The first thing I did for our stone hearth is ensure I had the Right cement, that is one made specifically for the heat of the fire. In France this is called mortier réfractaire.
Mine was ready to use after adding water.
As we were re-using stone from the old, raised fireplace I laid these out in the hearth area. It’s important to note the biggest stone, in terms of depth, in a project like this. This will have the least amount of cement underneath it and others will need additional cement to level them off. Obviously if your hearth material is of equal depth then this isn’t something you need to consider.
After noting the biggest stone I then put a little piece of masking tape on it and then numbered it 1, then continued doing the same thing with other stones going along the back row to the front sequentially.
When I’d finished I had another good look and realised that where on of the stones would be placed was raised slightly making this the highest stone. I then changed the notes around prior to writing on the stones themselves with marker when I was satisfied it was right.
I took a picture prior to removing the stones so I had a reference point for how they were arranged – which direction they faced, areas I needed to be careful of etc.
Then I moved the stones to the side and swept the area.
Laying the first one was a case of putting some down with a trowel and then wetting the back of the first stone before placing it. I used a spray bottle to reduce mess, but really doused the stone in water.
The second stone was a bit harder and, despite using a lot of cement, I couldn’t seem to get the two stones even. I’m a little frustrated by that, but the bigger stones are to the exterior so shouldn’t cause too much of a problem. I finished the row at the back and had to stop – I’d bought two 5kg bags of cement and they only covered two large stones per bag. I ordered 4 more bags for the next two rows through Amazon prime as we’re in lockdown and the larger Brico stores are outside our zone. I have to say though, the original bags were significantly less expensive at Bricocash.
When the original hearth was removed it resulted in a difference in floor level, so I ended up having to level this out with the cement prior to laying the next stone in some places….
and in other places I used the cement unevenly when I had stones that weren’t flat underneath and seemed to narrow to half the depth in some places…
As I worked I took extra cement and worked it into the sides and corners of the tiles, smoothing it out as best as possible….
So this section of the hearth is finished. I’m planning on creating a border with patterned tiles and wood next. The four more bags of cement I ordered via Amazon finished this section, so I’m awaiting some more to complete that task. Role on Friday!