What's happening here?? Hearth help requested

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New Member
Nov 19, 2020
Ballston Spa, NY
Hi! I started demo-ing the tile in front of my gas fireplace. .

As you can see, I started with the farthest away row of tile. A few of them were already broken and just sitting on top of the concrete, not secured. I started by removing those broken ones and then chiseling under the others. That first row came up very easily. When I started to move onto the row closest to the fireplace I noticed that the concrete looked different. As you can see it extends above and below the subfloor, which the previous tiles did not, and appears to have framing around the sides. I'm guessing this closer row was original hearth (from when it was wood burning) and this farther row was maybe an extension? Since it's different?

I went in the basement and noticed what looks like an angled box under that area. I'm wondering now, 1) does this slab of concrete fill up that entire box? and 2) is it structural and I should not mess with it?

I just want to replace what was broken flagstones with a pretty updated tile but now I'm wondering if I need a masonry expert/fireplace company to come look at it. (The blue fireplace photo is the before from the listing when I bought the house)

Any advice greatly appreciated!! Thanks!

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I am researching how to extend my own tiled floor level hearth and just watched a This Old House video that answers some of your questions.