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For Dan and Sarah Beaulieu, the husband and wife team Carpentry and design company. The heart of the home isn’t the kitchen – it’s the stove. Before settling into their newly built home in Minnesota, the couple decided to take the living room stove into their own hands. “I really wanted an organic, textured feel for the fireplace,” Sarah shares. “Dan and I started researching plaster, but eventually realized it wasn’t in our budget. Then we came up with the concept of a DIY concrete fireplace a look. “
Call it what you want – faux concrete, concrete-inspired, concrete – the imitation treatment was appealing for a very good reason: real concrete The price. “Usually the way you get a concrete fireplace is to shape the chimney and chimney from scratch,” Dan explains. “That’s definitely something you’d see in a $2 million to $3 million home.” Using Ardex Feather Finish, a self-drying cement-based mixture, Pollios pulled out a DIY concrete fireplace for just $236. Ahead, the pair guides us through a budget-friendly fireplace hack, step-by-step.
Step 1: Be up close and personal
Since Pollios had no drywall or shelf to work with, they went straight to Durock – cement boards that are also typically used as backing for tile or stone. They screwed each board into the wood frame with cement board screws and added corner bead to keep edges and seams sharp and clean. “There are some licenses you have to follow, depending on the type of heater,” Dunn says. “The nice part is that Durock is considered flame-resistant, so most city and state symbols will let you go straight to the stove.”
Step 2: Draw the line
In order to get a smooth finish before skimming paint, you’ll have to glue the joints with masking tape and clay as you would drywall. Using the Ardex Feather Finish mix, take a trowel and fill in the seams between the adjacent Durock sheets. Smooth the compound as you go. While the mixture is still damp, use Sheetrock tape to cover the mixture to keep it in place. Apply another layer of cement to the tape.
The most time consuming part of this process is waiting for the initial joint coats to dry. “It basically took a day to attach all the sheets, and in our case, we also used metal trim around the heater to give a nice finish where the sheets end up,” Dunn says. “Let that dry overnight, and then you can start doing the entire skim coat.”
Step 3: Skim Coat, But Quick
This is the part where you can summon the artist in you. However, you won’t want to spend a lot of time meditating while you’re working on the roof. “The Ardex Feather Finish has a so-called 15-minute action time. Mix as much as you can use in 15 to 20 minutes and start to coat it,” says Dan. If you make your mixture in a bucket and go away to lunch, the compound will be solid when you return. “You have to keep up with the process fairly quickly,” Sarah says. “There are no coffee breaks in between.”
Apply the cement mixture to the surface of the heater with the trowel. How many coats you apply is really up to you and the look you go for. If you decide you don’t like the texture of the area that’s starting to dry out, come back to it later and touch it up. “It’s like you’re making art,” she adds.
Step 4: Smooth it out
This part is optional. If you prefer a more elegant finish over grout, Dunn suggests keeping a sponge and bucket on hand. “There are two ways to do this. If you want it really soft, apply it and then take a wet sponge and wipe it gently. [the surface]. It gives it a softer feel, he says. Polius ended up doing a little bit of both. Since the material sticks to the wall really well, you can play around with the installation. “I think one thing we wanted to do in this house was give it a natural look,” Sarah explains. “Our plan is to always try to DIY and make our projects look as upscale and professional as possible. We feel like we really did it.”
This story was originally published in June 2019, and has since been updated.
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