Fireplace – some color and sealer


So after running this morning I went to Treehouse in Austin. They helped me find an Eco-friendly sealer that I could tint.

This stuff is a soy and hemp oil and the color came from earth ground pigments (American clay to be exact – smoky flint I believe).

I mixed the stuff up in an old pasta jar (they’re really handy for around the house) and then took a rag and applied. Some areas took up more color than others and the cure time is slow – a few days so the color might continue to change.

I hung the picture back up tonight so it wouldn’t look so barren.

That jar on the floor? That is a copper solution made with white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and pennies (1960s pennies work best). I’m hoping the hearth can be dyed with the blue and then I can add the dark sealer over.

If it doesn’t work (I’ve got some test pieces of cement) I’ll use an actual concrete stain and then seal.

One all that is done I’ll work on the metal.


Concrete is fixed!

This morning I worked on the fireplace once again. I probably spent the about a half hour mixing the stuff in my garage though but I made enough.

I had a bit of a time constraint – I was going to watch WWZ at 2 so I allowed myself until about 1ish to finish.

I worked fairly quickly. The Deco-Poz was a little runny but I was tired of mixing the stuff. It troweled on really nicely though. Much better than the Quikrete stuff. Ardex is still tops but the price isn’t. I probably would have needed a and a half more bags today if I had bought that stuff.

So I was pretty much done a little after 12 and still had extra cement so I poured out the hearth as well.



Then I had to do a quick rinse of the tools and clean up for the movie. Luckily I’m a couple miles away so I was there in plenty of time. World War Z was pretty cool too.

After the movie, I went home and really thought I’d come back to 2 concrete covered cats. I didn’t (WHEW!) but I did come home to some paw prints on my hearth.


I spent a couple hours sanding the concrete down and then troweling another layer on the hearth. The prints aren’t completely covered but they’re more faint.



Here is the fireplace now.



So the next step is to either stain & seal or use a tinted sealer. I want the vertical space to be a little more subtle than the hearth. I could go a little darker and it won’t be pitch black like before.

Until next time. 🙂



Phase I of Fireplace Project Complete

So the first phase of the fireplace project is officially complete. Last week, I ran out of cement backer board and ended up buying a second sheet this week. I also removed the floor tiles on the sides and left it bare (eventually, before flooring, I’ll make sure it is level enough.

I left the slate in the hearth area as you can see below.

Fireplace Phase I


What I’m planning on doing is now instead of using Joint Compound to give that part of the wall a smooth finish, I’m going to be using a cement product. I got the idea from this site (there were some more cement type ideas too) and had contemplated doing the same thing but thought the JC would do the same job.

I ended up changing my mind because of the heat factor from the fireplace. It won’t get uber hot to melt the joint compound, at least I don’t think it would but still, since I opted for cement backer board, I thought using this Ardex stuff was the way to go. So yeah, I just placed an order for some Ardex SD-M on Friday. I’m getting the white cement and figured I could add a little bit of my Benjamin Moore Flora paint to it.

Here is another link that inspired me to use Ardex. This is from YouTube.

If you’re wondering about the slate that forms the hearth, my plan is to use that cement micro topping over it so it creates one uniform piece. If it works, it will be awesome because then I won’t have to worry about buying and laying tile. 🙂

The stuff should come in before next weekend so I’ll update more then.

The final piece will be the zinc. If all goes well, I should have a new fireplace before the end of July.


FIreplace Project Has Begun!

The before pic.

The before pic.

Big wood screws, I guess that support piece wasn't going anywhere.

Big wood screws, I guess that support piece wasn’t going anywhere.


Stupid big bolts.

Stupid big bolts.


Oops, I busted some of the cement board. :(

Oops, I busted some of the cement board. 😦


IMG_1194So I started the fireplace refresh this afternoon. Before starting though, I took a pic to show the before.

The first thing I did was remove the mantle. The wood screws in my hand were HUGE but there were also some bolts attached to the piece of wood that held the mantle. I was happy that I didn’t need to cut through them in order to remove.

Next, I took my wood chisel (I need an actual pry bar) and carefully pried the tile off. (It’s black slate that I’ll be taking to the Habitat Re-Store sometime in the next week or two) I managed to only break 3 tiles but chipped a few. :-/

Oh, as I pried off the tiles, I kept spraying with bug spray. There were some creepy crawlies so I made sure I took care of them.

I don’t know if you could see, I tore off some of the cement backer board or its equivalent. So it was off to Lowes I for a sheet.

