Trying to pick a good, small cat insert......

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
24,000
central pa
Maybe a custom cut piece of granite that would cover the mastic and tile and go into the firebox, then insert on top of that?
No need for it to go into the firebox but sure.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,337
SE PA
OK, I have dug a bit into the new mantel and stone surround 'kit' at the link above...

Honestly, I am not too intimidated by this project. I have to tear off the existing wooden mantel, stick the new stone slabs on the floor and wall, and then fasten the new mantel unit over it. Seems no worse than installing a new vanity or something.

I have verified that the brick facing is in the same plane as the drywall around (its actually recessed about 1/8"). I think the mantel assumes a 1" max facing depth, and the stone facing is 3/4" thick. So thats aok.

As for stone, I really like the look of the white marble with grey veins in it, with a white painted mantel. But I am afraid the hearth would get 'burn marks'. Does that happen with marble...or am I thinking cigarette burns on fake marble? My other choice would be dark grey slate.

Give me the up/down on the marble/slate choice!
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,319
South Puget Sound, WA
Stoves can be messy. I would opt for a darker bluestone or a good slate that doesn't flake.
 
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woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,337
SE PA
Update:

I have put together a design for a slate hearth/facing and wooden surround/mantel from the outfit linked above that would have similar widths and design to what I have, but could increase the upper clearance to combustible facing to 40", from the 38" current. This would make it compliant with a variety of flush mount inserts, including the Sirocco 25 (medium shroud) and the FireplaceX Medium. And would add about $1500 to the project, and would look nice. I could also hide the wiring if I tore off the existing mantel.

And then I noticed that the FireplaceX LARGE has smaller clearance to combustibles than the medium...only 37" on the clearance to upper combustible facing. So I could in principle just build up the hearth by <1" e.g. with a slate slab (reducing my upper clearance from 38" to 37") get the X-Large, and be good to go without replacing the mantel or doing a stone facing.

The X-Large has a 24x13" glass area, versus the BK's 24x11. And some nicely styled face plates and simple air control. So from a resale POV (if I am moving in a couple years) it will look nicer, and be easier for a new owner to understand and use than the BK.

It won't have a cat, but does have good EPA specs. Its got a huge 3 cu ft firebox, and could overheat my house stuffed full, but if I (or a new homeowner) just ran it a bit underfilled it would be fine I think. My house is 2250 sq ft, and with a single floor fan, the heat can be distributed.

If this was my forever home, I would get the BK (thermostatic air, large viewing area, ultimate eff, ash lip). If I am trying to get something 'simple' and 'easy to use/understand' and maximally attractive (totally flush, pretty face plate, maximum viewing area, large firebox, simple air control) for resale, the FireplaceX large makes more sense.

This is assuming that I can get a slate slab for the hearth that will really come in at 1" total rise, and the installer will be OK installing it at exactly the clearance to combustible. Any concerns (or easy alternative solutions such as tiles) for extending the hearth protection while adding less than 1" thickness?
 
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woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,337
SE PA
Found an online stone guy that seems easy work with. He can do lots of stone in 3/4" thick crated and shipped to my home. I'm looking at darker tone bluestone, slate and limestone. He and I like he 'flamed' finish for the two stones, and cleaved for the slate. He can put a radius on the edge (except for slate). It will be raised a 1/4" off the wall to wall elsewhere on the floor. I will build up the firebox with cement board or something.

I am getting samples. With thinset, the slab will raise me to about 1/8 to 3/16" from the upper clearance to combustible facing.

Local Lopi dealer is ok with the plan, and is super backed up on installations. My sweep was backed up a month to come take a look. Installer doesn't like pushing install close to the clearance, but is only worried about paint discoloration on the trim, not safety. Since I am never going to run the 3 cu ft unit flat out, I am not worried.

