Fireplace Remodeling: From Brick to Stone

What You'll Need
Tri-sodium phosphate
Stone veneer
Metal lathe
Drill with masonry bit
Masonry screws
Mortar mix

Many do-it-yourselfers tackle a fireplace remodeling job. One of the most common is to reface an old brick fireplace. If you want to do something more than just paint it, consider refacing it with stone veneer.

Step 1—Wash the Brick

Before you begin the stone installation you should clean the brick to remove any residue. Tri-sodium phosphate will give you the best results. You can find this at your local home improvement store. Make sure the brick is dry before you move on to Step 2.

Step 2—Attach the Metal Lathe

You will need to attach metal lathe to the brick. In order to do this, you will need to use a drill with masonry bits and masonry screws. These will allow the screws to penetrate the brick and create a secure hold. Using any other screws or even a heavy duty staple gun will not create penetration into the brick and you run the chance of your stone falling off. 

Step 3—Map the Veneer

Either on the floor or on a piece of cardboard, lay the stone veneer out just as you want it on the fireplace. It is best to measure the firebox and draw it on the cardboard. Map the veneer around the drawn box to ensure that you get perfect placement. Take your time and get it just right. Once it goes on the fireplace, it won’t be easy to adjust. Consider how the pieces will fit together and how they line up with the fire box. Consider the spacing of the pieces and how you place small pieces in relation to larger pieces.

Step 4—Attach the Veneer

Once you have the map just right, it’s time to attach the veneer to the lathe. Mix the mortar according to the manufacturer’s instructions and spread a liberal amount onto the lathe. You should work in small areas so that the mortar doesn’t begin to set on the lathe. Pick each piece of stone veneer up from the map and apply it to the same position on the fireplace. You should press the veneer into the mortar with a bit of pressure. Continue to add mortar and stone veneer to the fireplace until it is finished. Let the mortar dry for several hours.    

Step 5—Grout the Veneer

Once the mortar is dry, it is time to add the grout. Grout comes in many different colors. Your local home improvement store will probably have charts that you can take home and match the grout to your stone. You may decide that you don’t want an exact match and would prefer a grout color slightly lighter or darker. You will mix the grout and apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You will first apply it and then wipe off the excess. The grout needs to dry thoroughly.

Sometimes homeowners like to add a spray sealer. This can help protect the grout from dirt and grime. If you want a sealer apply it at least 12 hours after the grout has been applied.

That’s it. Your old brick fireplace is now refaced with beautiful stone. Enjoy!