Wednesday, February 19, 2014

1000 pounds of rock

We did the fireplace.  By "did" I mean, we took down the old surround and put up a new one.  It meant hauling something like a 1000 pounds of rocks up 36 steps to the parking lot where we could load them into the van for haul-away.  Then, repeat with bringing new material in, down the 36 steps.  My legs are buff.  So are my arms from pounding at the wedge to take the old rocks down.

Here's where we started.  

Fireplace before.  River rock with timber beam mantle and mismatched hearth.
Can you see that the mantle hangs out in front of the sliding door? You had to do gymnastics to get through that door.  One of the goals with this job was to make using the deck... um... less yoga like.  Hee hee, I just noticed the light switch.  There's another goal, solid up the electrical and disguise it better.

 We had a helper with the hammer.  Make sure you're wearing your "ear mupps" when you work.
 Such a cute little worker, had to put that dusty butt in here again.  Now, you can see the deck I want to have access to.
 We're getting close!  Looking at these pictures makes my arms tired.  I'm not a regular with a hammer! (that's such an old school tool, we generally use more sophisticated things like nail guns and sawsall for hammer jobs)
 He's focused.  Trying to figure out how to get those last rocks down without swinging a hammer above his head at a chisel.  The helpers have faded out...  Revive me with some pizza and hot chocolate.  Too bad I can't sit in front of the fire and relax to re-charge!
We eventually got the (I claim) 1000 pounds of rocks knocked off the wall and hauled in a 5 gallon pail up the 36 stairs to the van.  This all happened in one long weekend with our little helper hanging around.  We made a big mess.  Then we had to go back to the real world for a few weeks.

We came back without the little helper.  This makes noisy, time sensitive jobs like tiling much more manageable.   I found out just a couple days before we were going that we were definitely going to put the fireplace surround up.  Panic!  I hadn't selected a surround!  We visited Menard's and Home Depot first, we generally prefer them.  Struggle!  I could have settled for a few of their options, but nothing was begging for me to put it around my fireplace.  The night before we left I was told we were going to buy the tile.  Pick it in one shot. Go.  We drove all the way to Lowes.  all. the. way.  Best choice of the week!  They had so many good options that I had to make a top 3 choices list and get Brian's input.  After mixing and matching hearth and wall possibilities, we settled on...  Wait, you'll see it as soon as you scroll down!

We had to replace most of the drywall and prep the floor with cement board.  We also had to figure out the "hearth" size and shape - wanted to make sure it was reasonably proportional.  We laid the hearth first, so we could land the new rocks right down on top of it.  Got that done the night before the big wall job.  Didn't take pictures at that point...  Here's the first progress picture for the wall.

 We wanted the row of stones across the top of the fireplace to be whole pieces.  You're most likely to look at that spot and it needed to be right, so we put up a guide board and just started right there.  Very happy with how that strategy worked out.  It did require a bit of math later, down at the floor...

Mmm, looking good!

Ha ha, it almost makes the orange wood paneling look good!
 Woot!  We used absolute black granite 12" tiles with black grout for the hearth and desert quartz ledgerock for the wall.  Very pleased with how it turned out.

 Here he is polishing up his shiny granite.

Gotta give that hot before and after one more time...


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