Your fireplace provides you with warmth and ensures that you and your family can stay comfortably. You can build other enhancements around the same structure to ensure that you are more comfortable, safer, and spending energy wisely after installing it. When you learn how to build a hearth for an electric fireplace, you get to add safety to your fireplace and ensure that it is comfortable for you to work with.
Once you know how to build a hearth for an electric fireplace, you will be able to make your home decor more enhanced. Your home will appear more attractive and appealing in addition to giving it a look that people will instantly recognize and fall in love with. The important things to note should be the process for installing the hearth and the different types of hearths that are available. This way, you know precisely which type of hearth to install on your fireplace and what materials are required for the entire setup.
In this post, you will learn:
- What hearth is and how it applies to an electric fireplace
- The process of building a hearth for an electric fireplace
- Materials required to build the hearth
- Different types of hearth
- Things to note when building the electric fireplace hearth
A fireplace hearth is the floor area within a fireplace. It is constructed out of fireproof materials like brick or stone. The hearths are usually designed to prevent sparks from leaving the fireplace and lighting up nearby combustible substances. The hearths are available in varied thicknesses and sizes depending on the fireplace’s size and other requirements. They are supposed to be large and thick enough to prevent a fire from spreading, which means that careful attention needs to be paid to their design and construction process. If you were preparing to build a hearth for a gas fireplace, you would need to have a different set of tools as compared to when you are building the fireplace to adorn an existing electric fireplace.
For an electric fireplace, the hearth ensures that anyone close to the fireplace does not get exposed to any dangers or threats of fire. They may also be more comfortable sitting close to the fireplace without worrying about anything happening to them. The hearth maintains the spread of the heat without losing any warmth in the process. The hearth also acts as a form of decoration for the electric fireplace and massively upgrades its appearance. Anyone that looks at a well-decorated electric fireplace will be sure to appreciate a matching hearth that completes the look and ensures that the fireplace itself does not look or feel too exposed.
How to Build a Hearth for an Electric Fireplace
Typically, each fireplace hearth is composed of one type of material. The most commonly found materials that are used as hearths include:
- Ceramic Tiles
- Quarry Tiles
Limestone is one of the most affordable materials for building materials for a hearth. However, it cannot be used with a wood-burning fireplace but works best with gas or electric fireplaces. A wood fire is considered to be too intense and may crack the stone. There are also limited color options as the material is only available in shades of gray, white or tan.
Slate is available in more colors than limestone and it works best for electric and gas fireplaces. The material can last for years and is a preferred choice for building the electric fireplace hearth.
Marble is formed from marble but happens to have higher heat resistance. It can handle all kinds of fireplaces and has a durability feature that many desire.
Soapstone is a dense rock made from high pressure and high heat. It has limited color options but does have high heat resistance.
Granite can handle wood-burning fires, is durable and affordable. It is also known to be one of the very commonly used hearth materials and is available in many patterns and colors.
A ceramic hearth is strong enough to handle gas, electric, and wood-burning fireplaces. You can choose any color, pattern, or finish.
Height of the Hearth
Something that you should pay attention to is the height of the hearth. Some fireplaces are located on the floor, while others have been raised for a better visual appearance. The choice comes down to your personal preference. A flush hearth is on the floor level, while a raised hearth is at the seat height. The flush hearth will cost less in terms of materials needed to construct it and take up less floor space. It also provides you with more room for furniture but can present a hazard for kids.
Raised hearths are built off the floor and allow family and friends to sit comfortably near the fire. They are also more difficult for pets and kids to access and, therefore, much safer. Their height makes them a better point of attraction for the home but installing them is more costly. You will need more materials and space to make a hearth that is at sitting height.
Important Hearth Regulations
Your home safety is the foremost priority when it comes to your hearth, and you should ensure that safety rules and regulations are followed and adhered to.
To start with, cover the space in front of the fireplace using a non-combustible covering. The manufacturer of the fireplace determines the size of the extension that is needed. If the fireplace’s opening is smaller than 6 sq. ft., the extension must extend at least 8 inches to each side and 16 inches to the opening’s front. In case the opening is greater than 6 sq. ft., the extension must be at a minimum of 12 inches on the sides and 20 inches at the front. It would be best if you also had an extension that is easy to distinguish from the fireplace and the rest of the floor. Following these rules and regulations will ensure that you have adhered to all the safety requirements and have a safe hearth for your fireplace.
