My DIY Stone Veneer Fireplace Project

My DIY Stone Veneer Fireplace Project

Stone Fireplace Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

A wonderful customer took the time to share his experience with DIY stone veneer installation. He took the time to write up his experience of updating his stone fireplace with stone veneer to share with our website visitors and customers and we couldn’t be more impressed with the end results! 

Here is Tim’s story of his DIY stone veneer installation in his Georgia Mountain home and the gorgeous Stone Veneer Fireplace he created!

We have a log cabin in the north Georgia mountains. It originally had a builder-grade wood surround on the fireplace, but what could be better in a log cabin than a stacked stone fireplace?

 

Stone Fire Places

 

I’ve done my share of remodeling projects,but I had not done stone masonry work before this. Perhaps like you, I watched a lot of YouTube videos on the subject and decided it was a project I could tackle. My plan was to do a floor-to-ceiling stone veneer to accommodate the existing firebox that is flush with the log wall. My photos don’t show it, but the room’s floor is hardwood except for in front of the fireplace, which is now slate tile in a 6’ x 30’ area. This makes that side of the room feel like a fireplace space, but there is no hearth. This saved me from needing hearth cap stones and simplified the overall stone install project.

 

My online search for materials brought me to NorthStar Stone.I talked through my project with Alan, hearing about the stone options and how NorthStar makes them to color specifications. Not being in the showroom, I selected my product based on the samples on the website and queued up my order. I felt like the cost of the material was such a good deal that the shipping cost to me in Georgia was worth it. I could tell that Alan was determined that my product met their high-quality standards on color accuracy and he followed up to ensure that shipping went as it should. I will say to buyers who might be hesitant to purchase something like this online, it isn’t an automatic, anonymous process. Being able to speak with a specialist and get hands-on attention for exactly what my project needed made me feel like I was making the right purchase, just as if I had bought it locally.

 

After a lot of researching, I went with Laticrete’s MVIS Hi-Bond Veneer Mortar for the install mortar and grout between the stones. This ended up being a somewhat difficult product to track down here but may be more readily available in other parts of the country. I will say that it worked great, bonding even the heaviest of the stones very easily. It’s also lighter and doesn’t have the gravel of cheap big box store mortar.

 

For the mantle, I wanted something that looked like a rustic beam, but I didn’t want a 50 lb. slab, and I also needed more light in the fireplace area. I decided to build a hollow box version out of cedar and included flush-fitting LED lights so that I could get a nice light effect across the stones without having to install lights in the ceiling. Given that the cabin walls are solid log, I ran the power up from the basement via a small groove behind the Durock cement board and included the light switch and an outlet in the beam as well. Once it was mounted on a cleat and had the stone installed around it, the resulting look was the beefy beam I was going for (without the weight of a solid beam or the need to mount lights elsewhere). The lights are spring-load mounted – should I ever need to swap one or get to their wiring, I have multiple access points.

Stone Fireplace

With all of the stone materials in place, Durock on the wall and the mantle installed, I got started on the stone work. I laid out the material on the floor as a guide for install – this worked great for about the first 2/3 of the process. As I got further up I found that I was adjusting positioning on the fly to get the best mix of stone sizes and to account for where they needed to be cut.

Stone Veneer for fireplaces

 

 

For cutting,I used a 4.5” diamond blade on my angle grinder. I was actually surprised how easily the stone material cut, and then used the grinder to make the cut edges less perfect for blending with other stone. Given that the install is a “flat fireplace” (i.e. no corners or extended depth), I used uncut stones on both sides and worked to the middle, putting the cut stones in varying middle places so that when you look at the final product from either side you only see factory stone edges. It also worked in my favor that my log walls have a lot of imperfections and variation, so any variation in the edge where the stone meets the logs adds to the rustic look.

Stone Fireplaces

 

 

I used a traditional “squeeze” grout bag to put the mortar between the stones. The particular mortar I used being so quick to dry ended up translating to only mixing about a grout bag or two at a time, but once I figured out the right mix for this (i.e. thinker than I expected), it went pretty well.

 

Stone Veneer Fireplace

 

Stone Fireplaces

The stone install portion of the effort (including the grouting) was about 20 hours spread out over several days. I would imagine that the pros can do this project a lot faster and if I was to do it again, I could as well. My pacing was based more on tinkering with the mortar mix and resting as I went, so others might have different timeframes. I’m pretty happy with the results and it’s always great to be able to add a new “I built that” to my list of projects. Hopefully my photos and story are useful to you – if you’re a DIYer who’s able to plan, prep for, cut and lay floor tile, you should be able to do this too, with help from Alan and NorthStar Stone.

