construction of 1950's fireplace hearth

cmlawrenceDecember 5, 2005

All,

I have a brick fireplace in my 1950's California ranch home. A couple of the tiles on the hearth surrounding the fireplace came loose, so I decided to replace them with something nicer.

I ripped out the tiles, and found them to be laid in a very thick (over 6") concrete bed. The concrete is cracked, which is suspect is why some of the tiles came loose. I plan to remove the concrete, reframe the hearth area, and then use concrete backerboard and tile.

Will this work? I'm afraid if I start tearing out the concrete bed, I might end up damaging the actual fireplace. I can't tell if it was poured after the firebox, or with it. Anyone have any experience with fireplaces like this??

Thanks,

CLawrence

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jamesbodell

If you intend to use the fireplace, you will need something better than cement board and tile. You will need high heat cement and firebrick. the high heat cement is actually ceramic based, not cement based, and will get stronger with use, not weaker.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 2:15PM
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ventupete

Cement board will work fine for a hearth. However, you will probably need two layers since most codes require at least an inch of non-combusitble material on the hearth (check your local code). It's highly unlikely that the hearth has any structural connection to the fire box. However, there could be steel that is connected. You may want to use a concrete saw to make a clean cut at the junction of the hearth and firebox. As an alternative, you might want to consider putting down cement board over your existing concrete hearth and tiling it. That way you save a lot of demolition, the hearth will only be raised slightly (1/2"?) and the tiles shouldn't come lose since they will be on a solid sheet of cement board.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 7:00PM
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