As you learn how to build a hearth for an electric fireplace, you need to know what materials you will be using. This will help the payment plans and financing, and your electric fireplace makeover will be a success in addition to being within budget. If you do not know what tools to use for the DIY project, you will tend to take longer with each procedure, and the home improvement will be more expensive. Your electric fireplace will require that you gather the following tools to make upgrades and remodel its front appearance.
- Circular Saw
- Plastic Mixing Tub
- Safety Glasses
Your home improvement project will also require several materials that will be employed in the step by step upgrade process. This will include:
- Mortar mix
- 190 pieces of 2.5” thick red clay bricks
- A 2” metal support bar
The materials and the tools are available in your local home depot, but you can also do some research on Amazon to determine which suppliers have the best offers on price. By reading through some of the reviews, you can easily tell which tools are of high quality, and as such, you get to make the best decision and gather the most effective arsenal for your installation process. The tools are very different from what you would expect to use with a wood burning fireplace as this scenario works with an electric fireplace and makes use of tools that are light enough and easy to work with for the installation.
Measurements are also vital for the undertaking and ensure that the fireplace makeover is successful. In this tutorial, we specify some of the measurements you will require for the hearth to fit the firebox comfortably. You will need to first know the fireplace measurements in square feet before the remodeling to fit the hearth according to the safety regulations and manufacturer specifications. For instance, a modern farmhouse will be better off with larger measurements as its fireplace tends to be larger and occupies greater space. A shiplap fireplace surround will also need a different set of measurements, and you should factor this in your building steps.
- The brick fireplace-surround will be 76.5″” wide, 4″” deep, and 50″” tall.
- The brick fireplace hearth can be 76.5″” wide, 5.5″” tall, and 21″” deep
- The floor to ceiling can measure 9’
Step One: Moving the Electric Fireplace Insert
First, remove the current fireplace surround from the wall and cut the drywall open to raise the electric fireplace insert. With the wall open, reconstruct the fireplace insert framing 6″ higher to provide the clearance that you will use to raise the heath by a total of two bricks and the mortar in between. It would be best to disconnect the cables before moving the insert and connected back again once finished. Once you have installed the electric fireplace insert in a new place, you can now cover the framing using the new drywall.
This is one of the critical tutorial steps before setting up your hearth and ensuring that you have prepared everything needed for the installation. Removing the fireplace insert allows you to raise it to a level where it will still provide heat to the occupants of the room but not hidden or buried underneath the bricks. Your fireplace insert must be positioned correctly to provide heat to the rest of the room and be easily accessible.
Step Two: Cut Half Size Bricks
You will be required to have half-sized bricks throughout the project to develop a brick pattern of your choice. This is where the circular saw that was listed with the tools will be used. You will need to create a broken line across the brick’s top center to weaken it, then snap it in half by tapping on it with a hammer. The process might cost you a few bricks, but once you have gotten used to the patterns, you will be able to make much more halves that you will use for the hearth construction process.
Ensure that you estimate the number of bricks that you will require in your project, including those that will be at the front of the fireplace. The type of fireplace hearth will factor into this equation, and flush fireplaces require fewer bricks than the raised fireplaces. Depending on the type of fireplace-hearth that you intend to install in your home, ensure that you prepare a matching number of bricks. This will ensure that you have an adequate number to work with, and you will not be forced to get more caulk or bricks while you are still in the middle of the installation process. You will also save more bricks when you have a correct estimate, as this will ensure that you do not half more bricks than you are needed to have for your home décor upgrade.
Step Three: Measure and Stencil in Horizontal Guide Lines on the Wall
To simplify your brick-laying process, you should stencil horizontal lines across the wall. The marks should be at the height that each brick would need to remain straight and level from one edge to the other. The bricks are usually 2.5″ tall, and your lines can be marked as 3″ apart. This way, you get to have enough space for the bricks and an allowance for the mortar as you lay the bricks. After each layer, you will have lined up your bricks with the next line, and you are then able to install the bricks correctly without getting out of line or breaking the pattern that you intend to achieve with the arrangement.
Guidelines are significant for this step in the installation process as they ensure that you can complete the procedure more accurately. In terms of achieving the correct visual effect, you will be able to make the correct visual impression on anyone that looks at your fireplace-hearth. It also ensures that your budget of bricks is used correctly, and you do not get to spend more than you had intended owing to the lack of a guideline in the installation. The guidelines also ensure that the rest of the installation process is well guided, and you install the bricks according to the measurements you had taken. With this in mind, you will notice that the electric fireplace hearth’s gradual appearance starts to take shape even without the bricks having been installed. It will help if you take measurements as you mark out the stencils’ points as this will ensure that you have accurate measurements, and all the angles and trigonometric details are properly taken care of.
