protect your floor really well taking that stone off, rubble will find itself everywhere, and doesn't take much to scratch a floor.

Last edited by chrisBC; 01-03-2012 at 03:35 AM.
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Old 01-03-2012, 05:31 AM   #7
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Preparing to redo fireplace mantel, what to expect?


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Make sure you protect your floor really well taking that stone off, rubble will find itself everywhere, and doesn't take much to scratch a floor.
Great advice. I take for granted people would protect their floors when doing demo. You should also filter your cold air returns to the HVAC system, or shut it down while working. And even then, replace or clean the filters when done.
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:11 AM   #8
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Preparing to redo fireplace mantel, what to expect?


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That is one butt ugly, overscaled fireplace, but you know that.
I bet it looked good in the Brady days of the 70's.....

Almost as ugly as our fireplace was....




And this is how we fixed it....coverd it up...



But we are going to make a major mod to it in about 6 months....we are going to remove the front ledge.....and depending on what we find around that curved opening....maybe even the front front brick all the way up....

So I will be interested in what the OP finds behind his.....I suspect mine might be done in a similar way.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:18 AM   #9
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Preparing to redo fireplace mantel, what to expect?


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I bet it looked good in the Brady days of the 70's.....

Almost as ugly as our fireplace was....
Yep, yours was uglier
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So I will be interested in what the OP finds behind his.....I suspect mine might be done in a similar way.
I am sure I will be posting more.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:20 AM   #10
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Preparing to redo fireplace mantel, what to expect?


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Great advice. I take for granted people would protect their floors when doing demo. You should also filter your cold air returns to the HVAC system, or shut it down while working. And even then, replace or clean the filters when done.
Well, carpet is to be replaced with hardwood anyway and I am planing to [more or less] seal off the room.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:26 AM   #11
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Preparing to redo fireplace mantel, what to expect?


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Hard to say exactly what the best answer would be until the stone is off, and you can see what you're working with. Although if you say the brick is proud of the drywall (I can't really tell) I'm not sure about adding drywall, as you will probably want to strap the brick to drywall the area you'd like. I would think removing the drywall on the wall and strapping the wall out to make one flat plane would work. Although it kind of looks like plaster to me, who knows.
I really don't want to touch chimney. Brick is not good here anyway (brick and earthquakes don't mix too well), so making brick weaker is the last thing I want.
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There are certain dimensions that non-combustable material has to be in place around the fireplace opening, if you keep it wood burning-Something to look into.
Good point, thanks.
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For the hearth, I would expect there to be concrete under the brick, that's what I found anyways.
but that would be part of chimney, right? so nothing for me to worry.

Thanks,
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:54 AM   #12
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Preparing to redo fireplace mantel, what to expect?


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I would think removing the drywall on the wall and strapping the wall out to make one flat plane would work. Although it kind of looks like plaster to me, who knows.
it is a drywall with texture on top of it. I was actualy thinking about leaving this drywall, adding 1x2 or 2x2 on top and putting another layer of drywall. Would there be any problems with leaving this drywall on? The other side of the wall is garage, may be to be converted to a family room at some point in the future.
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:17 PM   #13
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Preparing to redo fireplace mantel, what to expect?


Hmm well personally I would probably just gut it, but I can't see any reason why you couldn't strap over the drywall, just make sure the strapping is secure to the framing. Metal strapping is another alternative. Are you planning on drywalling over the fireplace brick? if you don't want to strap this i'm not sure how you'd drywall an area that large. If the brick is in good shape I don't think you'd compromise anything by drilling into it every couple of feet. If the brick isn't in good shape, well I dunno. Have to figure out another solution I guess.

Yes, I would imagine the concrete would be part of the chimney, should work out to be pretty level with your subfloor, hopefully.

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Old 01-03-2012, 01:28 PM   #14
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Preparing to redo fireplace mantel, what to expect?


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Originally Posted by chrisBC View Post
Hmm well personally I would probably just gut it, but I can't see any reason why you couldn't strap over the drywall, just make sure the strapping is secure to the framing. Metal strapping is another alternative. Are you planning on drywalling over the fireplace brick? if you don't want to strap this i'm not sure how you'd drywall an area that large. If the brick is in good shape I don't think you'd compromise anything by drilling into it every couple of feet. If the brick isn't in good shape, well I dunno. Have to figure out another solution I guess.

Yes, I would imagine the concrete would be part of the chimney, should work out to be pretty level with your subfloor, hopefully.
I am thinking about strapping over the brick. Brick seems to be in the good shape, so I also don't think that drilling will make any difference. I still be wondering what is the ledge made of (hopefully just wood, but I will not be surprised to see it bricked).

Thanks,

Vadim
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:45 PM   #15
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Preparing to redo fireplace mantel, what to expect?


I think it's one of those things where as you take it apart, you will figure it out the best way to put it back together.

Hope it goes well.

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