 

Tim Brammer

What Donating Custom Stone Veneer Taught Our Company About Habitat for Humanity

What Donating Custom Stone Veneer Taught Our Company About Habitat for Humanity

Stone Fireplace Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

At North Star Stone, we recently donated some of our fine custom stone veneer products to the Lake County chapter of Habitat for Humanity.  And although many readers have heard of this fine organization, some may be unaware of how exactly Habitat for Humanity operates in an effort to provide affordable and safe housing.  North Star Stone’s new partnership with Habitat has opened our eyes regarding the scope and impact of their efforts not only in the Chicagoland area, but around the world.  Now we’d like to share some of the information that we’ve learned along the way.

Habitat for Humanity’s History & Mission

Habitat for Humanity International is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization that was started in 1976 by co-founders Millard and Linda Fuller.  Based in Americus, GA, the group’s mission is built upon the principle that every person deserves a decent place to live.  Since its inception, Habitat’s philosophy has been to engage in “partnership housing”, a concept focused on using teams of skilled volunteers working together in an effort to provide reliable and affordable shelter for families.  Habitat projects also include renovations, repairs and improvements to existing properties within a community.

Homes built by Habitat for Humanity’s thousands of volunteers and paid employees are done so without a profit motive.  In addition, the organization partners with mortgage lenders to obtain zero-interest loans for those they assist.  Habitat also operates The Fund for Humanity, which receives money from their ReStores, online merchandise sales, mortgage payments and cash donations to continuously finance more homes for those in need.  Today, houses built by the caring hands of Habitat volunteers provide shelter for nearly 10 million family members in 70 countries and 1400 communities worldwide.

How does a Habitat Home Get Built Using Stone Veneer?

There are several different factors that all come together to produce just one Habitat home.  For prospective new homeowners, there’s a non-discriminatory application process whereby the selection criteria varies from community to community.  It involves these steps:

  • The applicant must show a specific level of financial need.
  • An applicant must have a willingness to partner with Habitat.  This means devoting hundreds of hours of their own time to building their new home, while further participating in construction efforts on other Habitat projects in their area.
  • The ability to repay an affordable mortgage is a must. 
  • Applicants are screened and chosen based upon the above criteria by a local Habitat selection committee.

Volunteers partnering with Habitat include builders, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, roofers, bricklayers, carpet installers, and more.  These individuals not only donate their valuable services locally, but sometimes travel to other communities where Habitat operates.  For example, when a natural disaster strikes teams from Habitat for Humanity oftentimes can be found in the impacted area helping the locals rebuild.  Habitat offices are currently located within all 50 states and in every Canadian province.  ReStores also exist in numerous U.S. cities and towns which, as aforementioned, serve to raise money for future home building and remodeling projects. 

Many construction and building suppliers also donate their goods to Habitat, much like North Star Stone began doing recently.   Tools, building materials, cleaning supplies, equipment, machinery, and even trucks are needed to fuel Habitat’s daily efforts.  Companies or individuals also contribute appliances, furniture and housewares to support Habitat endeavors.  Planning for building projects within a given locality is done under the watchful eye of paid Habitat coordinators.   At this point the organization is entering the final year of its Habitat for Humanity Strategic Plan 2014-2018 with its motto of: “a world where everyone has a decent place to live”.

How Our Stone Veneer is Beautifying Habitat Homes

Starting in November of 2017, North Star Stone proudly began donating some of our high-quality manufactured stone veneer products to the Habitat branch in Lake County, IL.  These faux stone products are typically used as decorative enhancements by residential and commercial property owners for applications from fireplaces to home exteriors.  We recognize that Habitat not only believes in everyone living in an affordable, safe and decent home, but further that they strive to build houses that are attractive, energy-efficient and accessible.  Our manufactured stone siding solutions work well to serve Habitat’s structural objectives.

North Star Stone has so far donated over 1400 square feet of custom stone veneer that’s being used to beautify the exteriors and interiors of several Habitat-built properties around Chicago.  We’ve learned that since 1989 Habitat for Humanity Lake County has provided over 200 families with affordable and reliable housing outcomes.  North Star Stone will continue to partner with Habitat by providing our manufactured stone veneer products to support those efforts.  Get a free estimate or learn more about our custom stone veneer products here. 

Donations & Volunteer Work Help Hurricane Victims Rebuild

Donations & Volunteer Work Help Hurricane Victims Rebuild

Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

Before hurricanes Harvey and Irma this summer, 2005’s Hurricane Katrina was the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history according to CNN Money. Flooding and ripping up the Gulf Coast, CNN reports, Katrina created what would amount to $160 billion in damages today for America alone.

CNN Money notes that financial losses from Harvey and Irma may reach about $200-290 billion dollars. What part of that figure will flow from rebuilding homes, businesses and infrastructure is unknown.

All of us can help minimize damages through donations to charitable organizations helping Houston, the Gulf Coast, Florida and other southeastern states.