Step Four: Mix the Mortar
Once you have your guidelines carefully measured out and stenciled in place, you will be required to prepare your mortar. Mortar is often messy, and you should be very careful while mixing it. Ensure that you maintain the mortar at the right consistency throughout the process. Ensure that the room you are working in has a temperature of between 50 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit when mixing the mortar.
You will be using the tab listed in the tools you will require for this process, and it has to be wet before you mix the mortar and the water. Begin by adding half the water needed for the mortar mix into the tub, followed by the sand and cement mixture. With the help of your trowel, mix this vigorously and keep your senses peeled for the resulting consistency. The result should be a thick yet shapeable mix and similar to the wet sand that you can use in the construction of a sandcastle at the beach.
As you continue mixing the mortar, you can test for its consistency by snapping the trowel gently downwards. The mortar is of the correct consistency when it hands on the trowel without sliding off unless you snap it. This shows that the mortar is of the correct thickness. The process is usually full of trials and many errors, but practice ensures that you get it right. The reason for putting all this effort into making the correct consistency of mortar is to lay the bricks correctly. If we are to achieve the correct visual impression with our installation, we might as well be willing to work into the better mortar for the job. Have some water on stand-by to wet your mortar if it gets dry as you are using it and spray to maintain the mortar’s wetness.
Step Five: Brick-lay the fireplace-surround
This is one of the very tedious processes that you will be required to take part in and requires practice and patience. You can practice with a bit of mortar and the broken pieces of bricks before starting work on the fireplace-hearth. This will make you more familiar with the process and boost your confidence in handling the mortar to achieve the correct effect.
To lay your bricks, you will need to prepare the first heap of mortar on the floor. This will act as the base for the first layer and should be spread out from the center to ensure that the mortar moves to the brick’s outer edges when it is being laid or arranged. Once the first layer has been arranged, add mortar at the top and place the other bricks layer. Be sure to squeeze the bricks close to one another to ensure a close fit and ensure they are all tightly in place. Your pattern will be sure to build up as you move the bricks next to one another. You should ensure that you have an even and level amount of mortar under them and between them with the horizontal stencil mark you had made earlier acting as the guide for this important step in installing the electric fireplace hearth.
Naturally, the mortar will spread out and touch the wall, and you can also add mortar to the back of the bricks if you notice obvious gaps. This makes your brick seem flush with the wall without a gap or space between which makes it structurally sound. It will also act as a support that will hold the bricks to the wall and appear like a joined structure. This is important as it enhances the appearance and makes the structure firm and strong enough to hold your entertainment center, photo idea gallery, or other decorations at the top. A strong hearth is required for your home. It keeps everything holding together and supporting the additional structures you intend to have in your electric fireplace, such as the mantel, comfortably.
The bricklaying process is a crucial step to achieving this and you should be careful and cautious as you undertake it. It will ensure that you have the best home makeover and keep your result appealing and visually attractive to anyone who visits you. Your electric fireplace is the centerpiece and focal point of the dining room. A DIY Faux fireplace should spell out coziness due to the level of detail given to the supporting structure and the hearth.
Step Six: Brick over the Fireplace Insert Opening
To brick over the fireplace insert, use the metal 2″ wide support bar and place it across the top of the fireplace opening. With the level’s help, ensure that it is perfectly level and place a support under the metal to hold it in place. you will use your support bar to hold the bricks at the top, and the steps will be the same as above. Lay the mortar and the brick across the fireplace insert opening. Ensure that the first layer on top of the metal support is the mortar to comfortably and safely support the bricks above it when it has finally hardened.
Keep laying the bricks until you have reached your top guideline at the position where your wood beam mantel is going to be installed. When the mortar has dried up and set successfully, you can remove the metal support. This step is crucial and prepares a place that will hold the weights supported by the top of the fireplace. It also creates a partition that marks the difference between the fireplace’s end and the beginning of the fireplace mantel. A baseboard can also act as the support for your other items that you will place across the fireplace top, and you can use wood glue to get it fixed in the position you deem fit. A bit of woodworking skill will help this particular scenario as installing the baseboard requires accurate measurements and attention to detail.
