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Unread 09-23-2020, 10:41 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Los Angeles (San Fernando Valley)
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Fireplace framing w/Steel

Hello All,
I'm very happy to be on this forum. Have been reading your advice a couple months, while I planned this project. Short description to a long story, I had a whole house remodel (teardown) two years ago, and added this wonderful fireplace (Superior model, zero clearance, gas). Despite the warning label on the fireplace front, contractor decided it was okay to frame it with lumber. I haven't been able to turn on the fireplace in two years! It's now time to complete the project. Here's where we are and the questions I have:
1. Using 20-gauge cold pressed steel track/stud (framing is not yet completed). Fp installation manual says only non-combustible materials may be used on the face of the fp.
2. Concerned about the heat produced by the fp. I measured a high of 350-degrees just above fp opening (frame and metal front of fp) and the box header is too hot to touch (rest of the frame and metal front is cool or warm).
3. Am I being overly concerned with the heat? Is the header okay, or should I modify it?
4. Plan to use 1/2-inch Durock over the frame (attached with 1 1/4-in. Rock-On screws). Do I need 2 layers of Durock? Should I switch to 5/8-inch? Rather not, but if it's safer...
5. Have Adfors cement board Fibatape for Durock joints.
6. Thinking of using either Laticrete 255 Multimax or Mapei Ultraflex2 thinset. Should I consider adding Fire Clay to the thinset, or skim-coating the Durock with something else before tiling? Or is that overkill?
7. For the hearth (there are no heat concerns), laying 1/4" Durock over thinset and subfloor. Using Motawi tiles over all.
Would greatly appreciate feedback. This is my first framing/fireplace project.
I'm pretty comfortable with tile, but fireplace prep is new to me. And I'm only doing this once!
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Unread 09-24-2020, 01:42 PM   #2
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Hey there Sara!

Check out this handy document on tiling near heat sources before going any further:


The gist of it is that standard cement mortars are okay near heat sources where the surface temperature is not "too hot to touch" when the fireplace is on. However, for areas that are too hot to touch, a rapid-setting mortar and grout would be needed.

Also, be sure to get in touch with the fireplace manufacturer to see about how they recommend fastening cement board, and how to treat that metal header above the fireplace. Some manufacturers don't want anything fastened to it, some say you can put board over it, others say lap the board over without fasteners, and etc.

I hope that helps!

MAPEI Product Tech Support Hotline 1-800-992-6273
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Unread 09-24-2020, 03:49 PM   #3
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Hi Holden,

Thanks so much for this information - I will check out both sources before going further!
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