DIY Network

How to Install Flooring Around a Fireplace

DIY Network host Paul Ryan and a floor installer show how to give a fireplace a new look.

More in Floors

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  • Time

    Weekend

  • Price Range

    $1,000 - $2,500

  • Difficulty

    Hard

Highlights:

Step 1: Put Tape on the Board

Note: Installing a floor can be difficult if there's a fireplace in the living room. In this case, a floor has to be custom fit.

Right next to a fireplace there could be some in-floor heating wires that stick up from the subfloor and a curved hearth of the fireplace to contend with (Image 1).

Mark the underside of the board where the wires hit and put tape on top of the board to show where to make the cut (Image 2).

Step 2: Cut the Thickness Away

Using a dado blade on the table saw, cut some of the thickness away. The other trick is to make a number of shallow passes, so be sure to raise the blade about an 1/8" for each pass. Hold the square edge of the board against the guide and push with even pressure. If the cut is wider than the dado blade, make additional passes. Lay the dadoed strip of wood over the wires and connect. Be sure to avoid the wires when nailing the hardwood.

Step 3: Lay Cork Around the Fireplace Base

To install the flooring around a curved fireplace hearth, lay a strip of cork around the perimeter of the brick base of the fireplace. This will fill space yet still allow the floor to expand and contract.

install flooring around curved fireplace

Step 4: Mark the Boards to Cut

To cut the boards to fit the arc of the brick, double the height of the cork and then lay in another board up to the cork. When you get the space fit in as close as possible, take a small scrap of flooring, hold it against the cork and hold a marker on the inside edge. Slide the board around the arc and cork and all the boards are now marked to cut (You're using the cork as a guide to scribe).

mark the boards to cut

Step 5: Cut the Boards

Cut the boards using a band saw because it's easier to cut curved cuts. When using a band saw, set the guide as close to the work as possible. This will prevent the blade from flexing and binding. Work slowly and maintain blade speed.

Step 6: Fit the Boards

Slide the boards back in place and they should fit the arc perfectly.

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Resources

  • Cabinet lift (Gil-Lift) from Telpro Inc.
  • Radiant floor heating system (STEP Warmfloor) from Electro Plastics Inc.

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