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-   -   Is a hearth mandatory on a fireplace remodel? (

havasu 09-27-2013 11:31 AM

Is a hearth mandatory on a fireplace remodel?
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I'm preparing to reface the brick on my old fireplace with a natural stack-stone product. I would also like to remove the brick hearth, and just continue my ceramic wood (look alike) plank across the base of it.

I've now been told that the removal of the hearth is possibly prohibited by code, since a wood log could roll onto the floor and catch fire.

Just to add, the ceramic plank tile is thinsetted on a 4" concrete slab, which is obviously fireproof, and the fireplace has been converted to natural gas with fake fireplace logs.

Could anyone shed some light on whether I will have problems with this upgrade?

nealtw 09-27-2013 01:41 PM

The tile would still give you fire proofing and you should not need it for a gas fireplace, hopefully the concrete is lever with the floor, it is part of the fireplace with rebar and all.
You could ask the city inspection department or a store that sells gas fireplace inserts.

BridgeMan 09-28-2013 05:31 PM

Could be an expensive mistake, if you remove the hearth without having the blessings of your local AHJ. Code people like to think of the worst case scenario, which for your situation would be the next owner of your house converting it back to wood-burning. A sharp home inspector would probably raise a red flag as well, telling his client (your buyer) that a hearth is required to keep from burning the house down.

If you can afford to spend $1000 for your buyer's new masonry hearth, go for it. I'd just cover the existing brick hearth with a complementary ceramic tile surface, with bullnose on the front edge to overlap the faux stone.

havasu 09-29-2013 12:15 AM

I appreciate the reply BridgeMan. This is exactly my concern, but I just hate those faux stone hearths.

BridgeMan 09-29-2013 10:42 AM

I don't quite understand your reasoning: you love the faux stone on the wall, but you hate it on a hearth adjacent to the wall?

havasu 09-30-2013 09:35 AM

I guess I should have been clearer. We've chosen the real stone so there won't be any faux stone in the build. I could pick up a solid slab for the hearth, but concerned about chiseling it correctly without cracking it, since I feel only a one-piece slab will look the best.

BridgeMan 09-30-2013 02:38 PM

Count me as still being confused, as the photo you included in your first post sure looks like faux stone to me. Natural stone can rarely be dry-stacked so uniformly, nor does it all have the relative same thickness as the pieces shown.

There shouldn't be any chiseling required if you decide on a one-piece stone hearth top. Measure up exactly what you need (making a full-size pattern, if it's complicated), and take it to your local stone place. They will happily do all the cutting and chipping necessary to furnish what you want, after you pick out the type and color of rock that you want them to draw from. For a small fee, they'll even deliver it and set it in place for you.

oldognewtrick 09-30-2013 04:09 PM

There are several companies that have real brick and thin stone products available. We've used some with a water containment system replacing vinyl siding, wood siding, stucco. Check out this link and look at products-thin brick/thin stone.

havasu 06-03-2014 08:45 AM

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Well, I've pulled the trigger on this project, and I have a sore back to prove it.

oldognewtrick 06-03-2014 09:05 AM

Looking better already, now what's the game plan from here?

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