What to Give

The logistics of storing construction supplies or other goods — such as clothing, food and water — is challenging following a natural disaster. Relief experts and journalists who have covered many natural disasters say it is best to contribute money in the immediate aftermath of such events.

First-responder charities are on the ground immediately after a disaster. They provide basic emergency and rescue services, including medical care and evacuation. Charities that help with rebuilding structures will arrive later when it is possible to begin work.

If you do plan to donate construction materials or other goods, such as clothing or food, be sure to talk with the charity involved about what is needed. Many non-profits do not accept clothing or shoes because they often get an influx of them and often have a difficult time sorting, cleaning and storing these items. So always call ahead and ask what supplies a non-profit is collecting.

At North Star Stone, we are organizing a donation of stone veneer to Habitat for Humanity Lake County. These supplies will likely be used here in the Chicagoland area, but we are looking into other options for donating to help hurricane victims repair and rebuild their homes. Habitat will be able to use our stone veneer to update stone fireplaces and add stone siding on HFH homes locally.

Choosing a Helpful Charity

To make sure your contributions help where intended, access a charity rating service online. CharityWatch, GuideStar and Charity Navigator are organizations that evaluate the efficiency and helpfulness of many kinds of charities based on a wide array of factors. It’s easy to access ratings at the websites of all three.

Habitat for Humanity, SBP USA and All Hands Volunteers are examples of charities that have solid ratings on all three websites.

Habitat allows donors to designate where their cash contributions should be applied. You don’t need to be a construction professional to swing a hammer or help with other rebuilding tasks on Habitat projects. However, check with the branch where you hope to volunteer to find out what openings and skills are needed. Churches often form Habitat teams of including volunteers of varying skill levels. Check with local congregations to see which ones are planning construction mission trips to disaster areas.

All three organizations help train volunteers on the job. But don’t show up at one of their worksites without applying to volunteer and receiving an assignment. Self-deploying to a disaster area can be chaotic and dangerous. It may also slow work teams.

Rebuilding is a slow process. However, SBP USA, which cut its teeth on helping the Gulf Coast rebuild post-Katrina, learned how to speed up its projects from auto manufacturer Toyota. SBP has shared the process with other relief charities, including Habitat.

Lending a Hand Internationally

Late August through mid-September 2017 will be remembered as a time of unparalleled hurricane destruction internationally. Hurricane Irma created tremendous damage throughout the Caribbean before making landfall in Southwest Florida. Hurricane Katia almost simultaneously walloped the east coast of Mexico shortly after a massive earthquake. At publication time, we’re hoping Hurricane Jose will continue winding down away from land in the Atlantic.

Both Habitat and the UK-based All Hands Volunteers help rebuild communities worldwide following calamities as do all the charitable organizations listed in this 2016 ThoughtCo. article about disaster relief organizations. There are also many smaller non-profits that are helping Hurricane victims that may be accepting donations of money and supplies, as well as looking for volunteers to help rescue, clean and rebuild after these disasters. Stay tuned and we will be updating this post with local charities that need help and are providing help to hurricane victims.

So, lend a hand at home or lend a hand internationally. Together we can fix what is broken one nail, one stroke of paint and one piece of stone at a time.

—————-

Sources:

https://www.thoughtco.com/after-disaster-they-rebuild-178385

http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-earthquake-20170909-story.html

Best Budget Stores For Home Renovation In Chicago

Best Budget Stores For Home Renovation In Chicago

Home Improvements Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

You don’t have to wear a tool belt to be a do-it-yourself home improvement artist. Being great at the logistics of locating discount materials is a crucial skill in completing projects at lower cost. And it leaves room in your budget for hiring pros whether carpenters or stone veneer masons.

Here are some useful local companies for budget renovation in metro Chicago communities. We’ve included store addresses and phone numbers to make shopping easier.

Flooring & Carpet

Home Owners Bargain Outlet

Crest Hill, 1693 South Plainfield Road, (815) 730-8340

Oak Lawn, 8716 South Cicero Avenue, (708) 423-4656

Waukegan, 2650 Belvedere Road, (847) 263-1612

Villa Park, 300 North Avenue, (630) 833-3200

HOBO’s outlet stores offer top deals on solid surface flooring, including tiles from ceramic to granite and hardwoods.  Persist and you can find a great deal.

 

Floor & Decor

Arlington Heights, 600 East Rand Road, (847) 704-7071

Aurora, 307 South Route 59, (630) 449-1255

Lombard, 1000 North Rohlwing Road, (630) 613-1597

Skokie, 3300 Oakton St, (847) 983-2987

Countryside, 1 Countryside Plaza, (708) 937-1325

Gurnee Mills, 6100 West Grand Avenue, (847) 672-2023

Looking for a discount on laminate or vinyl flooring? Do you want to consider good prices on hardwood or many kinds of tile and stone finishes? You’ll find lots of choices here.