I had to stop midway through attaching the backerboard. I was getting tired and hungry. I’ll use the rest of the board to attach so that I can minimize the joint compound I’ll be using to smooth out the wall.

I think I’m Going with this Fireplace Idea

I think I’ve finalized my fireplace idea!

I’ve been coming up with ideas that would update the fireplace and posted a lot of ideas. I think I’ve come up with the best idea that isn’t too costly either.

When I started really doing research on updating “the memorial”, I saw ideas similar to this. For me to actually reface it with new doors, louvers, etc, it probably would have been spendy (several hundred upwards to the thousand dollar range). That wasn’t including tile or anything.

While looking at ideas for a fireplace mantel, as I mentioned earlier, I realized the idea of using a barn beam or a reclaimed beam, wasn’t going to fit the style I was going for (the concrete-ish textured wall). So last night I started to look for metal mantels.

Somehow I started to look at making my own with either copper or zinc. Copper wouldn’t work because of the colors but it is a beautiful metal. Plus, it looks like it wouldn’t require a lot of special tools to work with as you can see from this website.

Zinc is pretty cool and can be patinated. (learned that word today) It also looks as though it can be sanded out if the look isn’t what you’re expecting and start over.  Below is a 2 part video on some different techniques.

It looks so damn cool and because it is light, I wouldn’t need a whole lot of special fasteners.

After posting my last entry updating my planning progress, I came up with the idea of creating a frame using zinc-wrapped plywood attached onto the fireplace (Top Pic). I was planning on using high-heat flat black on the existing metal frame but now I could add some oomph by having a patina zinc frame.

So what about the mantel? I am going to go without. As one of my coworkers said, having a mantel with this metal work would detract from the actual piece. Plus, with my pipe shelving, I’d have plenty of room for knick-nacks.

Just to play it up even more, the 2nd pic shows an artsy addition to the frame. It would be a thin (maybe 3/8”) zinc wrapped plywood that would float over the frame. I’ll end up using spacers and maybe a different cupric sulfate (CuSO4 for you chemistry geeks) application.

This would mean the only part that would be tiled would be the hearth and now with the metal framing, I’d be going with a simpler design for the floor. Nothing that would detract from the beauty of the metal.

So yeah, this would still require some work and patience but I feel like I’m getting something I would really LOVE instead of settling for something better than what I currently have.

If I can get less than perfect Zinc sheets (they have scuff marks or dings which would add character to the pieces), I’d save money on the whole design.

Fireplace Planning

Fireplace Plans

First pic shows the fireplace but I have gotten rid of the brassy doors so it is just the mesh. 

I drew out measurements yesterday (rough sketches and measurements) knowing I had pretty much decided on my flooring (YAY!)

Then my flooring guy helped me on deciding on the tile. Crossville Bluestone series – Pennsylvania Bluestone – it’s ceramic and uses a minimum of 20% recycled content. 

So last night I was thinking up ideas to update the fireplace. I didn’t want to just remove tile and slap on new tile over it. The opportunity is there to totally revamp that space. A part of me has been hesitant in doing a total makeover mainly because I have this really weird, pattern/texture on my wall (my magenta wall shows the detail better because of the glaze over it). I am not a fan, which is why I’m really sticking to the matte finish that weird texture isn’t as visible from a distance. 

Then it occurred to me that I could to a totally different texture on the wall and even though it would be the same wall color, it would accent the space. 

Before I sketched out the plans, I looked at ideas and I *think* I could, if I research more, is to have the texture of poured concrete to give a subtle, industrial feel. I think it is possible with some sort of plaster application but I’ll research more. 

So the final 2 pics are my plans. Both are similar in that the area will have that concrete texture and the tile will only be on the façade and not the sides. 

The first idea would be VERY ambitious. I’d be adding narrow “walls” to each side so that the fireplace would no longer have that “cut-out” look. I’d have to stud, drywall, tape – possible even mud before I get started. If I’m REALLY ambitious with this project, I could see myself wanting to recess the baseboards so it is nearly invisible and the drywall “floats” above the floor. I’ve seen a few pics of this and it looks pretty cool. But like I said, this is the most ambitious of the 2 plans.

The second one also removes the tiles from the sides and the tile would actually give the fireplace more of a surround feel. In this particular plan, I was using 6×6 tiles so it wouldn’t require cutting. I’d also shorten the hearth if that is a possibility (but not a deal breaker). 

For the mantle, in plan 1, I could either use a floating system or have it framed because the space is there.

In the 2nd one, it would float on the wall. (not sure how to attach it securely though.