How to Install a Stone Veneer Fireplace

How to Install a Stone Veneer Fireplace

Written by Andrew

June 19, 2020

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(In an effort to bring you the best DIY and How to’s we’ve opened up articles for others to share their experience, this one is all bout how to install a stone veneer fireplace from our friends at Genstone)

The fireplace is a coveted feature in most homes, and it is usually nostalgic for many people. However, if your home’s fireplace is simply set into the wall and not surrounded by brick or stone, or the brick or stone currently on it does not go with the rest of the room, you may be wanting to change that.

Replacing the current brick with new brick can get expensive, and it is not something you can do on your own without a mason. Adding brick to one that is missing it can also be difficult, and also usually requires a mason. Plus, brick and stone can get expensive.

Faux stone and brick veneer is the perfect DIY hack for that. Here, we will take a look at how to add stone and brick veneer to your fireplace, both if you already have brick and if you are adding it to a fireplace that does not have anything surrounding it and needs some dressing up.

You may be wondering if stone veneer can handle being in such close proximity to the heat from a fireplace. It absolutely can! The General Stone products are Class A Fire Rated, so they are capable of withstanding extremely high heat. Therefore, your product should be just fine being right next to your fireplace and touching the chimney. It also combats the spread of the fire and smoke, so if a hot ember manages to escape the fireplace while your back is turned, this has the potential to slow down the spread of the fire and smoke, at least enough to potentially allow you to get out of your home safely.

Tools You Will Need

Before you get started, you will need to gather some tools. This is the list of recommended and optional tools for installing GenStone on any surface, as well as some tools that are for specific surfaces only. It’s a good idea to use a renovation budget template when you are going to to any renovation so you can budget accordingly. 

Recommended tools

 

Optional tools

 

Additional recommended tools for the medium you are applying it to:

Tools for applying to wood

  • 1.625” Non-Corrosive Deck Screws
  • 2.5” Non-Corrosive Deck Screw (for Ledger)

Tools for applying to brick or concrete

  • Tapcon Screws
  • Masonry Screwdriver Bits

Step One: How much do I need?

Before you do anything, you will need to determine how much stone or brick veneer you need for your installation. The formulas for brick and stone do have slight differences to them:

Formula to Measure Stacked Stone

Here is the formula for stacked stone, in a 65′ long by 4’ tall wainscot:

  • 65 x 12 = 780 inches long
  • Each panel provides 41″ of width coverage so 780 / 41 = 19.02 panels
    • Each panel delivers 11″ of height coverage so 19.02 x 4 = 76.08 panels
    • Always add 5% and round up! 76.08 x 1.05 = 80 total panels needed
  • Each ledger provides 42″ of width and 3.5″ of height
    • 780 / 42 = 18.57 ledgers
    • Always add 5% and round up! 18.57 x 1.05 = 20 total ledgers needed
  • For a 90º corner, there are both inside and outside corner panels available. Each one is 18″ of width per row. The corners are the height of two panels stacked. For every 3 corners, subtract one full panel.

Formula to Measure Brick Veneer

Here is the formula for brick veneer, in a 65′ long by 4’ tall wainscot:

  • 65 x 12 = 780 inches long
    • Each panel provides 22.25″ of width coverage so 780 / 22.25 = 35.05 panels
    • Each panel delivers 22.25″ of height coverage so 35.05 x 2 = 70.01 panels
    • Always add 5% and round up! 70.01 x 1.05 = 74 total panels needed
  • Each ledger provides 47″ of width and 3.75″ of height
    • 780 / 47 = 17.42 ledgers
    • Always add 5% and round up! 17.42 x 1.05 = 19 total ledgers needed
  • For a 90º corner, there are both inside and outside corner panels available. Each one is 18″ of width per row. The corners are the height of two panels stacked. For every 3 corners, subtract one full panel.

