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D725A 10-22-2012 09:27 AM

Attaching plywood to fireplace
Covering over an old brick fireplace with tile around the firebox and half inch plywood around that and the sides. Rosettes and pylasters will be nailed onto the plywood, then all the wood will be painted.

We are trying to use just one layer of plywood, so we don't build out the wood too far--which would require that the distance of flammable materials--like wood--be farther away. Right now we can come within 8 inches on the sides and 12-14 inches above the firebox. While it might be easier to add another layer of plywood so that the top layer of plywood could be nailed in using finishing nails, I'm seeking a way to install that first half-inch layer of plywood with anchors or masonry nails so that the nail holes are easily coverable and so after we paint, no holes are visible. I bring this up because my contractor just suggested adding another layer to make the attachment easier, but that would I think cause problems with the plan as I've described.

nealtw 10-22-2012 10:08 AM

We have local people that build these things in the shop and install them already finnished, like this one.

D725A 10-22-2012 12:14 PM

Yes, beautiful, but it's out of our budget, we've designed our own and have to go that way.

nealtw 10-22-2012 12:59 PM

I your tile is 3/8" thick you could add 3/8 plywood around that and attach finnished product to that.

thomask 10-25-2012 03:16 PM

"I'm seeking a way to install that first half-inch layer of plywood with anchors or masonry nails so that the nail holes are easily coverable and so after we paint, no holes are visible"

Perhaps thin batton strips over the nail/screw heads. What style is your remodel if I may ask?

nealtw 10-26-2012 12:51 AM

Predrill with countersink bit and glue in wooden plug. You can buy a plug cutter so you can make your own to match the wood.

D725A 10-26-2012 07:17 AM

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Didn't see all these answers until now, thanks. We went with Ramset low velocity powder fasteners and Loctite PL400 adhesive, worked very well. We are now ready for tiling and have bought Acryl Pro ceramic tile adhesive. Tiles will be on the hearth--over new cement underfloor, and on front wall over the brick, wrapping around about 4 inches into the firebox on left and right sides. Acryl Pro claims it has a heat resistance of more than 10lbs per tile (meeting A136.1 Section but I have no idea what temperatures that indicates. Some sites recommend thin-set instead of adhesive in these situations. I'd be most concerned about the hearth and areas slightly inside the firebox, though neither should be exposed to very very high temperatures. (See photo)

PS Acryl Pro people advised me not to use any pre-mixed adhesive or grout but to use their Flex Bond thin set mortar.

thomask 10-27-2012 07:39 PM


Nice work there , thanks for keeping us posted on your projects progress.

IMO I would feel better with thinset myself near the firebox opening. Perhaps a mason on here can give us a professional opinion.

Pls post up some pics as you go.

D725A 10-27-2012 09:23 PM

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We went with the Flex Bond Thinset. Contractor put an initial coat on around the firebox and leveled off the hearth with sand mix; and I guess we'll have to wait until after the hurricane to continue. Meanwhile I've been going to tile stores to find possible trim tile for a border on the hearth tiles and around the firebox. May use a wood molding instead around the hearth since the tile is expected to be above the wood floor. Trying to keep this simple. see latest photo. (Flex Bond is polymer modified so it doesn't need an added bonding agent.)

notmrjohn 10-30-2012 12:10 PM

"Acryl Pro people advised me..." I'd follow the advice you get locally, except from big box stires where they now hire sales persons who have human relation skills instead of people who have experience in using the products.

Besides it seems that when someone here gives you advice, you're already a step past us.

I have no idea what "a heat resistance of more than 10lbs per tile" means either. Last time I weighed a fire my scale burnt up. From the sudden burst of flame, I'd say it was only rated for 3 pounds of heat. Or the fire could have been metric and incompatible with my scale.

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