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Looking for advise/tips

I have unpainted brick around a wood fireplace. I've purchased the brick, Eldorado Stone and they said to use Type S Mortar.
I was told since the brick is unpainted that I can directly apply the bricks with mortar to the existing fireplace.

I have also heard from others that it is better to first put on a scratch coat and then apply the new brick.

Also told to attach "chicken wire" so the motar will adhere better.

Any expeience/best practises?
 
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