September 7, 2009

The New Hearth - Phase 1

It's been awhile since I've mentioned anything about our chimney/fireplace project. It's not that we haven't been working on it; it's just that re-building anything seems to take so much more time than tearing a thing down. Over the next couple of posts however, I will show you how far we've actually gotten over the past two months.

By the end of my last post about it, the fireplace looked like this ....

Fireplace opening with chimney breast removedOriginally we thought we'd leave the back, red brick wall of the original fireplace intact. We thought we could fill it in to line the alcove after we laid a new hearth.

In discussing this and trying to think it though, it made more sense to take all of it down and start the whole thing from the bottom course of bricks. Once the back of the fireplace was removed, it looked like this ....

All fireplace bricks have been removedThe brickwork you do see, is the back of the fireplace in our bedroom, which remain as a facade for the time being. The vertical 2x4 is there as a temporary support, because this is a load bearing wall. That meant that the first order of business was to support it with new framing and a double header.

Alcove framing, header, & pipe supportDuring this step, we (actually I should say DH because I am not a carpenter) also put the stove & chimney pipe support in place, as you can see above.

The base of the original hearth was uneven. Because we are going to put a woodburning heater here, we need it to be as even and level as possible. To do that we needed to pour a new base.

Framing for pouring the new hearthFirst DH framed it out. Next he applied a concrete bonding adhesive to the old concrete, to ensure that it would bond to the new.

We used a pre-packaged concrete mix, mixing it a bag at a time in a wheelbarrow...

Hand mixing concrete in a wheelbarrow... and pouring it into the frame....

Pouring the concrete a wheelbarrow load at a time
Poured, smoothed, & ready to dry.After 24 hours, DH removed the framing.

New hearth slab is cat inspected & approvedThe longer concrete takes to cure, the stronger it is, so we kept it damp for about a week. Information sources vary quite a bit on this step, but we did it just the same.

The next step will be a top layer of bricks. Click here to see that.

Photos and text of The New Hearth - Phase 1 are copyright


Renee Nefe said...

I noticed that your supervisor seems to approve of the work here! ;o)

I hope he doesn't get too upset when his new resting area gets covered in a stove. LOL!

Theresa said...

It is a whole heap of work doing something like that.
The cement pad looks great! Once it all comes together it will be so worth it . We actually had to use our little house woodstove last night. Overnight temp at 33 degrees. BRRRRRRR!
What stove did you decide on?

Julie said...

Wow you just keep on working so hard but its coming along very nicely!

bspinner said...

You two sure are working hard to get settled in before winter.

The centent pad looks great and looks like it has Rascal's approval as well.

Woolly Bits said...

is there anything in your house that the cat doesn't have to "approve of" first of all?:)) I remember all the work that goes into doing jobs like this - and I am quite glad that this is behind me/us! lucky that you two are good with your hands - imagine having to get builders in for all those jobs!

Dorothy said...

I love the photo sequence, thanks for enabling us all to help Rascal with the inspection!

I guess you have something solid underneath? When we extended our hearth for a stove, it entailed lifting floor boards and building up from the foundations, about 2 feet lower than floor level. I absolutely love the stove on cold winter nights, and when we have power failures. We've got a copper kettle to stand on it if the power is off!

Leigh said...

Yes Renee, Rascal always wants to get in on the action. As soon as I get the camera out, he's there, fronts & center.

Theresa, if we lived in Oregon we'd be mighty chilly until we got that stove in! We have a Woodstock Soapstone stove, which we are very happy with.

Julie, you're right about it being hard work! We are pleased to be making some progress on it, finally.

Barb, funny how the weather can be a motivator. We expect first frost about mid-October. Hopefully, it will all be complete long before then.

Oh, Bettina, cats are self-appointed snoopervisors and must approve everything! One good thing about these jobs is that they are one time good deals. Once their done, we don't have to look back!

Dorothy, thank you! Good question too. We put the new hearth right on top of the old, which was poured directly onto the ground when the house was built. If it weren't for that, we would have had an extra job to put in good floor protection.

Helen said...

Hi Leigh I am so sorry that you have lost Catzee and I hope she will still turn up . Nice to hear Rascal is enjoying being an outdoor cat again.
I am amazed at how much you have done in your house

Leigh said...

Hi Helen,

Thank you so much for your kind comment. I can't believe how much I miss that little cat.

I haven't made the blog rounds recently, but as you've seen, I have a good excuse!

I am working on planning out the front yard, and am very excited that I can start to plant a dye garden next spring. What fun to be looking at and choosing plants!