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Old 10-03-2011, 09:27 AM   #1
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Suggestions on refacing brick fireplace


Hello,

Just need some help on what the best approach would be to refacing my brick fireplace. I plan on putting ceramic tile over the brick and also replacing the tile on the hearth. I'm also planning on adding a white wood mantle/surround that I've already purchased.
My question is: What is the best way to cover the brick in preparation for the tile? The brick is in very good condition and not painted. I figure I have 2 options, spreading a thinset to even out the surface or put up some kind of concrete backerboard. If I go the thinset route, it seems to me it would be tough to get an even, flat surface for the tile. The backberboard would give me the flat surface but would add thickness and having never installed backerboard before it looks like it could be a pain to install.

Also, the existing mantel is concrete. What would be the best approach to removing it? My plan was to just take a sledgehammer and start wacking away at it..not sure if there is a better, more effective way to do it though.

Any help is appreciated


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Old 10-03-2011, 09:38 AM   #2
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Suggestions on refacing brick fireplace


The mantel has value. You should be able to drive some wedges and lift the mantle for one-piece removal and salvage. Have no idea how it is installed.

As far as applying tile to the brick - just do it. I would use a five-daub method of applying modified thinset to the backs of each tile, this way the tiles will be easier to keep on plane vertically. Stack the tiles on spacers until they dry. You will likely have to turn the corners so do them first so the face tile overlaps the end tiles. A metal edging may also be in order to hide the raw tile edges.

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Old 10-03-2011, 09:40 AM   #3
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You will need a temporary ledger on legs so you can install the tiles over the fire box.

You can not install tile inside the fire box.
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Old 10-03-2011, 09:41 AM   #4
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Doesn't that mantel seem to look more like cut stone than poured concrete?
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:12 AM   #5
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Suggestions on refacing brick fireplace


I don't have that good eyesight anymore: however -
the mantel is stone.
Pretty sure.

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Old 10-03-2011, 10:14 AM   #6
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I think it is cement. Those man-made things are everywhere.
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:20 AM   #7
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At least I didn't say it was marble!
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:22 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
...I would use a five-daub method of applying modified thinset to the backs of each tile, this way the tiles will be easier to keep on plane vertically. Stack the tiles on spacers until they dry. You will likely have to turn the corners so do them first so the face tile overlaps the end tiles. A metal edging may also be in order to hide the raw tile edges.
Thanks for the reply Bud. What do you mean by the five-daub method of applying thinset? 2 top - 1 middle - 2 bottom on the back of the tile and then apply to the brick? Would you not butter the whole back of the tile first? Any type of thinset you'd recommend? I'm not too worried about the edging as the surround will be covering it.

What's the best way to clean the brick prior to application?

Regarding the material of the mantel..I'm 99% sure it's concrete. The front has some type of polished texture/design. When you look at the top of the mantel, it looks like concrete. I'll take a close-up picture later tonight. Regardless, it needs to go.
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:28 AM   #9
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You can not install tile inside the fire box.
I don't claim to know alot but I do know that
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Thanks for the reply Bud. What do you mean by the five-daub method of applying thinset? 2 top - 1 middle - 2 bottom on the back of the tile and then apply to the brick?
Correct.

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Would you not butter the whole back of the tile first?
No reason to. The daubs will cause a slight standoff but will make it easier to adjust the plane. There will be a slight gap/void behind the tiles but that's what you want.

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Any type of thinset you'd recommend?
Any modified/fortified thinset mortar.

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I'm not too worried about the edging as the surround will be covering it.
GOOD POINT! I hadn't thought about that but you are correct.

Quote:
What's the best way to clean the brick prior to application?
Shouldn't need much cleaning as it is porous and you have the existing mortar joints for the new thinset to lock into. If it is smoky I would use TSP to clean it.

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Regarding the material of the mantel..I'm 99% sure it's concrete.
I think so too. That stuff is everywhere. It basically simulates sandstone. It is available for wall caps, and pool copings, and quoins, and window sills, and keystones, and steps, and hearths, and mantels, and fireplace surrounds, it goes on and on.
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The front has some type of polished texture/design.
That style is what I know to be called "chiseled".

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Regardless, it needs to go.
Understood, but keep in mind it has value. You could offer it on Craig's List and easily pay for your thinset with the proceeds.
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:33 AM   #11
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Suggestions on refacing brick fireplace


The mantel appears to be Indiana Bedford stone to me, with a sanded top. The stuff gets used for everything around here and often gets confused for precast concrete. If the stone is just mortared down to the brick, a few taps around the perimeter should get it loose.

Not sure if it matters at all, but I think the brick are just colored concrete brick, which would be far easier to adhere to than clay???

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