As for the ugly bricks...I am just going to paint them. I know...not the most popular thing around here, but painting the brick and the mantel will give the whole thing a clean, finished look and obv be cheap and easy. Exact color scheme is TBD, will discuss with my 17 yo, the would-be interior designer. I'm leaning towards flat black on the brick (merging visually with the insert surround) and a nice neutral blue/grey on the mantel and wood surround, which would match the bluestone or slate hearth. OR, I can do the bricks black, and the surrounding accent wall in the neutral blue/grey and paint the mantel bright glossy white (like the trim elsewhere in the house) so it 'pops' as a focus.
 

Solarguy3500

Member
Dec 3, 2020
106
Western MA
Just came across this thread. If you haven't already removed those linoleum tiles on the floor, I discovered a trick for them on my old house.

I had a room that had those (likely asbestos) linoleum tiles with the black tar-like substance underneath. I tried a hammer and flat bar at first, but they just came up in tiny pieces. Super slow and messy. Then I decided to try using a wallpaper steamer I had around and it worked like a charm. Heated up the adhesive and each tile just peeled right up in one piece and the steam eliminated the dust.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,337
SE PA
The update....

Settled on the FPX Flush large, and found a local installer in December.

I pulled out the old stove and direct connect, and a sweep came and took a look. He said it was clean as a whistle considering I burned a smoke dragon in it for 10 years without cleaning (<0.5 face cords per year). He ran a brush through it and got a cup of soot, and didn't charge me for the sweeping.

I gave the installer a 1/3rd deposit in early January, and he said they expected delivery early February, and install 3 weeks after delivery.

A month later, he slipped the delivery date to end of February (and install 3 weeks after that).... I still need to call him.

Claims a delay at Travis. I am waiting and afraid my GF and I will not get to enjoy a fire before May. :(

As for the tiles, they popped up easily, and I took the black stuff (asbestos mastic) off with acetone. It was a messy job, but only 2 square feet. It convinced me that i would NOT want to tackle the other 700 sq ft of tile/mastic removal myself.

On my end, I got a 50x21" bluestone slab from a local mason shop, and stuck it down in front of the opening with thinset. I got a 3/4" thick slab (which was a trick) bc I only had 1.125" to spare on the clearance to upper facing. With the thinset, I now have 0.125-0.25 greater than clearance distance. I also painted the bricks with gloss white 'engine paint' rated to 450°F. Two coats is still semi-transparent, looks like glazed ceramic bricks. The installer doesn't love the close clearance, but says its legal and he will do the install.

I will post a pic after install.
 

frecklesphd

New Member
Feb 15, 2021
6
CO
The update....

Settled on the FPX Flush large, and found a local installer in December.

I pulled out the old stove and direct connect, and a sweep came and took a look. He said it was clean as a whistle considering I burned a smoke dragon in it for 10 years without cleaning (<0.5 face cords per year). He ran a brush through it and got a cup of soot, and didn't charge me for the sweeping.

I gave the installer a 1/3rd deposit in early January, and he said they expected delivery early February, and install 3 weeks after delivery.

A month later, he slipped the delivery date to end of February (and install 3 weeks after that).... I still need to call him.

Claims a delay at Travis. I am waiting and afraid my GF and I will not get to enjoy a fire before May. :(

As for the tiles, they popped up easily, and I took the black stuff (asbestos mastic) off with acetone. It was a messy job, but only 2 square feet. It convinced me that i would NOT want to tackle the other 700 sq ft of tile/mastic removal myself.

On my end, I got a 50x21" bluestone slab from a local mason shop, and stuck it down in front of the opening with thinset. I got a 3/4" thick slab (which was a trick) bc I only had 1.125" to spare on the clearance to upper facing. With the thinset, I now have 0.125-0.25 greater than clearance distance. I also painted the bricks with gloss white 'engine paint' rated to 450°F. Two coats is still semi-transparent, looks like glazed ceramic bricks. The installer doesn't love the close clearance, but says its legal and he will do the install.

I will post a pic after install.
Awesome! Can't wait to see pics. We are picking out a piece of soap stone for our hearth, so I'm curios to see how the Bluestone comes out.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,337
SE PA
Tomorrow is the big day...install. They are going to be dropping a liner, and doing poured insulation of some sort, and a soft block off to keep that stuff in until it sets.

