Sep 25, 2013

Fireplace Fixup Stage I - Busting Chops

Time to fix my fireplace, here's what things look like before digging in:



Goals:

-Hide the flesh colored heat vents
-Take the shine off the brass surround
-Brown brick is ugly, take care of it
-Do something with the side shelves and why are there kitchen cabinets in my parlor (what is a parlor)

I pulled the mantel to see how things look without it.  That thing was stubborn, took a lean into an 18" crowbar to pry the string of screws securing it to the wall.  Surprise, there are two wood studs protruding to support the mantel.  Slight overkill, mantel was used to hold photos, not a heifer.

Also removed the brass fireplace surround and glass doors so I can paint or keep it off if tidy beneath.  Good shape behind the brass, matte black metal and only a few visible screws. 






Bigger issue is if I decide to keep the mantel off, I got a stud protrusion problem.


Rough measurements show a 50" plasma mounted mid level will be wide enough to hide the vents.  Hang it low enough to also cover the rough bricks with missing grout below the vents.  I'd sawzall off the studs, but unsure how to handle the abscess they'd leave behind.

I noticed the brick is fake, it's the thin quarter inch crap slapped over drywall.  Boo. 

Normally not a fan of painting brick, as natural > artificial color.  However, since the stuff is fake to begin with, I'm open to painting it.  

Here's the plan for phase II and a question for you DIY pros: 
  • Leave the mantel and brass surround off, they don't add visual value and clutter against a TV
  • Whitewash or paint the brick a color currently unbeknownst to me; clay paint looks promising
  • Probably also paint the black metal around fireplace same color as brick
  • Mount a TV mid level to cover the vents and most of the jacked brick below the vents
  • Hack off the studs
I can close off the lower flappers in the firebox so heat isn't feeding into the upper vents after the TV is installed.   

Question:  Boob tube is not wide enough to cover the area where the studs protrude.  If I remove the studs, how should I correct that area?  One option is try and find a similar texture of brick and patch it in.  Another is cover it with a square of antique ceiling tin.  What other ideas do you have?

-Beard

31 comments:

  1. Other than a complete facade replacement, I vote for matching the brick or just painting over the stubs as a next best. I think the ceiling tin would just draw way too much attention in a "Hey! look at me covering up these ugly stubs!" kind of way.

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  2. Think you are right, tin would beg for attention. Matching the brick could be tricky but probably the cleanest finish, will start looking for a match.

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  3. If you put some fake brick over where the studs are you can then paint it over with no discernable gap. I like the black fireplace surround too.

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    1. Keep the fireplace metal black or paint to match brick?

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    2. I would not paint the fireplace metal the same color as the brick. I think it will look like you took the "lazy" way out and slopped paint over both materials because it was too much trouble to come up with another solution. (Sorry if that sounded harsh!) It's kind of like painting your walls and wood trim all the same color. Just doesn't look as good. Anyway, the two materials are different: brick vs. metal, and should be treated as such. Is your objective to create a completely bare fireplace facade, other than the t.v.? My suggestion would be to find matching brick to patch the gaps left from the studs, paint all the brick, and then frame out the fireplace opening by either leaving the metal black, or framing out the opening with the tin tiles you mention above (if it's possible to use those without risk of heat damage when you fire up the fireplace). The copper colored ones are really pretty, but of course that will depend on what color you paint the brick. :)

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    3. Laura makes a good point, different materials should be different colors. I worked in patching the brick last night, will paint the firebox matte black tonight and get going on Kilz primer on the brick.

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  4. What are those vents for? Can you put a tv in front of them?

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    1. I'd close off the lower flaps in the fireplace to keep the vents cool with the TV mounted.

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  5. Anonymous9/26/2013

    maybe this? http://thedecorologist.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/wood-paneling-from-ryan-schude-photostream-via-flickr.jpg

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    Replies
    1. 70s wood panelling, oh Anon you so crazy.

