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Unread 11-10-2019, 12:48 PM   #1
mvance
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Leveling Brick for Tile

I've been in the process of remodeling the fireplace in my living room. The fireplace was originally a heatilator style with a wood stove insert, after removing the insert for cleaning I discovered the firebox completely rusted through and filled with soot. I removed the firebox with the intention of using a freestanding woodstove instead of an insert. The brick behind the woodstove is very uneven, I want to tile over the brick and my thinking was attaching furring strips to the brick and cement board over the furring strips. The biggest problem is the brick is so uneven in the top left corner I don’t believe the furring strips would work. The back wall protrudes past where the left corner meets, leaving a void that is about 2 inches deep and around a foot tall. If anyone has any ideas on how I could fill the gap to prep for tile I would be extremely grateful.

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Unread 11-10-2019, 02:21 PM   #2
CaliGrown
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Chip off the big chunks and humps. Fill in the dips and screed the everything flat with mortar/fat mud. Get the bricks damp before mudding.
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Unread 11-10-2019, 03:33 PM   #3
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Using fat mud is similar to plastering a wall...to get it looking nice takes a bit of practice. It might take a lot of spraying the brick to get it so it doesn't suck all of the moisture out of your fat mud, making for a bad bond. It's not too wet unless there's standing water.
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Unread 11-10-2019, 03:47 PM   #4
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I don't see how you could incorporate cement board in this. I would piece it in with chunks of brick and fat mud like the others said. It will take 2 or 3 applications and you can use thinset as a bonder if you need to.
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Unread 11-10-2019, 05:22 PM   #5
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siLSc0hLEmg

This would be basically how to float over your bricks. This is a video from Taiwan since most construction is brick. I've never seen anyone in USA use the same kind of "string" tool he uses as a straight edge initially, but basically it's the same concept.

Isaac Ostrom has good videos on Youtube about floating as well, just he does it over drywall and lath, whereas the Taiwan video uses brick as a substrate. The Taiwan video also has a bit different float strip use (he uses them to set his grounds, then takes them out, in USA people usually leave them in.)
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Unread 11-10-2019, 09:06 PM   #6
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Welcome, Mike.

Mud's clearly the way to go on those walls you have.

That's an interesting wire cutting tool that fella uses for his initial mud flattening, Joe. I've never seen anything like that in this country.

And I've never known any mud men who left their float strips in after mudding walls. But, then, I've never met any mud men from Connecticut, either. Not a good idea in my book.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 11-10-2019, 09:36 PM   #7
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I'm proud of my float strips. No way I'm leaving them in.
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Unread 11-11-2019, 11:05 AM   #8
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I was actually a bit confused, I've kind of only seen it on video. The closest I've done personally was two coat gypsum plaster.

I was just thinking of Isaac's video where he leaves them in, screeds off, then pulls them out and fills the strip portions in. In this video it looks he doesn't screed first, he has a pretty thick layer, uses the strips to set the grounds, and screeds off into where the strips were.
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Unread 11-11-2019, 02:34 PM   #9
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First shower I mudded I got it out of whack because I pushed too hard while screening and pushed the sticks in with the screed, so I can see the benefits to doing out that way, but as you see he has a light hand and it's probably been doing it that way his whole life
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Unread 11-11-2019, 07:15 PM   #10
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This is when a two coat mud bed helps out. The scratch coat helps firm up the mud behind your sticks. You still have to be careful not to push too hard on your sticks but with a single coat bed, the mud doesn't have anything behind it to suck up any moisture and the sticks will easily push in.
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Unread 11-12-2019, 02:06 PM   #11
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You Texans swayed me over to the SoCal Two Coat, nice to come in, set up for the job. Then wire and scratch without having to worry about floating perfect in one go. Then the next day go in and brown coat and start the pan float if were feeling ambitious. Makes for better transitions to the drywall too.
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Unread 11-12-2019, 04:17 PM   #12
mvance
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Thanks for the responses. I think my concern was there wasn't a mixture that could fill that deep of an area, but after watching the video it seems like it shouldn't be a problem, especially with 2 coats. After searching "fat mud" I found another post on here, it looks like Quikrete Scratch and Brown base coat would work, is that correct?
Davy, is using the thinset as a bonder something I'll need to use if the mud doesn't stick? I appreciate you all taking the time to respond and the patience.
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Unread 11-12-2019, 07:41 PM   #13
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If the old mud you're sticking to is rough then the new coat will grab hold. If the old mud is smooth then use a skim coat of thinset just before troweling your new mud on the wall.

The Qwikrete scratch and brown base coat works real well. Hopefully you can find it easier than I can. Sometimes I can find it at 1 particular Home Depot in the Dallas area. But I can order it from any of them.
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