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Old 12-01-2010, 05:09 PM   #1
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Proper Way to Attach Travertine to Brick...


I have a fireplace with a white painted wood mantle/surround. Further within the surround (immediately surrounding fireplace opening) is a painted brick surround that is 5 inches wide on sides and top. I plan to attach split-faced ivory travertine strips over the brick surface (see picture below).

My Plan: I have used the Peel-Away product to strip a chunk of the paint off the brick. A bunch still remains, which I'll remove some more with a steel brush. Since there is still bunch of paint over the brick, I will attach lath to the brick to help the mortar hold. The travertine comes in a 7"x21"x0.75" mesh and I'll take it apart, chisel/hammer cut, and wet-saw cut as needed to fit the surround area. I will be using Tapcon hexhead 3/16x1.25" screws, with washers, to secure the lath to the brick (lath screws I see not for masonry, tapcon+washer). I then plan to put scratch coat, cure 24-48 hours, then butter backs of the travertine and attach to scratch coat. The stone is heavy, and my preference is to overbuild, done once, done right.

Here are my questions:

1) Please critique any of the above: I've never done this sort of work before. If I'm doing it completely wrong, do share! Thanks.

2) What type of mortar, specifically, is the best to use for this sort of stone .75" thick travertine (if relevant, it will be dry-stacked, no grout, just mortar hung) - and if relevant that it will be held to extreme heat at fireplace opening.

3) How many and how far apart should I apply the Tapcon screws? The lath will be about 5" wide from ground to 3 ft up, and again for other side, and along top same dimension sideways.

4) Is that Tapcon install kit necessary to buy or just a convenience? I'd rather save on that if not necessary to buy. I have the Tapcon screws and bit.


Thanks in advance! Wife is coming home tonight with the stone and I want to get started.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:17 PM   #2
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Proper Way to Attach Travertine to Brick...


Here are some pics. Anyone?

Bottom line question: If this were your fireplace, and you wanted to secure this travertine to the sanded brick area, how would you do it?

p.s. yes, I'm cutting the stone up a bit to fit the area. I have 6 pieces of these. I will cut with chisel and wet saw as needed to fit.
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:06 AM   #3
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Proper Way to Attach Travertine to Brick...


You've got it pretty well figured out. Hang your lathe, put a screw in every-other mortar joint, or every joint, which ever gives you a warm fuzzy feeling.

You can use a "refractory mortar" (<~~google it) to attach the stone to the brick.

Keep your lathe tight to the brick and give it hell.
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:33 AM   #4
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Proper Way to Attach Travertine to Brick...


You mean to scre the Tapcons into the brick mortar as opposed to the bricks, correct? Thank you for the reply and advice.
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You've got it pretty well figured out. Hang your lathe, put a screw in every-other mortar joint, or every joint, which ever gives you a warm fuzzy feeling.

You can use a "refractory mortar" (<~~google it) to attach the stone to the brick.

Keep your lathe tight to the brick and give it hell.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:00 AM   #5
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Proper Way to Attach Travertine to Brick...


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You mean to scre the Tapcons into the brick mortar as opposed to the bricks, correct? Thank you for the reply and advice.
Yes. Drilling and fastening to the brick themselves could crack or even break the bricks. Since they're single bricks stacked, breaking one could mean it falling off. The mortar is softer and should take your tapcons without issue.


Another alternative would be to ditch the lathe and refractory mortar and just use a polymer modified thin-set and stick it right to the brick. I've never had an issue with any fire place I've put together using thin-set. Even did one large wood burning fireplace with coral. Yes, the stuff from the ocean. If the heat from the fireplace isn't melting the paint off of the wood mantle that's within 10" of the fire box, it's certainly not going to cause issues with the thin-set.

Mix it thick, heavier than peanut butter, skim coat it over the brick to fill the highs and lows and guarantee the bond, skim coat the back of your travertine, and use a heavy notch trowel on the back of the travertine or a few golf ball size piles on the tile and work it back. Try to put enough thin-set between the travertine and brick so that there are no bubbles or pockets. You want this as full as possible.

I would do it either way.


Difference between "Mortar" and "Thin-Set":

Mortar creates a sheer bond meaning it counts on irregular surfaces and fills those gaps. That's why modern bricks have holes in them. Once the mortar is dry, all of those areas it fills are now "keyed" together. Kind of how a dove-tail joint works.

Thin-set is an adhesive. A masonary adhesive actually. It will stick to the brick and it will stick to the travertine regardless of how rough or smooth it is.

Didn't mean to confuse you by offering another solution... Maybe others will chime in as well.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:59 AM   #6
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Not in the least. You have been very helpful, and I appreciate the input!

If done with the lath: I've read a bit on direction of hanging the lath: once on, the cups should face upward, however when I run my hand down each side, the cup up side feels smooth going down and the cup flattish side is the rough side with hand sliding downward. Which is supposed to face out?

