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Old 05-27-2010, 12:13 AM   #1
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skim coating brick fireplace


I have an ugly brick fireplace that is in bad need of a facelift. The guy that built my house tried really hard but wasn't much of a craftsman. The brick is solid, and doesn't have any signs of movement, but it is not flat, level, or square. I want to skim coat it before i tile it and get it nice and flat/ level. How do i go about this? Do i need to attach mesh? What do i use? Thinset? a sand/cement mix?

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Old 05-27-2010, 10:06 AM   #2
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just to clarify what i mean, the brick needs to come out about an inch on the bottom to make it level. This fireplace goes from the roof down through the main floor and sits on concrete. Im wanting to do this in the basement and in the main floor

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Old 05-27-2010, 01:31 PM   #3
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If you don't mesh it and coat it with Portland your going to spend a lot of time not fixing it. You can buy expanded metal corners used for stucco and then sheets of expanded metal for areas the metal stucco corners won't cover. Use washers and masonry screws to attach the mesh, then use cement mortar to fill the mesh.

Be sure when attaching the corners that the actual corner portion of the metal stands slightly proud of the mesh it is made to. This way a straight edge will ride the proud corners and give you a perfect fill and a very flat surface. Also know that the expanded metal mesh has a right way and a wrong way to install it. When installing the mesh it will be easier to see though in one direction than in the other. As you stand looking down on the mesh (as it would be applied to the wall) you want to be able to see through it easily. This what helps to lock the mortar into the mesh and makes gravity your friend again. You should use "end-wall" pieces for applications that return to an existing wall.
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Old 05-28-2010, 12:23 AM   #4
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so i should use the stucco corner bead even though it will get covered in tile?


and what do i want to use for coating? You say mortar mix, would that be like 4 parts sand to one part portland cement? Or will a commercial bag of mortar work?
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Old 05-28-2010, 10:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
so i should use the stucco corner bead even though it will get covered in tile?
Yes, this is what is going to allow you to drag a straightedge and make a plane surface for the tile.

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and what do i want to use for coating? You say mortar mix, would that be like 4 parts sand to one part Portland cement?
Forget all that nonsense in this case, you've been reading too much from the Internet. USE MORTAR MIX.

The concoction you suggest is for what is called "deck mud" used to cast shower floors and to do old fashion mud-job type floor tile.

You need lime in the mix for a vertical application. Mortar mix already contains the necessary lime in the bag. BUY MORTAR MIX!

Add water, mix it thoroughly. Once mixed you don't have to wait like you do with tile thinset. You can go to work immediately. Press it into the mesh in abundance starting at the bottom and filling tightly into whatever is there now for the existing surface. Keep in mind your metal corners MUST BE PROUD of the remaining mesh everywhere.

Drag a straightedge over the application from the bottom upward to shave the excess. As voids turn up, fill them and drag/shave it again. Keep pulling upward with your straightedge. Don't smooth it out, leave it course. When cured this will be your bed/substrate for your tile. The metal corners will eventually get buried under the tile.

If your mixture is mixed correctly this will be really easy and fun too. You may have to play with the mixture to get the hang of it. Mixed too dry/tight and it won't penetrate the mesh easily. Mixed too wet/loose and it will sag. It won't take long to get the hang of it.
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Old 05-28-2010, 06:18 PM   #6
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sounds like a plan. Although im not sure i can get stucco products in my town. Nobody does stucco here. Will a metal drywall corner bead work for my corner and just buy some sort of mesh to cover the brick with?
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:30 PM   #7
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The use of expanded metal mesh is the important thing. Drywall corners would work if you had to use them. I should tell you those (stucco) products are also available in plastic. But, if they aren't there they aren't there.
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:53 PM   #8
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is expanded metal mesh a stucco specific product Or will the mesh that the kids stick in their front bumpers work? Or is it the same thing.


My basic plan is to screw a drywall corner perfectly level and then screw a couple of screeter boards perfectly level, Then i can just fill the mesh with mortar, skreet across and done. Quick and painless







on a side note. Im pouring concrete right now and its not going so smooth. I pulled my form board off so i could smooth out the face, and a big chunk of concrete came with it, now im trying to fill it back in.......... Just had to get that off my chest
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Old 05-28-2010, 10:02 PM   #9
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is expanded metal mesh a stucco specific product Or will the mesh that the kids stick in their front bumpers work? Or is it the same thing.
There must be hundreds of styles of metal mesh.

Here's basically what you should be using. What is shown is a heavier guage than you need but it's what I could find a picture of quick. It should also be galvanized.
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Old 05-28-2010, 10:59 PM   #10
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gotcha, thanks for the help. Im excited to to do this. I don't really have money for tile yet, but i think just getting it skim coated for now will make it look 100x better. That brick looks like hell


Does it matter how thick the mortar gets? Its probably close to an inch out of plumb
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Old 05-28-2010, 11:21 PM   #11
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Mortar thickness doesn't matter, it will heal just fine on its own over night.

But, what is out of plumb and why? That's the whole point in using the metal edge to begin with. Get it plumb and you can't go wrong with the mortar.

How about a picture?
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:43 AM   #12
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its out of level because the guy that built my house was an idiot it doesn't look like its moved at all from the day it was installed 50 years ago



he tried real hard but thats the only good thing i can say. The original lap siding was 3/4 plywood ripped down to 8'x2'. The funny part though was he used like 40,000 cedar shims so the lap siding would have something perfectly flat to sit on
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Old 05-29-2010, 09:55 AM   #13
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Oh OK! Well there's nothing you can do about that stuff. I wasn't understanding at first.

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