I am so excited to share the rest of my story on building a fireplace surround for our fireplace. As mentioned in an earlier post, I purchased an electric, wall-mount fireplace and installed it many months ago. I have been procrastinating for so long that I finally felt guilty enough to just get it done. Plus, the holidays were just around the corner and it would be so nice to have a beautiful, completed, fireplace wall to hang Christmas stockings on.
Sooooooooooooo……..here we go!
After building the frame and attaching Hardiebacker cement board (see previous post), I sponged water onto the Hardiebacker a few times to make sure the Hardiebacker wouldn’t suck the water out of the mortar before it got a chance to cure to full strength. As this was my first time using Hardiebacker, I was really surprised how much water it soaked up, and made me realize how important that step was. Immediately after that, I began applying mortar to the wall and back-buttering each tile, applying to the wall as I went. It went pretty quickly after I got the hang of it. I had previously cut all of the pieces which made the application MUCH smoother. I cut around the outlets for the tv once I got to that row.
I also took extra mortar and applied it between any cracks that didn’t look natural. The tiles got a little out of alignment in a couple places and there were larger-than-my-OCD-can-handle gaps, so I simply applied mortar using a plastic sandwich bag. If you’ve ever piped frosting onto a cake, this is exactly the same but with less perfection. I just filled the little bag with mortar and cut the tip off one of the bag corners and voila! DIY Mortar gap applicator!
The next day, I installed the baseboards and patched around them. I SHOULD have traced the baseboard to the edges of the ledge rock but I didn’t. I applied a very thick layer of spackle for the initial application and waited 24 hours for it to dry. It needed 2 more coats of spackle before it was ready for caulk and paint. I always sand between coats too. When all is said and done, you won’t be able to tell that is wood and what is spackle, which is what makes spackle so amazing!
I use 3M Spackle & Primer because it is super easy to sand, dries hard, dries in less than 30 minutes, and is specialized for drywall. It also happens to be a rockstar on painted trim! I prefer to wait 24 hours to sand and reapply after the initial application because I want to make sure it is completely dry.
I also installed a tv mount for our flat screen television. I drilled through the rock and into a stud for maximum support. My amazing husband helped me place the tv onto the mount.
Although I really dislike tiling, this is a damn sweet wall. Now I need to figure out how to hang Christmas stockings on it…….and what is my next project?!