Step Seven: Lay the Brick Hearth
With the same DIY steps as you have used above, arrange out the bricks in front of the electric fireplace to create your hearth. You can opt for four bricks deep and two bricks high to create your hearth. You are also required to pay close attention while paying these bricks to create a flat level. The number of bricklayers will depend on whether you are creating a flush hearth or a raised hearth with the raised hearth, using additional bricks as it tends to be raised above the opening level of the fireplace. In comparison, the flush fireplace-hearth will use up a lower number of bricks as it will only need to be at the same level as the opening level of the fireplace. Once this is done, you can allow for your mortar to cure for the next 48 to 72 hours. This should be at a temperature of between 50 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your DIY fireplace-hearth will require attention to detail and liberal use of mortar to ensure that everything can hold together without leaving any gap or glaring inconsistency. For instance, you should lay out the pattern in a way that makes it possible for anyone looking at the fireplace to have something to fascinate their imagination. You will be hurdled in front of the fireplace with your family very soon, and those wandering minds should have something that will register unconsciously into their thoughts and give them something to think about as they get warmed by the electric fireplace.
The mortar used in laying the brick hearth should also be used wisely and not wasted in any way. The mortar in between the vertical bricks, for instance, should be able to fill out space in between the bricks smoothly and evenly. This is meant to ensure that the result is bricks that are evenly arranged and mortar that holds them without being excessive in its application. Your DIY hearth will appear more appealing when it has just enough mortar and not a bit more.
Step Eight: Fill in the Holes and Gaps with Mortar
DIY projects usually conclude with a thorough quality check to ensure that any work deformities are corrected. As a DIYer, there could be plenty of places between the caulk or bricks that did not get enough mortar. This could have led to huge openings in the spaces where you should have filled the mortar. However, this step does not require that you mix up more mortar. The easier alternative is to use a mortar tube and squeeze it into the areas that require filing in. Be sure to fill as much as you can in the holes, craters, and gaps, then scrape away all the excess mortar for a clean result.
Once you have gone through the steps that have been detailed above, you will already have gone through a significant portion of the steps necessary to install your fireplace hearth and ensure that all the pieces are in place. The procedure is typically like filling a puzzle, except you have to measure and cut out each of the pieces by yourself. Appearances are an important part of the hearth and as you put it in place, ensure that you measure out and mark all the important sections of the set-up. This will ensure that you get a precise installation and nothing goes out of place or alignment as you proceed with the installation.
You should also be ready to wipe some of the excess mortar from the bricks’ edges and surfaces if you are to achieve an appealing look in the end. Take the time to go through your work and edit out any details that you feel are not adding value to the fireplace-hearth. Also, ensure that your measurements are in line with the regulations and safety requirements that have been set aside by the fire authority and enforce this while you are measuring out and stenciling the lines for the bricks to be arranged. The measurements that have been recommended by the fire and safety authority should not be ignored as you stencil out the space to be taken up by the bricks.
The final touches are the most important aspect of setting up the electric fireplace hearth as they ensure that nothing is out of place or weird looking. It also ensures that your hearth is comfortably fitted to align with the rest of the structure, and you do not need to do any other maintenance runs once you are through with this procedure. It is important and should not be ignored or overlooked as it can mean the difference between an excellent work of art or masonry and something that will require revision and redoing. You should be able to make an impression that will have a long-lasting effect on anyone that looks at your hearth, and with the power of bricks, you have at your disposal the ink required to paint the best shiplap fireplace surround for your friends and family members. Take your time and pay attention to all the tiny details as these are known to reveal some deep-hidden secrets about the nature of your electric fireplace.
An electric fireplace is known to provide warmth to any home in addition to bringing ambiance to the place. You can upgrade a stone fireplace with a full tutorial to guide you and make it look even more appealing. Whether in your master bedroom or your living room, the fireplace is a focal point in the home’s overall appearance. It ensures coziness is achieved, and a real fireplace always works better with a hearth. A hearth is a structure that is built around the fireplace and acts as a support for the fireplace, protecting the rest of the living room from events of fire and ensuring that the fireplace-surround is thick enough to prevent combustion.
A faux brick fireplace hearth is the ultimate fireplace makeover as it enhances the look of the firebox and involves tools that are easily obtained from Amazon. With a DIY tutorial for the makeover, you will find the built-in electric fireplace insert to be easy to work with. It serves as a great flame gallery, and with a few changes, it can be made more prominent in appearance. It serves to show how MagikFlame is built and serves to extend and enhance the MagikFlame story. By reading different MagikFlame reviews, you will be in a better position to decide whether or not you will require to have a hearth. This is the ultimate MagikFlame electric fireplace buying guide with details to guide your purchase and decision process. More information about MagikFlame and its electric fireplaces can be found here.