 

Rexx Rug

Chicago, 3312 North Lincoln Avenue, (773) 281-8800

Discover area rugs and wall-to-wall carpeting from berbers to plushes at Rexx Rug. Enjoy free cookies as well as hundreds of flooring choices at their warehouse sales. Rexx also sells engineered and solid hardwood flooring.

 

Cabinets

Home Owners Bargain Outlet

 

HOBO sells a broad range of discounted building supplies, including cabinets for kitchens and bathrooms. We listed all the locations above.

 

Builder Supply Outlet

 

Broadview, 2171 West Cermak Road, (708) 343-3900

In addition to in-stock kitchen cabinets at prices up to 60 percent off retail, Builder Supply sells a broad range of construction materials for DIYers, including countertops, doors, windows and flooring.

 

Furniture

Toms-Price

 

Bloomingdale, 279 Madsen Drive (the company’s outlet location), (630) 529-7600

Lincolnshire, 725 Milwaukee Avenue, (847) 478-1900

Old Orchard, 4999 Old Orchard Center, (847) 675-9400

South Barrington, 100 West Higgins Road, (847) 783-1500

Wheaton, 303 East Front Street, (630) 668-7878

Toms-Price sells furniture at discount for all rooms in your home and for all tastes.

 

Nadeau

 

Chicago, 4433 North Ravenswood Avenue, (773) 728-3497

Nadeau’s motto is “furniture with a soul.” If you are searching for unique tables, seating, shelving and storage from around the world, this is the location for great deals.

 

Décor

 

CB2

Chicago (Lincoln Park), 800 West North Avenue, (312) 787-8329

If you want a hip, modern look at affordable prices, try Crate and Barrel’s CB2. You’ll find everything that is sleek and simple — from tubular outdoor furniture to minimalist dishware designs.

 

Lighting

 

Fox Lighting Galleries

 

Chicago, 4240 West Lawrence Avenue, (773) 282-6300

Whether you’re looking for chandeliers, lighted ceiling fans or floor lamps Fox offers a broad array of choices at budget prices. The company’s website provides prices as well as product details for all its lighting.

 

Stone Veneer

 

North Star Stone

 

Libertyville, 1840 Industrial Drive, (847) 996-6850

Are you in the market for a new stone fireplace or a fireplace update? We offer well-priced materials and installation at North Star Stone, and invite you to make an appointment to visit our Libertyville showrooms. If you want to add distinguished looking stone exterior siding options to your Chicago metro home — from façade to garden walls — we can help you achieve the look you want within a reasonable budget. Contact NorthStar today for the kind of fireplace renovation Chicago residents love or any kind of stone siding project.

10 Things to Look for In a Contractor When Remodeling

10 Things to Look for In a Contractor When Remodeling

Stone Exteriors Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

Saving money for a home remodeling takes time and requires restraint in spending. So, when you get ready to launch your project, you don’t want it to turn into a remuddling due to selecting the wrong professionals to guide the work.

Depending on the size and complexity of the project, you may need to begin with an architect who not only can design the project but also provide referrals to reliable contractors.

How to select an architect is a topic for another day. What we’re suggesting here is that you’ll be happier with a remodeling if you ask yourself key questions about what to look for in a contractor and interview at least three before hiring. 

What a Contractor Does

Contractors generally aren’t designer although construction companies may have in-house designers. Instead, your contractor is the overall supervisors for your project. Their duties include:

  • Selecting sub-contractors, such as carpenters, electricians and plumbers
  • Overseeing all aspects of construction
  • Maintaining the work schedule you have approved
  • Handling payouts for materials and labor
  • Being responsible for meeting deadlines and
  • Ensuring that worksites are safe and tidy at the end of the day (especially important if you continue to live in the house during construction).

You may decide that you also want your architect to provide project management (an extra fee beyond design) aimed at making sure work proceeds correctly based on the design and materials specified in the design plans.

10 Key Questions to Consider

Here are some important issues to think about before selecting a contractor.

1. Are you hiring the contractor to be a designer as well as a project supervisor? If so, research the contractor’s design credentials and experience.

2. Do you have friends, neighbors or coworkers who can recommend contractors? Praise from someone you trust is valuable. Ask them specific questions about what went right or wrong with their projects. Negative feedback may help you to avoid hiring the wrong person or construction company.   

3. If you are relying on online recommendations, how trustworthy are these testimonials? Consider whether you or someone you know has found reliable help for other projects through these sources.

4. If an architect has designed your project, does the architect recommend any of your favored contractors? A contractor your designer respects is likely to be one on whom you can rely.

5. Does a contractor have a reputation for meeting deadlines and keeping the worksite safe?  This is a question to ask whoever provides referrals.

6. Is the contractor bonded, licensed and known for providing a well-detailed contract? Once again, ask those who provide referrals and then verify with the contractor. Also, insist on a detailed contract.

