gas fire place redoing

Discussion in 'Bricks, Masonry and Concrete' started by condoowner, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. Oct 6, 2012 #1

    condoowner

    condoowner

    condoowner

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    hi!..

    not sure if this thread should be in the decoration section of the forum or here so I'm sorry if it has to be moved..

    so I have decided to upgrade my natural gas fireplace by redoing the box containing the fireplace insert. the current box is a drywall construction and like most of this condominium unit it was build in a hurry and is not square at all.. plus it looked kinda bad since it was painted very poorly.

    so I have started by removing the ugly wood molding that was installed around the insert. this molding was exactly the same as what's installed around the door frames. by removing these wood moldings I have noticed that the paint they used was strange and with only a small putty knife I was able to peel most of the paint in large 3 to 4 in chunks.. the paint looked a bit rubbery and very thick. underneath it is all covered with drywall mud.

    I will be posting some pictures tomorrow since my camera is out of order for tonight.

    I would like to install a modern clean looking material instead of simply repainting over the drywall.. I am thinking about rocks or something like that.

    anybody can point me to some ideas and most importantly what should I do next?? can I treat this like a kitchen backsplash??
    thanks!!!

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    Last edited: Oct 6, 2012
  2. Oct 6, 2012 #2

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    Don't know about the paint, but we do these boxes all the time usually cover with man made stone. Looks good. Some rock guys will install over drywall but most times we cover the box with plywood or 7/16 osb for solid backing for the stone. But no wood should be installed for 4 inches above the firebox so we just put backerboard in that center section.
    There is lots on the market.
    http://bakermasonry.com/index.php?option=com_joomgallery&func=detail&id=222&Itemid=53#joomimg
     
  3. Oct 6, 2012 #3

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

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    I prefer using backer board for the entire area to be tiled or covered with stone. Makes for excellent adhesion and fire resistance.

    I suggest you look for design ideas in current home & decorator magazines. Depending on the decor of your place, a flat surface is minimal but there are a lot of decorative trim molds which upgrade the look easily. If you have good tile/stone skills, this might be the way to go.

    Here are two pics to start you off . . . Notice one is simple but the other is interesting. IF you want to put a TV over the fireplace, this is the time to build a niche and run power, HDMI wiring, and anything else you might need.

    GAS 1.jpg

    Gas 2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2012
  4. Oct 6, 2012 #4

    condoowner

    condoowner

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    hey guys! many many thanks for replying! so to start off, Im wondering if I should strip the current box down and rebuild a new one? the current drywall box lacks square-ness and because of that the left side is angled and as a result the fireplace insert seems to be inserted deeper on the left side than the right side..

    those idiots even cut the laminated floor to match the crooked box!!!!!

    should I expect a standard 2x4 frame underneath this drywall box? if so wouldn't it be easier cleaner and faster to start fresh with either backerboard or osb than trying to repair and compensate for the poor craftsmanship of the builder?
     
  5. Oct 6, 2012 #5

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    If it is that bad I would remove the drywall and have a look at what you have. Some times it doesn't take much to straighten out a structure. Added solid blocking to hang a tv and cable and outlet at the same time. While your in there, there should be drywall on the wall behind the fireplace.
    With osb you would need wire mesh and scatch coat for stone. Maybe the backer would safe a step?
     
  6. Oct 6, 2012 #6

    condoowner

    condoowner

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    it's just that because the fireplace is flush mounted on the right side and due to the crooked structure is deeper on the left side. if I install backerboard and rocks it will probably be an additional 1,5 to 2 inches thick which will make the fireplace even deeper in the structure..

    any good?

    so let's say I keep the drywall, I fix the structure and now it looks great (shape wise) I only install the backerboard on top of the drywall??? screwed in the studs?
     
  7. Oct 6, 2012 #7

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

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    In my experience, you may find metal studs, not wood. This complicates the restructuring a bit (different screws) because there are no horizontal blocks to support weignt.

    Without better pics, it is hard to advise you. Stripping the drywall would allow you to fur the problems, regain square, and add blocks for support of a TV or whatever. As I tell people, "It's only drywall." (And the condo association is cool with this kind of construction?)

    The floor bothers me because it is what it is -- you don't want to mess it up more. However, if you get the fireplace true, you can also add a small hearth matching the tile/stone on top of the flooring to hide the bad cut. Would that work for you?

    Just thinking on the fly. :)
     
  8. Oct 6, 2012 #8

    condoowner

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    Yes, as per our condo agreements, the fireplace is part of my property. What I must not touch is the flue vent and the gas line. Anyways, I would not touch these since its mostly a safety hazard.

    Talking about these lines, would normally the fireplace be just inserted in the box or would it be fastened somehow to the structure? I am pretty sure I happened to slightly move the insert (maybe a quarter inch) when I pushed on it to see if it was anchored...

    In the end, if its just a box with studs (metal or wood) and some paneling, and there are no connections to the fireplace insert, I feel pretty confident to be able to rebuild/straighten this up.

    I will drill a 2inch hole on the side and insert a flashlight to see whats inside and how its built. Then Ill have an idea of the construction.

    For the floor, yes its a shame but the quarter round that was installed on the baseboard on each sides of the insert covered the mess and you couldn't tell. I am not sure I want to play with the flooring because I have zero experience in that and it would probably result in having the whole floor repaired or worst, replaced ($$$$$)...

    I am thinking the rocks and panels (whatever they will be) will be thick enough to cover the floor mess but like I said, the fireplace insert will appear to be deeper in the "box" because of the thicker walls.. Any cosmetic issues with this? I will look on the web for decoration ideas as well...

