late 70s stone fireplace help

kiki_redoFebruary 11, 2010

I think this fireplace is gruesomely ugly. The stone seems badly laid to me. It has a lot of pink in it which doesn't work with any of my possessions or favorite colors, and it's not just pink - if you look closely it's a blistery ugly reddish pink. Also, i think the POs of the house bought some sort of discount stone, because there are all these little weird half-circles cut out of each piece.

Anyway, we are probably buying this house this week, it's a late 70s largely unupdated contemporary. I have many ideas about what sort of updateing we can do to make the house appealing to us but the fireplace - yikes!

I did a search of the postings, and the only information I ran across was that someone mentioned if you tried to remove a stone facing yourself you risk damaging the firebox.

Anybody have any ideas for this fireplace?

What sort of stone is it?

Can I have the pieces sandblasted to remove the texture?

Lighter mortar, would that help?

What I'd really like to do or have done - to remove the stone and have it refaced. Could that be a DIY project?

I think the fireplace is too bulky for the long narrow room, so i really think that putting up a layer of cement board and then tiling or stoning over that would be even bulkier and so, not a good solution.

Any help would be appreciated!

Here is a link that might be useful: fireplace help

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i just now found one fireplace thread here on gardenweb that did say that if you used a sledgehammer to remove stone you could end up damaging the chimney behind the stone

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 2:24PM
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You're right, that is ugly. I lucked out and bought a house with a gorgeous stone fireplace built back in the 1960s. But my stone is cut and stacked and flush with the walls. It's definitely an integral part of the fireplace. Based on the way the stone on yours juts out, it may not be. What is the outside the chimney made of?

You might be able to tell if the stone is integral to your fireplace by removing the screen and looking up above the sill plate. Or you could take a saw with a diamond blade and/or a chisel (depending on the condition of the mortar) and remove the mortar around one of the stones. If it;s just "decorative" you should be able to pry it off.

That technique may also work to remove all the stones if they're just attached to the fireplace. It's how I removed some of the bricks in my downstairs fireplace when we needed to raise the sill plate to fit an insert. It's a lot of work, but it is the kind of thing you can do yourself. It could actually be fun depending on how much you hate the stone.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 10:58AM
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wrighthouse - thanks for the advice! we are probably purchasing the house on tuesday and i'll get a chance to go back and look after that.
i'm thinking about buying a harbor freight version of the fein multitool, with a masonry blade to cut the mortar out - i just want an excuse to buy one anyway!
i'm thinking i'll need to use scaffolding - to remove it safely.

the chimney is made of the same stuff that it's faced with. I'm not sure what the outside is made of since the back wall of the fireplace is flush with the house and the whole thing is under the cedar siding (if that makes sense)

i wonder what happened to the stone that it's all perforated like that -

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 10:09PM
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Your fireplace looks to me more like slate than stone. If I am right, you probably could remove the slate with only a very low risk of damaging the firebox or chimney. But it is a lot of work and very messy. Of course, you do not know exactly what you will find behind the slate (or whatever it is!!). Have you considered painting it, just to see if that transforms the look to something acceptable to you? That would be a lot less effort than removing the stuff, and you can always remove it if painting it does not work.

Another suggestion: Since you are new to the house, you should probably have the the chimney cleaned by a certified chimney sweep before using it, unless the seller has proof that it was cleaned less than a year ago. When the chimney sweep comes over, you can ask his opinion on what can reasonably be done to alter the fireplace.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 8:30PM
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our plan is to have a chimney sweep come and check it out after we purchase. the structural engineer who did our home inspection eyeballed this fireplace, with gas and another one, a woodstove -- said he didn't see anything that was an obvious problem but that we needed to have them checked out before using them.

the current owners said they have not used them in the 2 years they have owned the home, their stated reason was that they have two small kids and worried about safety - so we'll get them checked for sure.

thanks for the thoughts :)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 6:00PM
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