7. During the interview process, does a contractor answer your questions in an authoritative (not authoritarian) way? Your contractor should be able to answer your questions without forcing opinions on you.

8. Is a contractor able to provide referrals from former customers? If not, check the contractor off your list.

9. Is a contractor comfortable knowing that you will be interviewing others as well? If a contractor is experienced and knowledgeable, he or she will also be confident enough to accept competition.

10. Does a contractor have experience specific to your project, such as stone veneer work? A stone veneer contractor in the Chicago metro area will have experience with these kinds of projects:

The “Click Factor”

Finally, after each contractor interview, there is a certain gut-feeling factor to consider. You have to ask yourself how comfortable you were. Did the two of you “click” by communicating well? Do you think the contractor understands your project needs and can fulfill them?

Interviewing shouldn’t be rushed. You need to be patient and so does each interviewee. A prospective contractor who is willing to answer all your questions so you can make a well-informed decision is one who is likely to be a good communicator during construction.

North Star Stone is proud to say we meet all of these qualifications as a stone veneer contractor. We value our customers, their homes and their business and are always happy to explain the process and answer any questions you have. If you have questions you’d like to ask about stone veneer design for your stone fireplace or exterior stone siding, call us at (847) 996-6850 or contact us here and get a FREE estimate.

What’s New Is Old: Fireplaces and Stone Veneer History

What’s New Is Old: Fireplaces and Stone Veneer History

Stone Colors Stone Fireplace Stone Fireplaces Stone Interior Stone Veneer

Today’s thin cut stone veneer looks like the real thing.  However, it is manufactured from concrete, a combination of Portland cement and aggregate molded in rubber casts that capture the texture of real stone. Ground pigments provide its natural looking colors.

Lightweight fireplace stone veneer weighs far less than real stone, so it’s possible to construct rustic, historical looking surrounds that may even reach from floor to ceiling. It is a modern miracle that can give homes a historical look.

But dig deep enough into the past, and you discover that what seems new started in ancient times.

Ancient Synthetic Basalt

Many articles have commented on the strange trifecta of chance that an archeologist with the last name of “Stone” representing the State University of New York at Stony Brook, discovered the first evidence of artificial stone.

In 1998, The New York Times reported that Dr. Elizabeth C. Stone had identified slabs found a decade earlier in southern Iraq as being artificial basalt. Her team uncovered the find in the ruins of Mashkan-shapir, a Mesopotamian city that existed 4,000 years ago and had no basalt quarries.

Although real stone was scarce, basaltic river silt was plentiful in the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Dr. Stone theorizes that artisans melted the silt to create material for construction and stones used in grinding grain.

Historical Uses of Stone Veneer

Concrete was an invention of the Roman Empire. The ancient conquerors used it as the underlying structural material supporting more attractive brick and stone veneers in buildings such as the Coliseum. The art of making concrete disappeared at the fall of the Roman Empire after 400 AD.

About 1,300 years later, a British engineer devised a new formula. Thin stone veneer construction with real, hand-tooled stone reappeared in the late 19th century.

By the early 20th century, most natural stone veneer work was limited to building interiors, but the exterior of the Empire State Building is an example of heavy limestone veneer over brick and steel.

Arrival of Manufactured Thin Veneer

Natural stone veneer is about four times the weight of thin veneer product. This makes it more difficult to support on walls and more expensive to ship and to purchase.

RELATED: Control Dust & Dirt During A Home Remodeling Project

In contrast, today’s concrete stone fireplace veneer is affordable and supportable for many kinds of construction projects from commercial to residential.

Thin veneer manufactured stones vary in thickness from about 1 to 3 inches depending on the stone on which they are styled. They have become increasingly durable and realistic looking since introduction in the early 1960s.

The color of some manufactured thin veneer may fade faster than others due to being spray painted with pigment. However, at North Star Stone, we infuse the pigment during the curing process so it permeates the stones and looks natural.

North Star also hand assembles fireplace walls and smaller surrounds to avoid repetitive patterns. We strive for the highest craftsmanship while also making a luxurious look affordable.

For more information about the many kinds of fireplace veneer and designs available for your project, please contact us at North Star Stone. Let’s make it an important moment in the history of your home.

How to Control Dust During Indoor Stone Veneer Fireplace Remodeling

How to Control Dust During Indoor Stone Veneer Fireplace Remodeling

Stone Fireplace Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

When plentiful, dust can make anyone sneeze and cover mouth and nose to avoid inhaling it. Construction sites are well known for powdery particulate. Architects and builders often refer to clients who stay in their homes during a remodeling project as “living in the dust.”

But home during indoor remodeling, such as construction of a stone veneer fireplace surround, there are several ways to control dust. This is especially important if family members have asthma.

