Last weekend we spent ALL DAY Saturday on our fireplace. It took us about 10.5 hours total, but it was so worth it. We starting by preparing the walls and laying the flagstone hearth.
First we had to prep the walls for the AirStone we were going to be using. I took all 3 kids with me to the home improvement store to pick up paint and supplies and got to work paining the walls a dark color. (If I had it to do over again, I would have primed the walls first because some of the paint started to peel later.)
While I was painting, Eddie went to a local concrete supplier and picked up the Pennsylvania Flagstone (also called Bluestone) we had ordered. We had also checked landscaping companies and fireplace suppliers, but the concrete yard was the only place with an 18″ deep piece in stock. Living in PA means we have access to a lot of great stone. Even though the budget and the structure of the house didn’t allow for us to be able to use real stone for the entire project, I wanted a native piece of flagstone in the house.
Eddie’s parents came by to keep and eye on the kids and his dad and our contractor helped us get the giant piece of stone into the house. It measures 72″ x 18′ x 2″ and weighs about 300 pounds. This type of long, rectangular piece is called a “tread stone.”
We had already reinforced the framing for the hearth with plywood and vertical supports (which are hidden under the plywood).
Our contractor, Mike, let us borrow his rubbing stone to take the sharp edges off the flagstone and make it a little safer for the kids.
Originally we had planned to use mortar to attach the flagstone to the hearth, but when he saw how heavy this stone was it was pretty clear it wasn’t going anywhere and Mike thought silicone would be the way to go. It made the process pretty fast and easy. The guys laid a thick bead of silicone.
Then they marked a center line on the stone and one on the fireplace wall and they picked up the stone (carefully!) and laid it down, matching up the center lines.
I was really happy that we were able to select a local stone that coordinated so well with the AirStone we were going to be using.
Check back tomorrow for Part 2. 🙂