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Unread 11-08-2013, 12:18 PM   #1
lpallard
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Natural gas fireplace hearth build

Hi there!

So about a year ago I demolished my natural gas fireplace hearth that was built by the original contractors. The hearth was poorly built with drywall and 2x3's for the framing. I removed everything except the fireplace itself, and I have rebuild a nice metal stud frame to support the upcoming hearth.

See attached pictures. These are old pictures taken last year. since then, I have closed the opening in the back wall due to Fire code requirements.

Anyways to the questions!

I am ready to cap the fireplace box with Durock panels. I intend to use 24x24 hardened and rectified enameled porcelain tile to tile the hearth. I imagine 1/2" durock sheets should be plenty strong for tile, especially considering the size of the box. I have however never worked with durock before. Other than the special screws, is it installed like drywall?

Do I need to predrill in the cement boards?

How spaced the screws should be? Like every 8 or 10 inch?

Do I need to finish the corners like drywall corners are finished? I am refering to the sheet metal angle piece drywallers put on the corners..

I am especially scared of the contraction/expansion of the fireplace hearth due to the heating and cooling off cycles... Should I put Ditra or something similar to uncouple the movement of the cement boards and avoid the tiles from falling off or worst breaking? what about the grout lines?

Do I need to put expansion/contraction joints?

Should I moisten the durock panels before applying thinset?

DO I use standard unmodified thinset or should I use a special type of thinset for vertical installation?

As you can see, I am clueless where to start but I am listening carefully!
Thanks!
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Unread 11-08-2013, 03:59 PM   #2
dhagin
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Hi Louis.

Post a link to your f.p. installation instructions.
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Unread 11-08-2013, 08:36 PM   #3
lpallard
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Quote:
Post a link to your f.p. installation instructions.
Not sure I understand... you mean the actual fireplace manual?

Its a Continental BCDV36NTR fireplace insert..
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Unread 11-09-2013, 12:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis
you mean the actual fireplace manual?
yep.
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Unread 11-09-2013, 09:44 AM   #5
lpallard
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There you go.. not sure how it will help answering a tiling problem..

But Im for sure curious to see where you're going!

http://napoleonproducts.com/download...802_BCDV36.pdf
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Unread 11-09-2013, 10:06 AM   #6
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Louis,

Thanks for the link to the manual. That was very helpful as it answered the questions we have which help to avoid problems (fires) later.

0- Can you number your questions? It saves on typing and scrolling

1- Yes

2- Not when using the proper screws. Backer-On screws are self tapping and when installed with an impact gun, make for a pleasant experience.

3- Depends on what the CBU manufacturer specifies. Each specifies a fastening schedule. Right now the USG interweb site is being re-done and the instructions are a bit hard to find.

4- Not with metal or paper or plastic bead, but with fiberglass mesh tape made specifically for this installation and thinset. Those pesky CBU instructions will have a "materials" list covering this. You'll find the mesh tape next to the backer -on screws at the big orange store.

5- The fireplace instructions state "MATERIALS THAT ARE REPORTED AS PASSING ASTM E 136, STANDARD TEST METHOD FOR BEHAVIOUR OF MATERIALS IN A VERTICAL TUBE FURNACE AT 750°C AND UL763 SHALL BE CONSIDERED NON-COMBUSTIBLE MATERIALS." You'll have to check with each manufacturer for that. I doubt a plastic material like ditra can. Fusion Pro grout will certainly be a good choice as it softens a bit when heated to very high temperatures.

6- You need 'soft joints' where the tiles meet the drywall and the floor as you would in any tile installation, fireplace or not

7- You can if you want to. How fast do you work?

8- What does the tile manufacturer say it wants as a thinset?

9- No difference
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Unread 11-09-2013, 01:25 PM   #7
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Are the steel studs 3-1/2" deep, 20 gauge or heavier, 16" OC max? Looks like you need a few more studs.
Is there a header over the f.p. opening to support the weight above?
You have a gas shutoff for the f.p. that will remain accessible once the tile is complete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by all Louis
Other than the special screws, is it installed like drywall?
See the Durock installation instructions for this and all the rest of the Durock install questions.

Quote:
Should I put Ditra or something similar
Nope. You don't want or need plastic anywhere.