Here are some practical measures you can handle or negotiate with your contractor to minimize construction dust.

Create Dust Barriers & Isolate Work Area

The first step in limiting the spread of construction dust is to erect clear, plastic dust barriers closing off openings from the work area to other parts of the house. This task may be as simple as hanging heavy mil plastic sheeting over doors or separating spaces with plastic wall systems, such as ZipWalls.

If there is furniture in the work space that can’t be moved elsewhere, it should also be covered to avoid dust from polluting upholstery.

Furthermore, isolating a stone fireplace work area includes moving any sawing outdoors if weather allows. It also requires delivering building materials to the remodeling space via a route that minimizes spreading dust to other parts of the home.

Construction dust clings to work clothing, so another wise step is to ask your contractor to limit worker access to other parts of your home.

Cover Walls, Flooring & Furniture

Next, you need to make sure your floors in the remodeling area — whether carpeted or bare — are covered wall to wall with rosin paper (a recyclable paper building product), thick plastic or drop cloths. Final cleanup will be much easier if walls in the remodeling area are covered floor to ceiling.

Prepping Your HVAC System

Not all homes have forced-air heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, but if yours does, precautions during construction projects include limiting the amount of dust that gets into ducts.

If your project occurs when temperatures are moderate, it’s a good idea to shut down your HVAC system for a few days during the stone veneer fireplace remodel. This includes closing or covering the work area’s air supply and return registers in the walls and floor. However, workers still need air circulation, so open a window for fresh air.

Stone veneer fireplace projects generally take less than a week to complete. During winter installation, it may be best to keep the HVAC running even if you aren’t staying at home. It keeps the house warm for your return and helps any moist construction materials, such as grout, to dry more quickly.

In cold weather, the registers in the work area can be closed, and the contractor can bring in a portable electric heater. Or the register grills can be partially closed and covered with high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) furnace filters. To further capture any fine dust in ducts on return flow, install a HEPA filter in place of your regular furnace filter.

Capture Dust with HEPA Air Scrubbers

At any time of year, a portable HEPA air scrubber may be the best solution for keeping indoor construction dust from drifting through your house. It also captures any gases and airborne chemicals released by construction materials.

No ducting is attached to the air scrubber, which is placed in the center of the work space. It sucks in dirty air, then releases clean air. This is particularly important in older homes that may contain asbestos or lead in old construction materials removed during stone veneer remodeling.

HEPA air scrubbers contain a series of filters. The first stage of filtration is handled by a pre-filter that absorbs larger particles. Frequent replacement of the pre-filter protects the efficiency of the primary filter. If you add a carbon filter, it can absorb smelly gases and vapors.

As the Proud Green Home website notes, HEPA air scrubbers “meet standards that remove 99.97% of airborne particles down to the size of 0.3 microns.” A micron is a millionth of a meter or about .00004 inches wide. Due to their filtering power, air scrubbers are expensive. Yet home improvement stores make access to them more affordable through rental.

Specify & Share Cleanup

At the end of each work day, contractors for any indoor construction project should minimally vacuum up dust. (Sweeping with a broom sends much of the dust flying.) Then careful removal and disposal of floor and wall coverings, as well as dust barriers, follows at the end of the project.

The next step, generally handled by the homeowner or a house cleaner you hire, is to damp mop walls and hard flooring and deep vacuum carpeting. Finally, to avoid circulating any construction dust that remains in your home, continue to use a HEPA filter for your furnace for about two weeks, changing the filter at least three times.

Seek More Information

For any questions you may have about stone veneer fireplaces, please contact us at North Star Stone. You’ll also find answers to frequently asked questions at our website. We want to help you and your family breathe easy about home improvement.

In the meantime, check out our stone veneer fireplace galleries for some great ideas and see how other families updated their fireplaces with North Star Stone veneer.

Sources:

http://www .hou zz.co m/ideabooks/46866556/list/what-to-know-about-controlling-dust-during-remodeling

https://www .angieslist.com/articles/8-ways-protect-your-hvac-during-remodeling.htm

http://buildc lean.com/images/Best-Practices.pdf

http://www.aconco  rdcarpenter.com/how-to-protect-vents-from-remodeling-dust.html

http://www6 .hom edepot.com/tool-truck-rental/Hepa_Air_Scrubber_with_Filters/F284/

http://www.jondo n.com/flood-restoration/air-scrubber

https://www.drie az.c om/Uploads/DECA/GTAS.pdf

http://www.bacteria- world.co m/how-big-micron.htm

http://answers.angi eslist.com/Do-contractors-typically-clean-remove-dust-installing-drywall-skim-coating-walls-q54293.aspx

 

 

Best Flooring Options for Your Fireplace Hearth

Best Flooring Options for Your Fireplace Hearth

Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

Whether you already have a stone fireplace/stone fireplaces in your home or you’re planning to have one installed, you need to consider the flooring for your fireplace hearth. The hearth of the fireplace begins with the floor of the fireplace and extends into the living area in front of the fireplace itself, plus the fireplace surround. The hearth is the area where you would keep your extra wood and kindling, and any other accessories you have to build and maintain your fire.

