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April 2008
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Fireplace Freshen 1

Fireplace Facelift
This is the before shot. There are few things uglier than painted brick. This is an unusual fireplace as it is not centered in the room by about 5”, and has some pretty awkward windows. The idea of covering or removing the windows was rejected as the light is an important element of this room. This fireplace originally was a wood burner, with an arched opening. The client remodeled it years ago by switching it to natural gas, adding the brick surround, and installing the fireplace door. At the time, this was much more cost effective as the cost of a glass fireplace door custom built with an arched top was at the far side of obscenely expensive. Even more so today, but that is a moot point.

First things first. Removing the hearth and brick around the fireplace. The vertical blinds were bagged as the decision for window treatments had not been made. The floor was covered as the client has more of the floor tile and it was going to be filled in after we got the facelift done.

Construction Note
If you are going to tile and may remodeling in the future, buy extra tile. Patterns, colors, and styles change constantly. Just ask any of the house bloggers who have been looking for plastic tiles or subway tiles for doing restoration.

The floor in front and to the sides is also covered with 5/8” chipboard, which to me is one of the few uses for the stuff. It helps to corral all the busted brick. With the brick removed you can see the original arch of the fireplace. What is not shown is the steel angle used as a header for the brick facing. We are going to reuse if when we square off the opening to support the brick face before we begin the facelift.

Since this is a covering and the fireplace is brick, we are using 1 1/2” steel studs. (Yes they make 2×2 steel studs, but you need to find them at a drywall supply store as the big box home improvement stores only stock 2×3” and 2×4” stel studs and track. We are also leaving a 1” gap between the brick and the face. This eliminates trying to use wood and concrete nails or Blue Screws to try to make the face flat. It also covers the 3/4”dip in the brickwork.

We have extra studs in the wall as the client has some large artwork which will end up on the wall.

Construction Details
The vertical and freestanding valances are finished with Bullnose corner bead to soften the corners. The corners next to the walls and ceiling are finished with ‘L’ bead, as the walls have been recently re-textured and painted. The ceiling had the popcorn removed and a light skimcoat applied.

Valance Detail
The valance area is open for the lights that will be mounted on the backside and area for the fabric panels that will be built to cover the windows.

The yellow mud you see is not bad photography, it is a recently new product from USG called Dust Control taping compound. It comes premixed the color of eggnog, and it is a thicker consistency than other premixed mud. Anything that controls dust during construction and remodeling is good by me. We shall see how it works.

The opening for the fireplace door is wrapped with a concrete board and finished with a quick set mud.
Monday the fireplace door guy will be by to measure for the door.