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DIY floor level hearth Question

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by PhilCT, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. PhilCT

    PhilCT New Member

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    Mar 4, 2013
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    4
    Thank you in advance for suggestions

    First time home owner trying to learn the ropes! 1960 floor level (slightly above after all these years) With tile. With a hammer and chisel I was able to pull up the old tile and began to work my way through what I thought was the mastic. I could not find where the concrete and mastic separated. My question is how deep should I chisel out the concrete in order to put a layer of level concrete back in. And should I put a border to the hardwood so the concrete does not run up against it?

    Thank you again for sharing your experience! I hope to in the future!

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  2. Eaglecraft

    Eaglecraft Member

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    Eastern Idaho
    Phil:

    The short answer is, not very far. I assume that you didn't like the existing tile, and/or you needed to extend the hearth due to required thermal/ember protection.

    What you need in the way of thermal/ember protection will be specified by your stove manufacturer. The requirements seem to vary quite a bit from one stove to another, so the place to begin is with the stove that you plan to install. In general through, many stove hearths and extensions seem to be achieved with a layer of Micor, and perhaps a layer of Next Gen Durock, thin set mortar and then ceramic tile. You may need to add steel framing studs depending on your stove.

    On this site, I have observed a number of free standing hearths on which to place a woodstove constructed of steel framing, Next Gen Durock. thin set mortar, and maybe one or two layers of Mircor or its equivalent.

    The bottom line is to first determine what is required and build to those specs.

    Good luck with your hearth extension...
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    What is the ultimate goal here? A simple re-tile or a hearth extension in preparation for a new stove or insert?
  4. PhilCT

    PhilCT New Member

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    The dimensions are ok and should up to code. Im keeping the firebox as it is and will only be burning wood in it, no Im not extending the hearth, just retiling. The main reason is to replace the existing tile which was outdated. I want to do a simple re-tile. Should I chisel down about an inch, pour concrete to level, while leaving additional space to thinset and tile to floor level?

    Thank you guys so much
  5. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    Concrete doesn't do well in thin layers. Why are you chiseling down the existing mortar bed? Is there not enough room for the tile you want to use?
  6. PhilCT

    PhilCT New Member

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    Well it wasn't all the way level, I think throughout all the years and settling. One side of the hearth was a couple millimeters above the floor while the other side was level. I could carefully chisel a couple millimeters below the hardwood but it would be difficult to make it smooth and level to lay the tile on?
  7. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    You don't really need it smooth and even, you just need enough room for the tile and thickness of the stuff you use to stick the tile down (which is typically thinset mortar, and is definitely NOT mastic.) Variances in depth are made up by varying the amount of thinset you use; it's plenty stiff enough to float the tiles on.

    Thinset mortar has a maximum layer thickness, I think somewhere around 5/16". If you need to go thicker, there's a similar product called medium bed mortar that is good up to about 3/4" thickness.

    If you have more chiseling to do, try not to crack that mortar bed you're working on. If you break it then you'll have to pull it out and redo the whole thing, or the crack will telegraph through your new tile.
    Defiant likes this.
  8. PhilCT

    PhilCT New Member

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    Thanks so much! Just need to fill on those small holes I already chisled and then I will try it that way! Appreciate the help.
  9. Eaglecraft

    Eaglecraft Member

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    Loc:
    Eastern Idaho
    Phil:

    Ok then...Sounds like you may be planning to use your fireplace as it is. If I have that correct, I strongly suggest that you consider installing a freestanding woodstove or an insert. The problem with conventional fireplaces, as many of this site can confirm, is that open fireplaces tend to be heat losers. They are either neutral, produce very little heat, or they consume more energy than they produce.

    I used to burn wood in our open fireplace for Christmas and other similar events, but stopped using it after a few years. The problem was that when I had the fireplace cranked up, the back bedrooms would get ice cold, while those folks immediately in front of the fireplace were roasting hot. Then too, our natural gas fired forced-air heater always called for heat when we used the fireplace. Isn't that odd?

    As part of remodeling our living room - new walls - new ceiling - new floors - new windows - I installed a Clydesdale wood buring insert. I only wish that I had installed it years ago. When Clyde is running, the thermostat never calls for heat.

    So with that in mind, you might consider checking out some of the woodstove/insert manufacturer's hearth requirements for thermal protection. Since your are going to the trouble of replacing tile, it might be cost effective to do a little planning for the future.

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