How to Install a Marble Hearth and Wooden Fireplace Surround

Follow these steps to update your fireplace with a marble hearth and wooden surround.
From:

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Surround Kits

This type of surround is normally sold in kit form. Manufacturers generally offer a range of mantel shelves, back panels and hearths, so you can choose which combination you prefer. If you are replacing an existing surround for a working fire, check that the new fire surround is compatible with the fire type. Some surrounds are designed for ornamental use and may not be heat-resistant. Building regulations state that fire surrounds for working fires need a superimposed, or outer hearth, which is at least 2 inches thick, and extends at least 1 foot from the front of the fire. Before purchasing a new fire surround, check the dimensions of your opening and make sure new items will fit. Depending on the fireplace type you have, the inner hearth may also need to be built up to bring it to the same level as the outer hearth that you have installed.

Apply Mortar to Hearth

Apply a thin bed of white mortar to the constructional hearth. Position the marble hearth and check to be sure it is central and level.

Apply Mortar to Legs

Apply white mortar to the legs. An adhesive spreader is the ideal tool to texture the surface of the mortar to increase grip. Lay a drop cloth to protect the hearth.

Position Legs

Position the upright, using a level to get it plumb. Don’t worry about getting mortar on the wall—it will be covered by the surround—but make sure you keep the marble clean. Check that the two legs are level, then allow the mortar to set.

Apply Mortar to Top Panel

Spread white mortar across the top panel and place it by resting it on the legs to get the bottom edge level before pressing it into the wall.

Mark Position of Mantelpiece

Position the mantelpiece and mark the fastener points. An option is to draw around the brackets, then cut notches in the wall surface for them.

Install Mantelpiece

Remove the surround. Drill pilot holes in the wall at the marked off points. Reposition the mantelpiece and screw it in place.

Fill Gaps

Carefully fill any gaps between the surround and the fireplace using fire cement.

Building Regulations

Regulations govern the construction of masonry and factory-built fireplaces and chimneys, so seek professional advice if you are unsure of any installation. The construction or installation of a new fireplace, as well as the reconstruction of an existing fireplace, will need to be inspected by the local building safety department. The installation of a gas-fired appliance must also be inspected for compliance with the applicable codes. For both factory-built and custom fireplaces, it is important to provide an exterior air supply to ensure proper fuel combustion.