How To Install A Stone Veneer Fireplace Surround
Enhance Your Home With a Stone Veneer Fireplace
Planning Your Stone Veneer Fireplace Surround
When you first visualize your Stone Veneer Fireplace Surround, it truly is a thing of beauty. You picture yourself taking in the incredible ambiance of the amazing natural stone veneer you installed yourself. In fact, this will become the favourite room in your home.
But first you must plan your surround. Make notes of what type of stone veneer you would like, what style, pattern, color of stone you prefer. There are many suppliers of stone veneer products, it is wise to check all that are available in your area.
There are several types of stone veneer including real stone, manufactured stone, and stone look-a-like products. For my fireplace I chose real stone veneer. More importantly I chose a real stone veneer that could be installed using a thinset mortar. You cannot get more natural than real stone, and the warmth this adds to a fireplace surround is above all.
There are also many styles, patterns and colors to choose from. Styles are available in slate, granite, limestone, marble and many others. You can also select from ledgestone, plank, fiddlesticks and numerous other styles and patterns. Lastly, you must choose a color to match your taste, something that will also go with the room décor.
Visit your local Stone Veneer retail outlets and check out their display boards. This will give you the best impression of the Stone Veneer look your have visualized for your fireplace.
Beautiful Ledgestone Stone Veneer
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How to Install Stone Veneer Fireplace Surround
Preparing the Surface for the Stone Veneer Fireplace Surround
Depending on whether this is a new fireplace or an existing fireplace, you may have to perform a little demolition work to remove the old surround. In my case, I had an old red brick surround, very dated and totally lacking of any warmth or character. The best way to knock down the old red brick surround is to use a jack hammer. I rented a small jack hammer for under $30 for the day, and the bricks came apart like butter.
Since your are installing stone, you will also need to prepare the surface. Stone must be installed on a surface that the stone will adhere to. You can either install a fireproof cement board over the fireplace bezel and surounding area, or you can install metal lathe and a scratch coat of S Type Cement. I have used metal lathe for outdoor projects, to cover wood surfaces. For the fireplace surround I chose the cement board as it is much simpler to install and less messy. I would highly recommend usng cement board for indoor projects.
The cement board is the same product used to prepare subfloors for stone tiles. Cement boards are easily cut with a handsaw. They are secured to the wall by using backer board type screws. You need to install the screws six inches apart over the entire surface. If the install is covering a drywall area adjacent to the fireplace, it would be best to cover or replace the drywall first with plywood. The backer board screws will secure themselves to the plywood much better than drywall.
If you are installing a mantel, now is the time to do so, before you adhere the stone.
The Natural Color of Ledgstone
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Installing the Stone Veneer
The stone veneer I chose to work with is a ledgestone style. The pattern includes four layers of stone with an overlap between the top two layers and the bottom two. This provides an interlocking affect and creates a surround with no visble patterns.
This is real stone, therefore you will need a wet saw. The ledgestone varies in thickness generally less than 1.5 inches which is thin enough to use a low grade wet saw. You can rent these or as I did, purchase one. They run between $100 and $200 depending on various options such as blade depth and motor HP. For myself, the purchase made sense as I also had other home projects to tackle, such as installing a slate stone floor and also installing a stone tile bathroom and shower.
Since this is ledgestone, the thinset cement was perfect for the job. The thinset cement is easily mixed in a five gallon pail, just add cold water and mix. I used a gardening tool to mix with, something with a long handle with a blade at the bottom. This way you don't get a sore back. Mix the cement until it has the consistency of peanut butter. Add more water or cement powder as needed.
Once the cement is mixed, layout your stone pattern, measure and cut the stone to form one complete row across the bottom of the fireplace surround area. Then apply a thin layer of cement mixture to the cement board, covering the area previously measured for the stone. With a grouved trowel, scrape over the cement mixture and remove the excess cement.
Then push the stone onto the cement board. Simply wiggle the stone into place and let go, then repeat the process until the row of stone has been completed. Keep mixing more cement as needed, and repeat the process of measuring and cutting one complete row of stone at a time.
Ledgstone Stone Veneer
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Stone Veneer Fireplace Surround - A DYI Project
Completing the Install of the Stone Veneer Surround
After you have adhered the last stone, you can add some definition by applying a coat of stone wash. This will bring out the colors in the stone for a rich finish. Now you can stand back and admire. Add a little mood lighting and soft music, and now you are ready to enjoy countless hours in front of your fireplace. This used to be a room I seldom used, now it is my favorite place to entertain guests, spend time with family or just listen to my favorite music.
I would be happy to offer advise to anyone interested in transforming a room in their home into an escape haven. I highly recommend using stone products to add warmth and charm to your home.
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