Sep 29, 2013

Fireplace Fixup Stage 1.5 - CPC (Cat Piss Corner)

Something smells.

Pigtails asked to spend the weekend with her mom's side of the family.  I don't blame her, they live on a 100 acre hobby farm with horses, 4-wheeler trails and a well stocked pond.  Seemed like a good time for me to get dirty with the fireplace and make hay on the dusty parts while she's out.

Order of operation is important when working a project.  I can't latex the brick without first removing the lower cabinets.  Yesterday and today went like this, 12 hours of work:
  • Sawzall, sledge 'n chopped the cabinets
  • Neutered the studs that held the mantel (tedious, hand chiseled the last bits)
  • Patched the brick
  • Painted the back and sides of bookcases to blend with the wall
  • Coated firebox and steel surround with high temp flat black epoxy
  • Removed the floorboards and quarter round; will need to cut and lay new trim

Here's how she looks at Stage 1.5, tape outline on the brick denotes size and location for the plasma:

Laying brick:

Pulling the right cabinet induced a strong whiff of cat pee.  There was a square of carpet under the cabinet over the wood floor that must have served as a litter box to Puddles in 1964.  Somebody get the cat a diaper.  The wood is cloudy.  Marinating in fermented tiddle for 50 years will do that.  I'll sand off a few millimeters of topcoat, restain and seal the oak, then cat piss corner is good to go.

The wait times for allowing layers to dry is driving me nuts.  The project will require six days of hurry up and waiting:

  • Patch the brick, dry for a day
  • Paint the bookcases, dry for a day
  • Mortar the brick, dry for a day
  • Second coat of paint to bookcases, dry for a day
  • Prime the brick, dry for a day
  • Paint the brick, dry for a day
  • Second coat of paint to brick, dry for a day
  • Sand and stain cat piss corner (CPC), dry for a day
  • Polyurethane CPC, dry for a day
  • Cut, paint and stain trim and quarter round, dry for a day.
Makes me wonder how these Extreme Makeover seven day home builds get around the dry time issue.  Are they cutting corners, skipping the primer and second coat of paint?

Tonight I'll mortar the brick, sand cat pee off the floor, head to bed at midnight and get going on priming the brick in the morning.  

Hiding the TV power cord will be a challenge, I'd rather not to try feeding it behind the brick where it could melt when the fire's on boil.



  1. I like what you've done so far. Ain't cat piss fun? Our cat pissed through his carrier and onto the seat of our pick-up truck coming back from the vet after being "de-nutted". We're still trying to get that smell out and it has been over six months.

  2. Looks great so far. I like the idea of painting the inside walls (is that what you'd call them?!) of the bookcases. Makes them blend in but yet still pop on the sides of the fireplace. Sorry to hear about the cart pee. Hopefully peeling back a few layers and sealing over it will remedy any smell that may be lingering. The current patch job on the brick looks good so far. I think it was the right course of action for those 2x4 supports you had. What color are you thinking for the brick? Stark white like the bookcases?

    1. Narrowed the color to off-white grey or off-white blue. There's a good chance stage III of the fireplace fix will be repainting the walls and trim to something lighter with less contrast. Suggestion for colors?

    2. I'm a sucker for a pale green. And I think green is considered a calming color? Though bright colors seem to suit you. I kinda like the red, and I'm sure it isn't quite as bright as it seems to be on the computer.

  3. Looking good so far. I'm not sure how those crazy buggers do it with just 72 hours either. Maybe they use high powered fans or tiny elves with tiny elf magic to speed things up?

    Um, ewwww cat pee! We bought a house years ago that had cat pee on the unsealed concrete floor in the basement. Tough to get out. We hit it with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water poured on and waited for it to dry before sealing it up. No more cat pee smell. Good luck with getting it out of the wood.

  4. 'tis true about those makeover shows - cut corners, staple the stuffing out of stuff - mr betty does it for as his profession, we don't watch those shows with him in the room . Love the work so far - sorry about that cat stuff - nasty stuff

  5. Anonymous9/30/2013

    Like what you have done so far but have a question for you. With the New TV position covering the vents have you worked out how you’re going to mount it? The TV brackets have specific locations they need to be mounted at so you might want to make sure that they aren’t in the middle of the vents. Also I’m guessing the vents don’t get hot when in use? Or do you even use them?

    1. The vents are a pain, I've got a TV mount coming from Amazon in a couple days so I can learn how it bolts up. Likely I'll need to pop off the metal vent covers and nail in some wood cross bracing to help support the TV bracket. Located the studs, which by luck are nearly centered above the fireplace, so that's good.


Thanks for the note, check back for my response!