How to Install a Stone Veneer Fireplace Step 1, measuring

 Step Two: Build  Your Frame

If your fireplace is just set in the wall without being surrounded by brick or stone, this is where you can start getting creative. You can skip to the next step if you are adding the faux stone and brick veneer to an existing decorated fireplace.

You will need wood to build a frame to surround your fireplace. This can be as simple as building a wood frame to surround the fireplace, so you have somewhere to attach your stone or brick veneer to when you reach that step. You can attach it to the wall once it is finished, or you can wait to attach it until after you have attached the stone or brick veneer to it; it depends on if you want to work with a horizontal or vertical surface.

For the mantle itself, you can either use a wood mantle and install the stone and brick veneer around it. Or you may also get a ledger for the mantle, which will look like it belongs with the rest of your set up.

Step Three: Lay Out the Panels

Before you start applying the panels to the wood frame or the fireplace itself, depending on how you are doing it, lay out all of your panels and sort them. This will help you design them in a pattern that looks more natural. After you have laid out your pattern, you can begin measuring everything out.

How to Install a Stone Veneer Fireplace step 3

Step Four: Measuring

There are probably going to be some areas where you need to cut the panels to make them fit properly. Hold the panels up to those spaces, mark the points where you need to cut, and measure them to ensure accuracy.

 

Step Five: Cutting

Once you have measured the panels, it is time to cut them. The best option for cutting smaller pieces is a compound miter saw, but you can use a hand saw or jigsaw if need be. If you are cutting pieces out to make room for an outlet or something similar, you can use a jigsaw, keyhole saw, or a drill hole saw.

How to Install a Stone Veneer Fireplace Step 5

Step Six: Preparing the Surface

Before you begin attaching your panels, make sure the surface you are going to be applying them to is completely clean and dry. For the brick, you may want to sand down some of the more uneven spots to help give you a more even surface to apply the panels to.

Step Seven: Attaching the Panels

The moment has finally arrived, you get to start attaching the panels to your wall!

The first thing to do is to install the corners. First, draw a vertical line on each side of the corner that will be visible when you begin to test fit the corners. You may need to trim the corner piece to make it fit better. Make sure you always keep the positive shiplap edge at the top for this installation.

How to Install a Stone Veneer Fireplace Step 7

Before you install a panel — but after you test fit is — apply a polyurethane safe, premium construction adhesive, preferably PL-200 or PL-300, to the back of the panel, in a 3/8″ bead in an “S” pattern.

Then, use a hammer drill to make a pilot hole where you will be putting each screw. Once that is done, place the panel and attach it with concrete screws — Tapcons — through the positive shiplap edge. You only need to put one screw in each corner of the panel for this kind of installation.

If you are attaching your panels to a wood surface, apply a moisture barrier to protect the wood. Then, use 2.5″ exterior grade deck screws to attach.

How to Install a Stone Veneer Fireplace Step 7.2

Step Eight: Caulking

There is quite a bit of caulking you will need to do for this. Apply caulk to each screw that will be visible. You will also need to apply a thin bead of caulk to both the positive shiplap edges and the finger tabs.

It can take up to two weeks to cure, and during that time, make sure you keep solvents and alcohol away from it.

Step Nine: Touch-ups

After the caulk is cured and dry, you can cover the screws with touch up paint to hide them, along with any other cosmetic damage or exposed foam from cutting.

Step Ten: All Done!

You are finished installing your veneer fireplace surround, and now you can sit back and relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. With the exception of the touch-ups, you can install this in a single weekend, either on your own or with help. Now, you can add your personal touch to the fireplace, putting mementos on your mantle will give it the perfect finishing touch.

If you want your visible exterior chimney to match the veneer you just installed, you can install that next weekend.

 

About the Author

Auz Burger is a freelance writer who specializes in stone and brick veneer, home décor, and DIY projects. She has a BA from Washington State University and has been writing and editing professionally for 10 years. Connect with her on Twitter at @AuzBurger.

 

 

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