Also, I accidentally cut some strips already to size but the wrong direction such that the diamonds are sideways. Will it matter for this application, use it anyways, chuck it and do it properly?

Also, we're having a bit of internal debate: Install the stone flat ends out flush around the inside openings, or do a 45 degree bezel, or have pieces wrap inside opening for 2-3 inches (maybe mitered corners to match up?)? Any input on that? My concern with going around the bend into the firebox a couple inches is that since it is a very light colored stone, the inside portion will get covered in soot very quickly and require lots of maintenance/cleaning.

Thanks again.

Last edited by 99altrade; 12-02-2010 at 10:14 AM. Reason: Add detail.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:32 PM   #7
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99,

That is all a tremendous waste of time and materials.

If you use a modified thinset it will bond your travertine to what you have there right now. You don't need any of that other nonsense, and you certainly don't need refractory mortar for God's sake.

Strip as much paint as you can, scuff the bricks a little and install the travertine with modified thinset.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:48 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advice - which if I had seen it one hour ago would have saved me time and energy on this project - however I plan to make more use of Travertine around the home, and so that will no doubt save me time and money. I have now installed the lath (b4 I saw your message). I'll head out to grab some modified thinset and put scratch coat (let cure for how long before I add the stone?), then apply the buttered stone.

Also, do you have any input as to how to handle the edging (aesthetically) around the firebox? Leave flat sawed edges, use chisel and make it rough, wet saw bevel all around, miter and wrap mitered 2" wrap, etc.?

Thanks again. I know this might seem like overkill for what might seem like a small project, but this is all new to me so trying to get it right the first time...

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99,

That is all a tremendous waste of time and materials.

If you use a modified thinset it will bond your travertine to what you have there right now. You don't need any of that other nonsense, and you certainly don't need refractory mortar for God's sake.

Strip as much paint as you can, scuff the bricks a little and install the travertine with modified thinset.
Should I be adding a 2x4 temporary horizontal support form right under the lintel to support the 10 lb. stones along the top while they set dry so they don't slide down while drying - as seen in below photo found on the net?
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Last edited by 99altrade; 12-02-2010 at 01:49 PM. Reason: Add detail.
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:39 PM   #9
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You cannot use tile thinset for a scratchcoat, it will not work. It will all be on the floor in a couple of hours.
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:41 PM   #10
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Should I be adding a 2x4 temporary horizontal support form right under the lintel to support the 10 lb. stones along the top while they set dry...
Yup! Absolutely!
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Also, do you have any input as to how to handle the edging (aesthetically) around the firebox? Leave flat sawed edges, use chisel and make it rough, wet saw bevel all around, miter and wrap mitered 2" wrap, etc.?
That type of product will chisel nicely. To do a wrap (return) would create a grout line I don't think you would be happy with. Cut it and chisel it is my suggestion.
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:23 PM   #12
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Thanks Bud Cline for your multiple replies, and to the others as well for all the input and advice.

I just bought some polymer modified/fortified thinset for stone at big orange box. I will update you guys with photos as I complete the project with all your input (hopefully I won't screw it up too badly!) over the weekend. What might take you guys 20 minutes with this stuff will take me 10 times as long. Will do some sawing/chiseling to get things to size, and mortar up...
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:53 AM   #13
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Proper Way to Attach Travertine to Brick...


Finished up over the weekend. Stones feel set like a rock. I left the bottom stone on each side simply pressed in with no mortar so I can easily pull it out and have an inch or so free on bottom to work with when replacing the black hearth floor tiles. Just need to do some touching up on a couple of joints, some paint touch up on the mantle, and clean inner edges here and there. Can I just mix some of the same modified white thin-set to fill in a couple of small joints as grout (dried color is close enough for me)? This was my first stone/tiling project. Next are those 6 slate tiles on the floor, begging to be replaced to match. Here is a before and after. Thanks to all who replied.

Primary Materials (total cost of project was under $200 - and materials remain for future use) :

6 square feet Cambria Ivory Travertine 2x6/7 Strips (under $100), wet cut.
1 sheet of lath - most leftover.
1 bag of white stone modified thin-set - most leftover.
1 box tapcon (to secure lath to painted brick) - most leftover.
1 travertine sealer spray - sealed once prior to cut/install, will seal again.
Used some leftover peel-away to strip chunk of the paint from brick.

I know according to some I could have saved time and money and skipped lath and tapcon, but decided to go the length and overbuild.
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Last edited by 99altrade; 12-08-2010 at 01:26 PM. Reason: Added detail.
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:19 PM   #14
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Looks very good! Well done!
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:24 PM   #15
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Thanks bob22. Appreciate the kind words from you guys, whom pretty much all have more experience than I do.
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Looks very good! Well done!

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