Magazine article Sunset

Fireplace Facelift: How to Give a Nondescript Fireplace a Glowing Facade

Magazine article Sunset

Fireplace Facelift: How to Give a Nondescript Fireplace a Glowing Facade

Article excerpt

How it was done

We replaced the original mantel (A) with a same-size frame of 2-by-6s (B) that we screwed to the wall. A new wood mantel top was attached to the frame with glue and screws driven into the underside.

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Then we screwed the gypsum board onto the front and sides of the frame (C). Slate tiles were glued to the brick hearth and mantel face. Screw heads were covered with gypsum-board compound.

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Two thin coats of clay plaster were used to cover the new surround (shown at right). The plaster has a suedelike finish, which was created with a wet sponge.

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After painting the walls of our living room a golden yellow, my wife, Beth, and I decided that the 50-year-old fireplace--white-painted brick within a ready-made wood surround--also needed upgrading. The masonry shell was well constructed, so the transformation could be largely superficial, like putting icing on a cake. The project took two weekends to complete and cost about $400.

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Material choices and techniques

Our new fireplace front has three main components: the material surrounding the firebox and covering the hearth (which must be fireproof), the new surround, and the mantel top. …

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