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Old 09-18-2008, 01:56 AM   #1
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How to properly prepare for slate fire surround


Hi, another project we're doing is re-building the fireplace surround in our house. it was covered in some rustic-looking field stone that was nice, but not our style. We had to completely remove everything down to the studs. Since then, my husband has framed out the surround (12' h, 9'w, 5" d) and we're about to hang the drywall on it to enclose it.

Before we go and do that, of course, we're checking for plumb, etc., but I want to make sure that drywall is an acceptable backer for our application.

We're going to be applying 12" x 24" horizontal slate tiles in a staggered (brick) pattern with minimal grout lines for a modern look.

Would we be better off enclosing the frame in wonderboard or some other backer board product, rather than drywall?

Also, are there any particular recommendations about what kind of mastic/mortar to use considering the vertical application?

Also, this is not a zero-clearance fireplace, so there is a metal face that we'd like to cover with some honed black slate...any special considerations there, as to what product to use to mount the slate to the metal face? Is that even possible?

Thanks for the info, we're just not sure where to start!

jc

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Old 09-18-2008, 01:57 AM   #2
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How to properly prepare for slate fire surround


Oh, BTW, I put this in 'flooring' because there wasn't anything specific for 'tiling'.

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Old 09-18-2008, 07:55 AM   #3
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How to properly prepare for slate fire surround


1/2" cementitious backerboard (wonderboard, durarock, etc) is a better substrate for tile than sheetrock, although sheetrock will work in a pinch. Be sure to tape your seams with fiberglass backerboard tape and mud the seams with thinset.

Use good quality dry mix thinset, not cheap stuff. You can even buy "no-sag" thinset that is great for vertical applications. It helps keep your tiles from sagging after placement on the wall.

No, you can't adhere tiles to the metal face of the fireplace unit. My recommendation is to mask it off and spray it with high heat spray paint to clean it up and make it look better if it needs it.
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:27 AM   #4
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How to properly prepare for slate fire surround


Thanks for the advice, we'll save the sheetrock for the bathroom remodel and use one of the products you recommended. Want to make sure we use the most appropriate materials for the best job possible.

I have photos from the previous owners, and the fieldstone or whatever kind of rock (veneers) they had on that fireplace was covering the metal front of the fireplace. It was mounted on mesh that they had stretched across both the metal front and the drywall on the surround. Is there any safe way to do something similar with the slate? It won't be the end of the world if not, but it would be nice.

Thanks again!
jc
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Old 09-18-2008, 11:46 AM   #5
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How to properly prepare for slate fire surround


Ok, provided that the metal part isn't a vent opening of any kind or an access panel, you could cover it the way you descibed.

You can buy wire lath at most home centers. Cut a couple pieces, double them up, and staple them to the backerboard on either side and above the metal you're wanting to cover, so it hangs down. I'd suggest masking the metal very well to keep thinset from getting on it. You can use some stiffly mixed thinset to sort of stucco the metal, let that dry, then apply the tile with lots of thinset. I wouldn't get too greedy about "hanging" tiles just from this though. It might not be all that durable.

If possible, perhaps you could overlap the backerboard over the metal on the fireplace? Maybe using multiple layers of 1/4" or 1/2" backerboard might help facilitate this.

You just can't stick the tiles directly to the metal.
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Old 09-22-2008, 10:02 AM   #6
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How to properly prepare for slate fire surround


nothing flammable can be mounted on that metal face...I"m not sure if backerboard would be safe? I know drywall isn't. Maybe stapling the mesh like you suggested would be our best bet.

Thanks.
jc
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Old 09-22-2008, 11:39 AM   #7
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How to properly prepare for slate fire surround


Backerboard isn't combustable, so either way would be acceptable.

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