Introduction: Fireplace Reface

About: Career tradesman, tool & engineering nerd, master plumber, home renovator, business owner, husband, father, part time philosopher, full time bacon enthusiast.

My wife and I bought a small house in a small town. Unfortunately, it's ugly. Take this boring wood burning fireplace, for example. Surely it could look better than this.

Step 1: Demolition

I Set up a containment chamber to control the dust. You can't see it, but I created a negative pressure within the chamber by blowing all the air out the back door, through the chamber, with a big ass air mover. Had to use an angle grinder to cut out the old mantle - didn't want to disturb the brick.

It felt good to get the demolition over with. It was so dusty my sight line dropped to about 10".

My wife was happy that I didn't get dust everywhere and really, that's the most important part.

Step 2: Strapping & Denshield

I strapped the brick with 1x3s on 12"c glued and tapconed to the brick, and then covered the whole thing with denshield. Since the wood burning is being converted to a gas burner, the denshield bears enough heat resistance for the trim to make contact with it.
I caulked the back of the trim on the gas insert with heat resistant silicone anyway just for the hell of it. My gas guy cut the extra bit above the fireplace and he didn't need to, I wasn't too happy about it but oh well.

Step 3: Insert & New Slate Veneer

I didn't take any progress photos for a while so some of the steps aren't really shown.

The slate veneer is glued to the denshield with the heat resistant silicone about 18" all the way around the insert, and the rest is held on with just regular mastic. I also used mastic on the sides where it was bare brick. Being uneven stone veneer, I was able to easily line up my cuts despite having a very uneven substrate.

The photo may not show it properly, but I cut the stone around the insert and laid it directly on top of the trim to give a flush look. I don't like the fireplace sitting proud of the stone. Just a personal pref on aesthetics.

Step 4: Sleek and Modern

Here's the final. The original hearth has been painted, and all the gaps have been filled with some grout and washed hazy to create a more authentic look.

Since the fireplace project started two years ago, I've redone all the trim mouldings everywhere, as well as new dark hardwood (luxury vinyl tile - a little more expensive than hardwood, but baby proof, waterproof, dog proof).

My wife added in the cactus and giant cork glasses and it looks perfect.

The little box is our cremated cat Logan. He died just a month ago. That's where he loved to sit so I thought he should stay there. RIP Logan you fat lazy bastard I miss you.