I'm in the midst of building a brick hearth for my small woodstove. The stove has been used for around 12 years in the corner of my living room as a secondary heat source...but it does seem we have a fire going pretty much every day when it gets cold. I have built the framing with 2x4's, covered with 3/4" plywood and 1/2" durock. My original plan was to put down some kind of tile. Further online reading has told me that I would need a second layer of durock to achieve the .446 R value my stove requires. In talking with the boss (my wife) we have decided we would rather put down red brick. It won't crack or scratch like tile will, and easily puts me over the R value. Although the stove instructions say it is far enough away from my combustible walls, I plan to put up heat shields with the 1" spacing behind, and will buy a heat shield for my single wall stovepipe. I have never worked with brick and mortar. Google searches don't turn up any decent help videos. It sounds like I mix some mortar and trowel a thin layer on the durock, then set the bricks into it with 1/2" between each brick for more mortar. Can I put the mortar between bricks right away, or does the stuff under have to cure? Is the mortar under the bricks required/recommended? Will a plain red brick from Menards be ok, or is there a special brick and mortar for high temp use? Are bricks hard to break when I can't fit a full brick? Do I need to alternate each row so the seams are not all in the same place? Do I need to be careful that I don't get mortar on top of the bricks, or does it clean up easily? Sorry for all the questions. I guess I plan ahead too much.