Magazine article Sunset

Fireplace Facelift

Magazine article Sunset

Fireplace Facelift

Article excerpt

How to give a nondescript fireplace a glowing facade

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.

Material choices and techniques

Our new fireplace front has three main components: the material surrounding the firebox and covering the hearth (which must be fire-proof), the new surround, and the mantel top. For the firebox and hearth, we selected African Prairie Slate, a richly patterned stone that is sold in gauged (evenly thick) 12-inch squares. The slate, which came from Echeguren Slate in San Francisco (www.echeguren.com or 415/206-9343), cost about $5.60 per tile. With a wet saw rented from a home improvement store, I cut the tiles to size. I attached them to the old brick with Marble and Granite Adhesive (from Liquid Mails Adhesives, www.liquidnails.com or 800/634-0015).

The frame of 2-by-6s for the new surround is screwed to the wall around the masonry shell with 3-inch deck screws. …

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