How to Reface a Fireplace with Granite | Generation Next | Ask This Old House

20May 2018


Ask This Old House mason Mark McCullough teaches apprentice Krysten how to reface a granite fireplace.
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Time: 3-4 hours

Cost: $2000

Skill Level: Moderate

Tools List for Refacing a Fireplace with Granite:
Prybar
Brick hammer
Bucket
Notched trowel
Level
Rubber mallet

Shopping List:
Granite pieces, cut to size
Drop cloth
Mortar
Concrete construction adhesive

Steps:

1. Handling heavy masonry materials is a two-person minimum job. Do not attempt to do this alone.
2. Carefully pry away the old granite using a prybar. Start from the top and work your way down.
3. Protect the floor with a folded drop cloth. A scrap piece of 2x4 can be used as a lever to pry the hearth.
4. Apply a layer of mortar on the subhearth using the trowel. Add a few blobs in key areas to allow the hearth to be wiggled into place.
5. Place the hearth on the mortar and check for level. Hit it with the rubber mallet to make adjustments.
6. Generously apply concrete construction adhesive to the back of the legs and the top granite piece.
7. Place both legs on each side and check them for level.
8. Place the top carefully and check for level.

Resources:
Refacing a fireplace is a two-person job. Use caution when handling heavy materials.

It’s challenging to match granite, so it makes more sense to order four new pieces rather than just one or two replacement pieces. A local stone fabricator can template the fireplace and cut and round each piece to the appropriate size. In this case, Mark used granite in the color Black Pearl, fabricated by International Stone, Inc. (http://www.internationalstoneinc.com/).

To adhere the granite to the fireplace, Mark used a concrete construction adhesive manufactured by Quikrete (https://www.quikrete.com/).

The other materials Mark used for this job, including the chisel, hammers and buckets, can all be found at home centers.

About Generation Next:
This Old House’s Generation NEXT initiative shines a light on the urgent need for young people to enter the building trades and fill the skills gap in America today. “There’s a critical need for people in home construction,” says the This Old House master carpenter Norm Abram. The initiative has involved recruiting apprentices—some with no skills, some with a few years under their tool belts—to work alongside the TOH TV pros.

About Ask This Old House TV:
Homeowners have a virtual truckload of questions for us on smaller projects, and we're ready to answer. Ask This Old House solves the steady stream of home improvement problems faced by our viewers—and we make house calls! Ask This Old House features some familiar faces from This Old House, including Kevin O'Connor, general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, and landscape contractor Roger Cook.

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How to Reface a Fireplace with Granite | Generation Next | Ask This Old House
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