IMG_1450.jpeg

I puttied and painted the wood, to match the rest of the house trim. I hit the bricks with engine enamel paint good to about 450°F, two coats is translucent and glassy, and looks like glazed bricks. Upsized the mirror and added some (fake) candles and a Limulus husk.

The bluestone raised the bottom just an inch, I've got 1/4" more than specs to the top wood facing. I have two sheets of hardibacker in the firebox to build it up to the same height. I sealed the bluestone with a penetrating, silicone-based water and oil resistant sealer.

Any advice on things I should look for or ask about on install day?
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
24,000
central pa
Tomorrow is the big day...install. They are going to be dropping a liner, and doing poured insulation of some sort, and a soft block off to keep that stuff in until it sets.

View attachment 278444

I puttied and painted the wood, to match the rest of the house trim. I hit the bricks with engine enamel paint good to about 350°F, two coats is translucent and glassy, and looks like glazed bricks. Upsized the mirror and added some (fake) candles and a Limulus husk.

The bluestone raised the bottom just an inch, I've got 1/4" more than specs to the top wood facing. I have two sheets of hardibacker in the firebox to build it up to the same height. I sealed the bluestone with a penetrating, silicone-based water and oil resistant sealer.

Any advice on things I should look for or ask about on install day?
Why are they doing poured insulation? It will be leaking out constantly.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,337
SE PA
Why are they doing poured insulation? It will be leaking out constantly.
They said the terra cotta tile was too small to do a wrap...the other choice was breaking it out. I think its a mortar-perlite mix, so it should set up, but I dunno.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
24,000
central pa
They said the terra cotta tile was too small to do a wrap...the other choice was breaking it out. I think its a mortar-perlite mix, so it should set up, but I dunno.
If it is to small for a wrap they certainly aren't going to get the required 1" of pour in insulation on all sides. And yes it will setup. Then bits will continuously get loosened up by the expansion and contraction of the liner and fall. Why not an oval liner?
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,337
SE PA
Good question!

Since the terra cotta is in good condition, I guess I wasn't worried about getting the 1".
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
24,000
central pa
Good question!

Since the terra cotta is in good condition, I guess I wasn't worried about getting the 1".
Why does that matter? All that matters is clearances to combustibles
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,337
SE PA
Huh. The terra cotta tile is in a brick chimney that has a 1" airspace all around to framing, and which has been running a slammer coal insert for a couple decades and a direct connect for a decade more. I don't see the clearance issue.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
24,000
central pa
Huh. The terra cotta tile is in a brick chimney that has a 1" airspace all around to framing, and which has been running a slammer coal insert for a couple decades and a direct connect for a decade more. I don't see the clearance issue.
Interior or exterior chimney? Interior needs 2" exterior 1". Without that by code it needs to have proper insulation.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,337
SE PA
Interior or exterior chimney? Interior needs 2" exterior 1". Without that by code it needs to have proper insulation.
Sorry @bholler, I'm just catching up to you. Its interior, and while I looked down the air gap years ago, I don't remember if its 1" or 2".
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
If it is to small for a wrap they certainly aren't going to get the required 1" of pour in insulation on all sides. And yes it will setup. Then bits will continuously get loosened up by the expansion and contraction of the liner and fall. Why not an oval liner?
And sweeping motion could loosen it as well...but fireplace looks great! Lot's of hard work.
 
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woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,337
SE PA
Happy news...they showed up with a nice heavy looking oval liner, and were planning on wrapping it. They said they only do 6" round and pour jobs on 13x13" tiles.

I will make sure they do the wrap.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,337
SE PA
Well, the liner is in the flue, down to the damper, and I missed the insertion. The 2' sticking out my chimney is not wrapped, which makes me suspicious. But my driveway has several little pieces of white fluff that looks like the stuff. So I'm gonna trust them. :)

They are grinding out my cast iron damper frame now. The oval liner is turned 90° from what it would have to be fit through, so it will be a PITA with turns to get it to the adapter. Which is why I'm having a pro deal with it.