How to Build a Fireplace Surround Using Stone Pavers

You can build a fireplace surround in a day using reclaimed materials and this simple tutorial.



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This inexpensive one-day project will add a strong focal point to any room.
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Practically any material can be reclaimed using the tools and techniques you’ll learn in Chris Peterson’s “Building with Secondhand Stuff,” and all for a fraction of the cost of buying new materials at a building center.
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Measure the area for the surround and the fireplace dimensions. Determine the exact top of the fireplace, because you’ll be setting a support slab across both sides of the surround to complete it. Dry stack the pavers to ensure that you have enough of them to cover the area entirely. Mask off the floor to protect it.
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After you’ve dry laid the stone up to the support slab, check the fit of the electric fireplace by sliding it into the hole in the surround and holding it up against the wall. Once you’re satisfied, mark the wall for the fireplace opening.
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Use a drywall or a keyhole saw to cut the opening for the fireplace unit. Install the unit according to the manufacturer’s instructions; different fireplaces use different mounting methods. Most electric fireplaces have a power cord and plug. This unit was hard wired into the wall. (Note: In many instances you will need to cut wall studs to complete this project. Do not cut studs in load-bearing walls, however, and be sure to consult an engineer or building inspector for instructions on providing temporary or permanent support.)
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Re-lay the first row of pavers and check for level. Usually, stone pavers are fairly uniform, although you may encounter one or more that are odd sizes. Adjust the courses as necessary to accommodate for any unusual pavers (or replace the paver). Mark wall stud locations.
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Check level for each course as you work and adjust as necessary. When you get to the top of the fireplace, check level from side to side and use different pavers if necessary to create a perfectly level mounting surface for the support mantel.
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Use a caulk gun to lay a generous bed of construction adhesive labeled for use on masonry. Keep the bead of adhesive at least an inch from the front of the pavers so that you maintain a dry-laid look.
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Every few courses, screw L brackets into the studs on either side of the fireplace and bed the legs of the brackets in the construction adhesive between courses.
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Lay paver courses on top of the support slab. For the project here, we laid a roughly equal height of pavers above and below the fireplace, although you can adjust the location of the fireplace and courses for a more asymmetrical look if desired.
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Dry lay the top support slab and check for level. Once you’re satisfied with the fit and look, remove the slab, cover the top course of pavers in adhesive, and re-set the slab in place. Let the adhesive set before continuing.
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