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Unread 04-15-2008, 06:21 AM   #1
jaguar
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Stone around a fireplace

Well I'm not really sure this is the best place to ask, since this mostly seems to be a tiling forum, but it is called Tile and Stone, so I figured what the heck.

We've got a rather dated family room that we are getting started redoing. One wall of the room is brick with a fireplace in it. I don't like the brick (its not just nice normal brick, its got these ugly white bricks mixed in with it) So we'd like to cover it up. The idea is to put stone around the fireplace up to the ceiling, leaving about a 4 foot section on each side that I'll put drywall over. For the drywall its easy enough I got some masonry screws, and will put some wood strips up, and then screw the drywall to that.

However for the stone, we've run into some problems. The first problem is finding some stone we liked to put up. It seems that stone veneer (the manufactured stuff like this from Enviornmental Stone Works ) is the right choice. However I'm a bit concerned that it while it looks great on the outside from 10ft away, inside up close it won't look very good. Anyone have any experience with this?

Our next problem is actuality finding a place to buy the stone veneer from. Lowes supposedly can order it, but they don't seem to really know how. I've gone to a couple of stone yards, but they all seem to cater to professionals, and are never open when I go, or else they only have a few small samples to look at. Anyone have any helpful ideas?

For installation, since the brick is in good shape, I'm planning on just putting a Mortar scratch coat over the brick, letting that dry and then setting the stone veneer in some mortar on top of that. Is that the correct procedure?

And here's a picture of the fireplace since I know everyone loves pictures!
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Unread 04-15-2008, 06:28 AM   #2
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I can't help you with your stone purchase, but I can offer suggestions about attaching it to the wall. First, you need to clean the wall of the soot and accumulated dirt. If you have any flakey bricks or mortar, wire brush them until all you have left is solid brick. With a clean brick substrait, you can mortar your stone directly to the brick using brick mortar, or you can apply metal lath and do a scratch coat if you think the bricks are a bit on the crumbly side. Given the number of used brick in the wall, I'd do the lath and scratch coat method.
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Unread 04-15-2008, 10:53 AM   #3
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The brick is in pretty good shape (and I've already cleaned it up pretty well), so I don't think I really need the lathe, however if I put the lathe up, at some later date would I be able to take the stone down and leave the brick unscathed (if for some bizarre reason the ugly brick comes back in style in 20 years or something?)
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Unread 04-15-2008, 11:40 AM   #4
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Did a similar "build" in my house over a brick fireplace. I found a stoneyard that had "face stone," which varies from 3/4" to about 1 1/4" in thickness. Used a morter mix and set them directly on the brick. Just start at the bottom and build it up. The morter was about the right colour, so I used a grout bag and some loose-mixed morter to fill the gaps. Take a stick and strike the joints, sponge off any extra residue and it's a "done deal." Had a lot of compliments on it. Oh, I wouldn't think about removing it if brick "comes back in style." That morter has a tenacious bond!

BTW, had a look at your blog. Nice tiling in the BR!
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Unread 04-15-2008, 02:38 PM   #5
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Before putting up a new veneer face, I'd look into why there is so much smoke/soot on the brick. Could be from someone starting a fire without opening the damper, but as heavy as it is, I'd suspect some sort of draw issue with the fireplace.

Just a thought,

As to looking at the material--cultured that is-- Home depot has several varieties, and if there is an acme brick dealer, they will have quite a few samples. Real stone might be more of a problem unless you can get to your local stone yard when they are open. Most around here 6am -4 pm M-F. and maybe til noon Saturday if at all.

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Unread 04-16-2008, 08:56 AM   #6
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The fire place was converted to gas some years back, I suspect that the soot is from before that time. At least I can't imagine anyway a gas fireplace would cause that much soot. The chimney looks to be in good shape though, its also possible there was a problem and it was fixed up when the previous homeowner converted it to gas. Either way we never use the fireplace (don't see much point in a gas fireplace personally) so I'm not real concerned about it.

Ohh and thanks for the kind words Lazarus, I don't think I ever posted the pics here... I should go do that.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 08:51 AM   #7
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Well I've started redoing the family room, and am ready to set the hearthstone for the fireplace. We've got a nice big piece of bluestone to set down, and I'm wondering what sort of mortar to use for it. The old hearth was made of bricks, and I removed the top layer of those. I plan on just setting down the bluestone in a bed of mortar over the top of the remaining bricks (which are in good shape, and set solidly).

So my question is what sort of mortar mix should I use? The mortar will probably be somewhere between .5" to 1" thick to make the bluestone level with the fireplace, will that be ok?

And a picture of the stone!
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Unread 06-19-2008, 09:37 AM   #8
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A good, "medium-bed" thinset would be in order. Any good tile supplier should be ably to point you toward a non-sag morter. I use "Total Contact" from Master Tile.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 10:05 AM   #9
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I would think regular brick mortar would be fine for this.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 12:14 PM   #10
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Personally, I like to dry set a stone like this on horseshoe shims (or washers taped together). Much easier to get it level. then tuck the joint with either brick mud, or the grout of your choice.

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Unread 06-19-2008, 12:24 PM   #11
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What would a "regular Brick mortar" be? Assuming I'm shopping at Ye Olde Lowes, Would that just be Quikrete Mortar Mix? Or Mason's Mix? Or should I mix my own Mason's Cement with sand? And if so should I use Type N or Type S?

I understand they are basically all just different ratios of Portland Cement, Lime, and Sand, and that any would probably work ok, I figure since they are all pretty much the same price I should buy whatever would work the best. (espiacly after reading pages and pages about the intricacies of deck mud for my shower base).
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Unread 06-19-2008, 12:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JVC
Personally, I like to dry set a stone like this on horseshoe shims (or washers taped together). Much easier to get it level. then tuck the joint with either brick mud, or the grout of your choice.
Ohh, this sounds like an excellent idea, I was quite concerned with how I would get it to be level. By "tuck the joint" do you just mean shoving in lots of mortar? Would there be any concerns with the stone coming loose with this method?
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Unread 06-19-2008, 02:21 PM   #13
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Mason's Mix.
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Unread 06-25-2008, 06:21 AM   #14
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Thanks bbcamp, that worked great.

I've started putting the stone veneer up, and while it looks pretty good, I had a pretty hard time doing it, and it took forever, and my results still aren't perfect. My biggest problem seems to stem from the varying heights of the pieces of stone. It frequently seemed like I had a few stones in a row that we all almost the same height, but far enough apart that the next stone would either be lopsided, or I would have to space it out, and then it would leave a rather large (1/4-1/2") gap. I had my wife help, she would pick a stone, and then I would mortar it up. This seemed to work pretty well, but picking the right stone out ( we had about 30sqft of stone layed out on the floor to choose from) seemed to take forever and be very difficult.

So does anyone have any tips/suggestions on what I'm doing wrong.
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Unread 06-25-2008, 09:33 AM   #15
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If you are trying for a dry-stacked effect, you're gonna get some lopsided stones unless you have a lot of shards to use as shims and spacers. That's just part of it.

I think your stone would look better if the individual pieces appeared to be level (horizontal) even if they don't form even rows across the fireplace. In fact, I think that breaking the rows so they don't go completely across the fieplace and not aligning any vertical joint more than 2 stones high will look great. A little mortar in the joints won't look bad at all.

One last thing: sometimes you have to make the stone fit by breaking it, or knocking off the part that doesn't fit.
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