Quote:
Do I need to put expansion/contraction joints?
Yes. Leave 1/4" gaps around the perimeter against any adjacent surface and fill with color matched caulking.

Need to remove the finish flooring in the hearth area and see what you have to go over. EG; what is above the joists and is it installed properly? Plug your floor construction info into the Deflecto and tell us what you get AND what the joist spacing is.
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Unread 11-11-2013, 11:11 AM   #8
lpallard
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Thanks guys for the replies! Way to go!

Quote:
0- Can you number your questions? It saves on typing and scrolling
Absolutely. I usually number my questions for easier answering especially when I have 3+ questions but I forgot to do so this time.. Sorry!

Other weird thing, there is no "Edit Post" button on my first post so adding the numbers is impossible for now...

Anyways, Houston Remodeler:

2- I will look for these Backer-on screws as I already have the impact gun... Thanks for the pointer!

3- I will use whatever Durock suggests.... Otherwise, I imagine the same fastening schedule as a shower wall is OK?

4-OK with fiberglass mesh taope and thinset the corners. Kinda like drywall mudding of corners but with thinset...

5-Yes, the fireplace instruction PDF states non-combustibles materials only. Good point on the ditra... I dont think plastic is combustion proof I will look at the fusion pro grout. Would you use anything special at all or just: steel stud, cement board, thinset and tile?

6-Absolutely agreed for the expansion joints between floor, wall and fireplace hearth... I was more referring to between the different surfaces of the fireplace hearth than between that one and the wall/floor... For example, should my installation allow for the top of the fireplace to "move" independently from the sides/front? I imagine if the whole box expands/contracts the angle between the surfaces will change and eventually whatever grout line there will crack..

7-I work kinda slowly. I am a perfectionist and very delicate/careful in what I do. Tiling this box may take around 2 days for me as I am not in a rush and I do not tolerate defects at all...

8-Haven't spoke to the tile mfg just yet. As a matter of fact, I havent picked up the tile yet. Most likely it will be Fortiflex 2 as my preferred tile is Ceragres and thats what they recommended last time I used that.

9- All right!!

dhagin,

Quote:
Are the steel studs 3-1/2" deep, 20 gauge or heavier, 16" OC max? Looks like you need a few more studs.
The studs are 3 1/2" deep, 20 gauge but on the front they are not 16" OC.. May have to add a few vertical braces I guess... Easily done

Quote:
Is there a header over the f.p. opening to support the weight above?
I had forgot to mention, the top of the fireplace will not be tiles as I will install a wood shelf. Only sides and front will be tiled. I do not intend to have a heavy load standing on the top of the fireplace box perhaps a flast screen TV but otherwise, not much..

Quote:
You have a gas shutoff for the f.p. that will remain accessible once the tile is complete?
Oh yes! The shutoff (safety valve) is located underneath the appliance behind the lower louver. The tile job wont hide anything that we need access to operate the fireplace or for Code compliance.

Quote:
Need to remove the finish flooring in the hearth area and see what you have to go over. EG; what is above the joists and is it installed properly? Plug your floor construction info into the Deflecto and tell us what you get AND what the joist spacing is
hmmmm.... this is a condo unit with a floating concrete slab. I already tiles onto this slab in the kitchen. Worked flawlessly. Under the slab, I have no idea but the constructors have verbally mentioned that it is a wooden structure (engineered beams) with 1.5in wood substrate. Floor is PLENTY rigid, as a matter of fact, the floating slab is not even cracked.

The finished floor was installed by me a few weeks ago deflecto tool is not really applicable here... Lack of information over the floor/building construction but history suggests the floor is rigid enough for tiling, especially if it is on a vertical surface (IMO).
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Unread 11-11-2013, 12:11 PM   #9
dhagin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis
I had forgot to mention, the top of the fireplace will not be tiles as I will install a wood shelf. Only sides and front will be tiled. I do not intend to have a heavy load standing on the top of the fireplace box perhaps a flast screen TV but otherwise, not much..
You still need a "header". If you use a continuous sheet of backer board, running side to side above the opening and use plenty of screws into the perimeter and the new studs you'll add, it may be adequate.
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