How to build a fireplace mantle/surround (Phase 2 – Fireplace Reveal!)

We have finally finished our fireplace makeover! Hurrah!!! A few weeks ago I posted how we tiled the fireplace (click here). So, let’s start and go over how we built the surround.  We ripped out the wood below the mantle, luckily our mantle was built into the drywall. This may not always be the case so if you are going to do something similar, make sure the mantle was built into the drywall or be prepared to build a support beam. Since the sides have nothing to screw into, take a small block and screw it up into the mantle. Then that will give you something to screw the sides in. Do this to all sides and in the front of the mantle. Of course all sizes and measurements depend on how big your mantle is and how far you want to go out. the width of mine is 4 1/4 inches.

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We used primed wood but the bigger piece wasn’t primed in the size we needed but I had primer on hand, so that wasn’t a big deal. Once the frame of the surround is all on you want to work on your “boxes”. Again, this all depends on what sizes you want.

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We used a brad nail gun to put them in place:

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And Ta-Da! The rest is all cosmetic work! I lightly sanded the pinewood and gave it about two or three coats of primer. Then I used wood filler and put it over all the holes from the brad nail gun. You just take a little and lightly spread it over the hole. Use the spackle knife to get it as flat as you can. It takes about 15 minutes to dry and then when it’s dry, you can sand over it to get it nice and smooth. Then I gave it all a coat of paint (I used swiss coffee).

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And drum roll pplleeeaasseee……………..

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This project was a lot of firsts for us; first make over, my first time tiling…And it doesn’t stop here! We just finished laying pergo floors in the family room and gave this room a huge make over! Stay tuned folks!

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How to tile (Fireplace Makeover – Phase One)

I’m almost too embarrassed to show this picture but there is NO way you can really and truly appreciate the progress so far without seeing the ugliness that was my fireplace. So, here is a before picture when we first saw the house:

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EEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWW. Yeah, you can say it. I’m saying it. This is literally the focal point. Looking like that, it’s more like the focus-on-anything-but-the-focal-point-point. In the meantime, the mantle looked like a very waxy brown. So, I painted it the same color as the trim which we’ve repainted (Swiss Coffee by Behr). The pink marble still looked really gaudy but it was already better.

So, let the tutorial begin. Let me begin this with a little disclaimer. I’ve never tiled before. Ok, so that’s a huge disclaimer. But it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It’s labor intensive and it’s messy but I think I was probably too excited to really care. Also, really really make sure you have everything if you don’t live nearby your local hardware store. Luckily, we’re about 5 minutes from home depot. Which is good because we went four times. We started by taking off the tile and by “we” I mean hubby:

Image Afterwards, my dad and hubby took off the marble. Most of the drywall came off with it:

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Peel off all the drywall so you can start fresh.

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When replacing the drywall make sure it is firegrade drywall. This means it’s 5/8″ thick. It was screwed in with drywall nails.

Image Looks better already, eh? I’m not too sure on how to cut. My dad gave my husband a quick tutorial to using the wet saw and my hubby did all the cutting. We laid all the tiles down first before setting to see how it would fit. My husand laid all the tiles on the front part. You’ll need ceramic tile adhesive and a notched trowl. Spread the adhesive on the location it will be placed and used the jagged edges in that area to create line effects. Repeat the same steps but place the adhesive on the back of the tile. Make sure when you keep placing that you clean out the adhesive in between the tiles because you don’t want it obstructing where the grout will go. Place two spacers on each row (two on the sides and two on the top/bottom). When I tiled the top, it was a bit of a pain because the base was unlevel. So, I used a level for each tile and if it wasn’t level, I would just glob on more adhesive. The adhesive must set for 24 hours before you can grout. Hardest part.

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To lay the grout, you’ll need a grout float. When you wipe it off, go against the direction of the grout line. When wiping off the grout on the smaller tiles, it obviously was easier said than done. So, I just wiped in circles. You’ll have to keep cleaning the water you use to clean the grout too because you’ll just end up using dirty water to clean, which doesn’t really work! The next day the tile was all white and cloudy. It’s normal, just give it a quick wipe down.

Remember the eyesore gold-brass trim? GOODBYE, thanks to spray paint. But you can’t use any spray paint. You need high heat spray paint by RustOleum. Here’s a quick screen shot of some of the materials:

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Click Here for the tile that we used.

Here is our fireplace now:

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We can’t stop looking at it! The best part? We’re not done yet! This weekend, we’ll be building a box surround and next month I want to make some built-ins on the awkward left side of the fireplace. See that little peak of my rug? I just got it today! Got a groupon and was a bit hesitant to get such a bold pattern but my mom, who is always pushing me to be more bold, and thankfully so. It was love at first sight. I think I may even sleep on it tonight. I kid, I kid…or do I??? At the end of the month we’ll be laying some pergo flooring down so make sure you stop by again soon for that and how we came along with building the box surround!