 

Fireplace Hearth

What Are the Safety Concerns With a Fireplace Hearth?

Since the fireplace hearth is directly in front of the fireplace and surround, you need to be careful about safety hazards that can happen on or near the hearth area. No matter how safety conscious or careful you are, accidents happen to the best of us. Some of the safety concerns that you should be aware of with your fireplace hearth are:

Sparks and Embers

Sparks and embers from the fire can fly out unexpectedly from a fire. Although it’s more common from fires with wood that is partially wet, these sparks can happen with any fire. It has very little to do with the skill of the person who built the fire, so sparks are almost uncontrollable.

Fireplace Hearth
If these sparks land on carpet or other textiles, however, there is a danger that damage or an unplanned fire can occur. A spark can land on the carpet or textile, smolder, and then build into a dangerous fire hazard.

Tripping and Falling

Some fireplace hearths cause another kind of home safety hazard, and that is the danger of tripping and falling. If you have a hearth that is raised above the natural level of the room’s flooring, the sudden change in elevation can cause visitors in the home to trip or fall, because they are unaware of the step up. Homes with small children face a similar problem, as youngsters tend not to be as aware of uneven flooring as adults.

Why Hearths Make a Home Safer

In most cases, though, the hearth makes the home safer. Hearths provide a natural area around the front of the fireplace and surround that signals to the residents and visitors that the fireplace is there. The hearth truly is the heart of the home, and having a custom stone fireplace and hearth is one of the most satisfying ways to make your home cozy and warm for your family, friends and guests.

What are the Best Flooring Options for a Stone Fireplace Hearth?

There are certain flooring options that help to make a fireplace hearth safe, beautiful and functional. These are all qualities that will work to bring value and style to your home. You obviously want to make your hearth safe, but you also want the hearth area to complement your home’s décor. Of course, the hearth also needs to perform the function that it’s intended for.

 

Fireplace Hearth

Slate

Slate tile is a natural flooring solution that goes with just about any living area flooring. Slate is a natural type of thin rock that lends itself well to home décor. It does not burn or singe easily, and can withstand extreme wear and tear. It’s available in a wide variety of colors and patterns.

Concrete
Concrete is a fantastic hearth flooring solution for those who are eco-minded. Concrete hearth flooring is safe and protective for any potential sparks coming from the fireplace, as well as offering a decorative flooring option.

Stone Veneer/Manufactured Stone
For the discerning homeowner who wants a natural look, there is perhaps no better choice than manufactured stone or stone veneer for the hearth. Stone Veneer is beautiful, functional, safe and affordable for the fireplace hearth.

Brick

Brick can also serve as a fireplace hearth. They also will prevent accidents from happening around the fireplace, but brick may not suit every home décor due to the lack of color options.

Whichever kind of flooring options you choose for your fireplace surround, be sure to consider all the issues mentioned above to ensure a lifetime of satisfaction. Learn more about our stone veneer and take a look at our stone fireplace galleries and see how we use stone veneer to make fireplaces beautiful.

Stone Fireplace Mantels- More Than Just A Shelf

Stone Fireplace Mantels- More Than Just A Shelf

Stone Fireplace Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

Perhaps the most important and necessary accessory associated with a home’s stone fireplace is the mantel. Nothing completes the fulfilling picture of a welcoming hearth more than that focal point that can be created by what is showcased on a mantel. While the family photographs and other personal items that grace this special shelf can tell the story of a home’s occupants, the way a mantel is constructed and the materials with which it is constructed can also speak volumes about a home, its occupants, and the homeowner’s personal sense of style and design.

In an effort to learn more about mantels, specifically handcrafted, wood mantels, North Star Stone recently spoke with Gerry

Gerry, in our Libertyville Stone Fireplace Showroom

Gerry, in our Libertyville Stone Fireplace Showroom

Hamm, owner of G.H. Woodworking and Sawmill, Inc. in Wauconda, IL. Self-taught, Gerry is a mantel expert as well as skilled carpenter and craftsman who we regularly recommend to North Star Stone customers seeking the perfect mantel to compliment the exquisite look of our highly customizable stone veneer products.  Gerry’s beautifully constructed mantels can be found in homes all over the Chicagoland area. 