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  6. I say fill in the gaps between the bricks with mortar, and chip back the 2x4s and find a replacement brick to fill ti in. If you are just going to paint over it all then it should look nearly seamless.

    I am also really wondering what those ugly vents are for?! maybe once it's all painted they wont look as noticeable?

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    Replies
    1. Vents either lead to a secret lair or they pipe warm air when the fire is going.

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  7. Anonymous9/26/2013

    On brick large buildings, they use "wall washers" as structure. They are just cast iron plates used to hold brick walls to the interior structure of the building... you could cover the wood with that... May not be exactly your style, but thought I would through it out there. Here is a link [[http://www.thecasthouse.com/Wall%20Washer%20page.htm]]

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    1. Anonymous9/26/2013

      throw

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    2. You lost me at through, but now it all makes sense. Learned something new, didn't know they are called ball washers.

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  8. Shannon9/26/2013

    As you've found out it's just a fake brick facade, I would take it all off & see what kind of substrate you're working with, then put something up that you actually like and will enjoy. It seems that you are just patching this up but with no real interest in the brick itself. So I say yank it off. Don't know if the fireplace fixup budget will allow for that; if not, I would paint it all.

    No worries about the lack of mantel?? I am unaccustomed to seeing fireplaces sans mantels. Will this look ok? I sometimes look around for pics to help me visualize in the planning stages - you might find that helpful.

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    1. The brick is fine, color is ugly so will likely paint it and be done. I think it will look okay without a mantel, clean and not cluttered. Checked out some examples on Houzz.com and gave it the nod.

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  9. I'm a fan of mantels, but even if you don't go with them, maybe look at whitewashing the brick. I think it would look good with the red walls in tu casa!

    Two of my favorite ideas for fireplace makeovers are from Beneath My Heart and The Lettered Cottage. Links here:
    http://www.beneathmyheart.net/2012/10/fireplace-makeover-reveal/
    http://theletteredcottage.net/fireplace-makeover/

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    1. I like mantels when there isn't a TV up, but sometimes it looks cluttered and not necessary with a plasma hanging a few inches above it. Will try without and see how she looks. Hacked off the mantel support studs tonight, so think we are in deep at this point.

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  10. I would buy that pre-mixed cement/mortar in a bucket, slap it on thick over the holes where the wood was and etch in mortar lines. Once painted, it should look similar to the real bricks. As for the vents, maybe you could disguise them with speaker cloth in the same color as your paint. Of course, I usually go 90 to nothing, and once I realized it was veneer, I would have taken a hammer to all of it and then worried about what I was going to do with it after the fact. My husband loves that about me, NOT.

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    Replies
    1. Had to Google 90 to nothing, haven't heard that one before. I will try to work that phrase in at work tomorrow. Do you call it Coke, pop or soda in those there parts?

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    2. Coke, doesn't matter what it is, it's Coke and we don't do Pepsi.

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    3. Gotta' ask, Terry -- are you from Texas? We say "90 to nothing" and typical beverage conversations go like this:

      "I'm fixin' to go to the store. Do you want a Coke?"
      "Yeah, that would be great."
      "What kind do you want?"
      "Dr. Pepper."

      ;)

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    4. Oklahoma, now in Atlanta.

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  11. Do you use the fire place? I was told not to mount my TV above it with the heat from it. Not sure if that's really or false...

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    1. I burn oak in the colder months. The fireplace doesn't put out much heat up by where the TV will be, so it should be all right.

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  12. Maybe you could find a really aged board to put up as a kind of header to cover the place the studs leave a scar in the brick. A clean lined black piece of wood might work well also. It would tie into the T.V. The flat piece would give character without clutter and would anchor the T.V.

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  13. Rainy today in Iowa, Pigtails is with her mom's family this weekend so a good time to work on the fireplace. I hacked the studs and am patching the bricks now. Also tearing out the lower cabinets, found old carpet beneath that sniffs of cat pee.

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Thanks for the note, check back for my response!