Let’s assume you are ready to update your fireplace and you currently have a wood surround with tile around the firebox. Or maybe your fireplace just has drywall and a little tile around the firebox and you are looking at a big blank wall. One other option we sometimes come across is a brick fireplace and the height of the fireplace is only 48” high. What do you do?
Generally in our Chicago area market and from the pictures we see on Houzz and Google images, most fireplaces do extend from floor to ceiling. It is what you expect to see. What we call a half height fireplace looks half done. Some say it looks like the homeowner ran out of money or tried to save a buck.
If your fireplace is drywall and is currently about 48” high you can easily add stone veneer to the entire wall of the fireplace from floor to ceiling. Typically any old tile, fake brick and old wood surrounds are removed. A wire mesh and skim coat of mortar is applied to the work area. In this case the typical width of a fireplace is anywhere from 5’-7’ wide. If your fireplace is only 5’ wide and you have the opportunity to widen the fireplace to say 6’ without any inference like windows or outlets, make the fireplace wider. After the wire mesh and skim coat of mortar are applied, a mantel should be installed. Finally the stone is installed from the floor to the ceiling. The last step is to install the hearth. The most affordable option is to use hearthstones from the vendor that made your stone. Limestone is a beautiful option and is much more costly. Some clients like granite, but we don’t see that used for a hearth very often.
If you don’t want your fireplace stone to be flush against the wall, you can easily build a frame using 2 x4’s and covered in Durock. The top ledge of the frame can use the same stone as your hearth. Building a frame about 3” away from the wall provides the illusion that the stone veneer is real stone.
Another case is if you have brick that is approximately 48”. Now you build a frame with 2×4’s and Durock to cover the upper part section above the brick so the Durock and brick are flush. Then the stone is applied to the new surface creating a stone fireplace from floor to ceiling.