Living Stone Fireplace
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Although there are many different types of fireplaces, you can never go wrong with one made of stone. For one thing, a stone fireplace will never go out of style. They work well with any type architecture and d�cor. For example, if you want something that looks rustic and country, then manmade stones are an excellent choice. However, if you prefer something sophisticated and elegant, you can use polished or synthetic stone.

To build your own stone fireplace, you will first need to lay the pattern out so you can see if it is what you want and what will fit for your fireplace. Be sure the lines both vertically and horizontally are kept to a minimum so a natural and random pattern can be created. Next, you will place a metal lath right on top of the brick fireplace so the mortar has something of which to adhere.

The lath will then be tacked into place using two-inch fluted masonry nails that have washers. The best option is to use a hammer rather than a screwdriver. While this can be somewhat tricky to do, it will hold better. Just remember to wear your safety goggles in that small pieces of stone could fly out away from the fireplace.

Now, with wire cutters, the excess lath will be trimmed and then discarded. For the next step, the masonry mortar will be mix according to the manufacturer�s instructions. An important note is to make sure the mortar has sand in it and if not, add some. After the mortar has sat for a few minutes, it will begin to harden.

Using a notched trowel, start by applying a scratch coat of the mortar right on top of the lath. This helps provide a rough surface so the stone will stick. Additionally, you want to be sure that the mortar be pushed in and through the small holes of the lath. Once done, let the scratch coat dry for a minimum of 24 hours.

The stone will now be applied from the corners, working the mortar in. To help the stones stick, you will need to apply mortar directly to the backside of the stone, treating it as though you were buttering a slice of bread. The pieces of stone will then be applied onto the dry mortar, ensuring that all the pieces of the fireplace have been covered.

Then to complete the hearth, you will need to apply additional mortar, going in between the stones so there is more strength. In fact, if needed, you can use your hands to push the mortar down in between the cracks. Once done, take a damp cloth and wipe it over the hearth to remove any excess mortar. Finally, the top of the firebox will be bridged with stone along with wooden supports to help hold the stone into place until it dries.
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