Monday, December 24, 2012

Fireplace, continued

More than a year ago, Steve and I decided to upgrade our fireplace, from a drafty, wood-burning hole into something more beautiful and functional. Most of that long, drawn-out story is here.

With one thing and another, we've been a little lazy busy, but we finally decided to take the final steps necessary to bring our fireplace up to code, so we could light a fire. Frankly, I would've been embarrassed if we hadn't been able to light a fire this Christmas.

That final step involved extending the non-flammable flooring a further distance from the front of the insert's doors. We had several choices:

1. A hearth extension
This would sit on top of the hardwood floor.
They do not come in widths to match our overall hearth.

2. Lay tile on top of the existing hardwood

Neither Steve nor I liked this idea, as it would have looked like an afterthought and would have been a tripping hazard. (The woodstove itself gets quite hot. I wouldn't want someone to trip on the raised tiles and put his hand out to stop the fall, only to be burned when the hand lands on the stove.)

3. Carefully rip out the hardwood and install a decorative, coordinated tile inlay.

That would make the whole thing look more integrated and planned, but it would also be a LOT more work. Needless to say, this is the option we chose, though that first option sure looked sweet at times.

So now you know why we procrastinated. Part of the difficulty was in choosing the tile. At one point, we considered using faux-wood ceramic, so that it would really blend in with the hardwood. But I'm happy with the treatment we settled on: a field of tan tiles that match the stone used on the hearth and mantel, ornamented with mosaic insets that bring in the colours of the wood grain and the stones.

The toolbox is a reflection.
As you can see, we need to replace a good bit of mortar beneath the bricks.

There was not a lot of tile to lay, and it went quite quickly, especially as there was no need to cut any tiles. I was however, just a tad obsessive about lining up those seems. I joked to Steve that I was trying to do it so that it would meet our friend Paul's inspection. You can't tell, unless you look closely (Paul), but I haven't done the grout yet.

Still, we felt sufficiently close to fire code that we could crank her up. The instructions specified that we had to start with a very low fire.

After the short-lived fire died down, Elly investigated.
She was fascinated by the scents coming from beneath the bricks.
But in this picture you can also see something else.

Here's a closer look.
A crack. Dang.
The larger circled area shows the crack, which appears to go all the way through the stone. It was not there when it was installed -- I went back and checked earlier photos. It's not large or extremely noticeable; we didn't even notice it while we were working on the tile yesterday.

The smaller circle shows a slightly offset linear depression that appears to have been filled with same-coloured putty. That is to say, it was likely there at the time of installation. (Steve and I have not done anything to the hearth.)

So it looks like I will have to contact the manufacturer. The installation company had not dealt with this manufacturer before and was very hesitant to offer the product, but I was sold on the colour and texture (it really is very stonelike). I believe that we agreed that the installer would not be held responsible for any product defects, but that does not absolve the manufacturer.

Yay! I get to talk to customer service! Isn't that everyone's favourite thing to do?

But I won't end on a sad note! I am absolutely delighted with the fireplace. I really like how the tiling turned out and am especially pleased to have it all in working order by Christmas.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What did you think? Any comments?

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...