Choices are many when it comes to selecting and or designing the perfect wood mantel. Personal tastes vary and fortunately there is a wood option out there for everybody. One may prefer the outdoorsy look of rugged, reclaimed timber while something more traditional and refined like Cherry or Alder is more in step with a home’s decor. When it comes to creating mantels for his clients, Gerry utilizes his 25 years of experience as well as his love for reclaimed materials such as repurposed wood. Gerry is also a fan of white oak (Quercus alba), which comes from the tree of the same name.  Indigenous to the United States, Gerry likes working with the white oak because of its versatility, beauty, and weather resistance. Never one for taking the easy road when it comes to constructing his one-of-a-kind pieces, Gerry finds that the more challenging a piece is to create, the more satisfying it is.

Check Out Some Of Our Stone Fireplace Mantel Options

 

White Oak Tree- Gerry's Favorite Type Of Wood For Fireplace Mantels

White Oak Tree- Gerry’s Favorite Type Of Wood For Fireplace Mantels

When it comes time to design or purchase the perfect mantel for your home Gerry has some practical advice to share. According to Gerry it is important to realize that the mantelpiece “is a focal point and should be in contrast to background – so it sticks out!” Fortunately, when paired with stone veneer, which allows for an abundance of color customization, it is easy to ensure your mantel stands out beautifully. Working with a designer can also ensure the mantel you select is unique to you and your home and not of the cookie-cutter variety. Additionally, even though a mantel can be as long as one wishes, Gerry explains that a typical mantel is between 60 and 66 inches in length. Widths can also vary depending on one’s needs. Gerry also suggests that if you plan on placing your television on or near a mantel to make sure that a “power source is available.”

Taking the time to find a quality, beautifully crafted fireplace mantel will not only help bring your own personal seasonal expressions to life but will also add charm and character to your home for the rest of the year as well. If you are interested in adding a custom mantel to your new stone veneer fireplace, call our stone experts at North Star Stone at 847-996-6850.

 

Should I Seal My Stone Veneer?

Should I Seal My Stone Veneer?

Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

You have recently decided to improve the appearance of your home by adding stone veneer. You have decided after some research that you would like to seal and possibly enhance your new manufactured stone but you’re not sure where to begin. Fortunately, North Star Stone is here to help. Continue reading to learn a bit more about stone sealers and enhancers.

 

What is a stone sealant?

Sealant is a product that is typically brushed over stone in order to provide a protective layer against things such as salt, weather, moisture, stains and potential color deterioration. There are several brands on the market that can be purchased at retail stores like Home Depot and Lowes as well as on the web. It is recommended that you avoid products with acid and use a silane or siloxane-based sealant that is penetrating yet provides breathability. Eagle Natural Seal or The Armor SX5000 WB are two brands available at Home Depot. At Lowes you can find Eco Advance Concrete/Masonry Siloxane Waterproofer.

 

What is a sealer + enhancer?

Like the name implies, a sealer + enhancer does the job of sealing as well as enhancing the stone, which essentially means it works to bring out the natural character of the stone and to essentially make it more vibrant. It is important to make sure when selecting a sealer + enhancer that it is safe to use on manufactured or man made stone such as stone veneer. Just like with sealer, it is always a good idea to do a spot check in an inconspicuous place to see how your stone reacts with the product. 511 Seal & Enhance by Miracle Sealants is safe to use on manufactured stone and can be found at Home Depot.

 

Why should I use this product?

The general rule where sealing stone veneer is concerned is, if the stone darkens when a drop of water hits it then it can also be stained by other materials in the environment like oil, dirt or plant residue. Furthermore, the up side to sealing your stone is that it makes stone veneer even more easier to clean and will provide protection against the environment and color fading. Additionally, depending on the weather conditions and climate where you live, in order to protect your stone’s appearance and longevity, the relatively short time it will take you to seal your stone is well worth it. As a result, applying a sealant to your stone is most likely a good idea. Many stone veneer manufacturers will often say their stone does not require sealing, which essentially leaves the choice with you. Most sealers can be applied to stone on the interior and exterior of your home, so keep that in mind for any stonework beautifying the inside of your home as well.

 

Things to Know about sealers

 

  • Certain sealers may make your stone appear wet, slightly darker and or vibrant.
  • Always test a small portion of your stone with the sealer or sealer + enhancer product first in an inconspicuous place before applying it all over. This will help you know how your stone will respond to the product.
  • The more porous the stone the more coats required. Read instructions carefully.
  • Check with your stone veneer supplier to make sure the product you purchase is safe to use on your stone.
  • Sealing or enhancing your stone is something you will need to repeat periodically. Check your product information for details.
  • Make sure you are applying your product under the right weather conditions, as it may not perform correctly.

 

 

If you aren’t at the sealing and enhancing stage of your stone projects yet but are still considering stone as a way to update, accentuate and add character to your home – why not contact North Star Stone? Our experts are here to help. You too can see why homeowners in Chicagoland suburbs like Libertyville, Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect have chosen North Star Stone as their source for expert stone veneer fireplace and exterior stone siding selection and installation. For more information please call 847.996.6850 or email info@northstarstone.biz.