    Attached is a picture showing what I have as much as I can tell for now.. The crooked portion is shown on the left side and is exaggerated for clarity.

    snapshot14.jpg
     
  9. Oct 6, 2012 #9

    condoowner

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    So I poked a hole on the side and got the flashlight in...

    Its a all wood construction with standard 2x4 lumber studs and 1/2in drywall.. nothing fancy.

    So in your experience, would it be easier to:

    -strip it down and rebuild with backer board

    -fix the current box and install backer board on top of drywall

    ???

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  10. Oct 6, 2012 #10

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

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    Good on you for the 2x4 construction. You should strip the drywall, reframe as needed to achieve square, then re-sheet with backer board to accept the tile/stone. You will have to re-install quarter round for the floor as needed.

    I see not big issues at this point. Just remember to use proper backer board screws and set them flush. Do you know how to cut backer??? Some guys use knives. I prefer a cheap skillsaw with a cheap cement cutting blade . . . also use an angle grinder with a diamond blade. Use fiber tape on edges, corners. Tile/stone as usual.

    You might be on your way!

    PS What about the TV build-in?
     
  11. Oct 6, 2012 #11

    nealtw

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    Look for screws on each side of the fireplace near the front, they will be black, I would just remove the drywall and see what you have. You can always do something with the size to hide floor problems. You could rebuild the box a little smaller to allow for rock to line up with fireplace, if the fireplace can't be moved out a little.
     
  12. Oct 7, 2012 #12

    condoowner

    condoowner

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    hey guys

    so being maybe a bit crazy and adventurous I went ahead and stripped down the drywall. then I noticed the whole thing was shaking and not strong at all... probably the worst framing job ever done.. they nailed everything crooked, they used scrap wood shims to shim the lumbers when not long enough to be nailed to the others, not a single bar was straight and true...

    anyways I demolished everything!.. now I have the fireplace insert standing on the concrete floor with next to nothing around it.. on the picture below you will see some leftovers of the wood box but tomorrow they will be gone.

    since the fireplace is loose on the floor, and since I will need to build a new box, I have some questions:

    should I bolt or screw the fireplace to the concrete floor?

    should I use steel or wood frame?

    should I glue or screw or nail to the concrete floor?

    can I use only backerboard or do I need drywall or plywood underneath?

    finally I have never installed backerboard and worked with concrete slabs.. i also have never worked with steel studs..

    can you give me advices and how-to??

    thanks!!!!

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  13. Oct 7, 2012 #13

    condoowner

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    so I went ahead and started drilling the concrete to install the concrete screws but after 2 screws I noticed something funny. basically after 1 1/4" while putting pressure on the drill I feel a big relief as if I was going through the concrete slab and into something much softer like wood or an air space..

    no sure if it's normal. don't the floors are supposed to be 4" thick in Canada???

    I tried inserting a small steel rod into the hole to feel if it's open ended but as far as I can tell it's hard and feels strong.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
  14. Oct 8, 2012 #14

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

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    You may have a light weight concrete floated floor. Are you planning on using TAPCON screws?
     
  15. Oct 8, 2012 #15

    condoowner

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    I am using cobratap concrete screws (the blue ones) 3/16"x1 1/4"... is that ok?? See picture.

    Also for my personal education, what is a light weight floating floor? They just poured a small layer of concrete over the floor to act as a barrier against fire & noise??? If so whats underneath? Am i gonna drill in a water line or worst the gas line for the fireplace???

    Finally when i removed the conctactors concrete nails some of them pulled fairly easy but 2 made a mess and wrecked the concrete around th nail hole. Its what i believe civil engineers call cone failure... how do i screw close to that???

    20121008_112630.jpg
     
  16. Oct 8, 2012 #16

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

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    Sure, those screws will work. They are comparable to TAPCONs. Here is a video that show a hand poured light weight floor. Sometimes the cement is mixed with foam stuff . . . Strong but light floor found in many applications:

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mhrGshlguI&feature=related[/ame]

    The subfloor will hold the screws but I think your pilot hole should be small, not large. Screw down adequately, to feel, but do not over-drive. Since your new structure is not load bearing, you should be fine.

    Dos this help? :D
     
  17. Oct 8, 2012 #17

    condoowner

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    Very much so!! But what about the craters left by the old nails? Can I drill just beside where its still flat? Any chance of having too many holes in the same area and having cracks in the future?

    Ill finish drilling and hope I wont hit anything in the subfloor like pipes, wires, gas line.. ouch! Would the gas line run in the floor by code or run in the outside wall??
     
  18. Oct 8, 2012 #18

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

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    Another tip . . . use construction adhesive (PL Premium) on the underside of your floor plate to adhere them to the concrete (nice sine wave pattern the length of the wood). Yes, move the pilot hole away from the crater and re-drill. Space your holes about every 12" - 18" and you should be fine. Remember - you are not supporting a 2nd story on this wood, just some backer board and tile/stone.

    Go for it! ;)
     
  19. Oct 9, 2012 #19

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    The area behind should have been drywalled, all of it. so close that up before building your new box.
     
  20. Oct 9, 2012 #20

    condoowner

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    So ive drilled and installed the concrete anchors. For now all sole plates are installed and the left side of the structure is done. So far so good! Tomorrow i will finalize the right side and normaly the structure should be done.. next will be the backerboard.

    I will post some time soon with some pictures

    Btw the floor *has* to be a lightweight floating floor.. last hole i drilled about a quarter inch longer than the screw and next thing i knew the hole was about 3 in deep!! Must be a cavity of some sort.
     

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