Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Not Your Grandma's Fireplace

January 2013

After I made the big jump to paint the brick it was a smooth sailing to completion.  The fireplace surround that started this entire project was finally ready to be installed. For those who are interested, the surround is made by Pleasant Hearth and my mom purchased it on Amazon where it shipped free.  It has a craftsman feel to it and the arch top doors reminded me of our own hobbit door not so far away. There are several other designs that seem to work well for older style homes.

The install of the piece was really easy.  It pretty much has six toggle bolts that you tighten into the sides and top of your fireplace opening.  No seriously, that was it. According to the directions it might have been more complicated if our opening was taller, or if we lacked a metal brick ledge.  But for once, in the history of the house, we appeared to have something 'typical.' Once, it came out of the box it took only a few moments to unpack, install the provided insulation into the back and read the instructions. Just because I like to make double sure of things I decided to go online and read up a bit.  Most reviewers were positive, a few mentioned it you were using this to act as a damper you probably needed to add some additional sealing and insulation.   I went ahead and purchased the other items they recommended. 

Josh cleaned the interior of the brick opening (Gus of course had to help).  He then applied a sticky back insulation roll, roughly about 2" thick around three sides of the opening.  This is supposed to help with the inevitable air gap where the surround meets the brick.  Sorry for the lack of pictures but since it was a two man job we were lacking apposable thumbs.  The next step after the surround installed was to use heat resistant silicone to fill in all the gaps around the top and edges where our surround sat flush to the brick but left openings where the indented mortar lines were. 

This was honestly the worst part, I hate silicone.  Its not easy to work with, it sticks to everything, and it doesn't wipe off you or other objects with water.  Once every mortar hole was filled with silicone we installed the door handles.  Finally, I got my decorating cap back on and put back all my fireplace chitz.

The run down is this.  Three weeks of work, one new surround, one gallon of masonry primer, reused stain, paint, and poly.  It cost roughly $300 and made a huge difference to our little family room.

Before 2010:



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