Fireplace update – Week 2

Work on the fireplace continues. Our mason originally expected this to be a one-week project, maybe a day or two over. But it turns out our fireplace is large. After two weeks of 9+ hour days, the fireplace is not yet done. But we’ve come a long way.

Last week, the fireplace looked like this.

Masonry fireplace in progress

Now, it looks like this.

Fireplace two weeks in to construction

You heard a little bit about the hearth stone on Friday. Before I get into the other activities from the week, Baxter has a video to share with you about carrying in the slab.

A few other things happened before we were ready for the hearth. First, the chimney went up both inside and out. As you may recall, the old chimney was pretty much the whole reason for this redo. It’s surprisingly thrilling to have a big, solid, proper chimney. My Dad and I still have a bit of flashing to do, hence all of the wrapping.

Chimney wrapped in plastic

The cinder block rough-in was completed, and then the firebox was constructed. That’s what our mason was working on in this photo that you saw on Friday where he’s sitting inside the fireplace.

Mason building a fireplace

The second most exciting part of the week was installing the mantel. When he was building the structure of the fireplace, our mason installed four pieces of rebar. The bars went back into the block about 2 feet and were securely cemented in place. They stuck out on the face of the fireplace by about 1 foot.

My Dad and I drilled carefully placed holes on barn beams that matched up with the pieces of rebar, and then Matt and I slid the beams onto the bars. Voilà, mantel. Or half a mantel. This photo shows the first beam in place. The second beam goes on in front of this one and hides the ends of the rods.

Installing a barn beam mantel

This weekend, I gave the mantel a few coats of clear varathane to protect it and bring out the quality of the wood a little bit more. I’m giddy over this mantel. The rough barn wood is just so beautiful.

Barn wood mantel

If the mantel was the second most exciting, what was the first, you ask? Absolutely the most exciting development of this whole project was seeing the face stone going on. I picked the stone fairly quickly, but then I doubted myself for the past three weeks. Had I picked the right stone? Would it look good in our house? Would I like it once it was installed? Should I have made more effort to source other options?

Well, I love the stone. It’s exactly what I was envisioning. Rough field stone that looks like it could have come from our own farm.

Fieldstone veneer on a fireplace

Here’s another montage of how the fireplace has progressed from the start up to now.

Two weeks of progress on fireplace demo and rebuilding

We have at least a few days yet to go. By the end of the week, everything should be done (although I can’t promise the post-reno clean-up will be complete).

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