For some time now I’ve been toying with the idea of stoning my fireplace. No, I wasn’t planning on punishing it by throwing stones at it, but it did need an attitude adjustment. The pink marble disagreed with everything my household stood for, so it had to change.
I started my fireplace makeover by transforming it slightly, adding a mantel and surround. This helped tone down it’s boorish appearance. But, it was still there rearing it’s ugly head. The only way to rid ourselves of it’s impertinent appearance was stoning.
Yes, I suppose there was another way. A cover up, some suggested. A cloak and dagger assault with a brush and color to make it disappear. I felt it needed a deeper disguise, one of intrigue and mystery, one where no one would ever suspect it’s audacious beginnings.
I planned for a 4 inch boarder around the inside of the mantel surround to cover the marble. I measured the width of the top area to be covered (43″ wide) and the size of the border (4″ tall). I measured the height of the sides to be covered (32″ high minus the 4″ border that will be going in on top) and the width of the border (4″ wide).
I went to Lowes with pictures on my cell phone and an idea in my mind. I walked down the aisle that carried faux stone veneer. I looked at my options. A helpful sales associate greeted me and asked if he could help. I discussed my project with him and showed him my pictures. He pulled out his phone and showed me pictures of a similar project he had done. He gave me some helpful tips and I walked out with a box of AirStone Autumn Mountain Faux Stone Veneer with a natural edge finish, 2 tubes AirStone adhesive (I chose the less messy of the adhesives and bought an extra tube knowing I could return the second if I did not use it, but still had it on hand in case I did), and some new hacksaw blades.
I later realized there is a calculator on the AirStone Installation web page and a more detailed approach on the AirStone Collections. I was fortunate to have a helpful sales associate who new what he was talking about. However, I suggest using the calculator, so you can be 100% sure you are getting the amount you need. It’s much simpler and it will take the guess work out of how many boxes you need.
The new hacksaw blades were very important. After I lay out the stone in the pattern I decided on. I made measurements and started to make my cuts. I didn’t change out the hacksaw blade immediately thinking that the one I had on there was fine and that once that was dull I would change it. After cutting only a few pieces of stone and feeling like I had developed shoulder tendinitis I remembered an age old rule… let the saw do the cutting. It will cut more easily, with less energy expended and it will be a cleaner cut. I changed out the saw blade and it made a huge difference. Remember, depending on how much stone you have to cut, which for me was all of them, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
I lay out the stone again for the top row and measured again to make sure it was going to fit. After making sure everything was going to fit nice and tight I began to put the adhesive on the back of the tiles and place them along the top row. Here comes the tricky part. I had to use scrap lumber and a step stool to secure the tile while it dries. If you do not do this the tile slide off and make a huge mess. So, I used my boards as a wedge. Since I had the unfinished edge facing downward the pieces were not even across the bottom and began to slide to be even on that unfinished edge and in some cases to be crooked. Fortunately, I had some small wedges that were used for another project that I was able to stick in the grooves to help hold them up. They worked nicely.
I did the top row later in the evening, so I waited until the next morning to work on the sides. I remeasured the sides, lay out my stone for the sides, remeasured the stone and realized that I needed a half an inch off of one of the tiles. I chose the bottom tile to take this from on each side since I felt it would be the least noticeable.
I cut the bottom stone and began the process of placing them from the bottom up. The top piece on the left just barely didn’t fit. It was the jagged pieces, the uneven finish that was throwing off the measurements and causing the flat side not to squeeze in just right. I took out a metal file and carefully filed away at the side. I was careful not to mess up the facade, but instead wear away at the edge just enough to fit. The right side fit just right.
Voila! Now, I just had to clean up and wait and send my sister a text to see what she thought. She liked it and reminded me that the rustic farmhouse look is in right now.
Time for a beautiful fire in the fireplace. Oh wait, maybe I should wait until the fall when temperatures are no longer in the 90s.