How to Install a Stone Hearth and Fireplace Surround

Give your fireplace a whole new look with a stone hearth and fireplace surround.

©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

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

Installing a Stone Surround

Because of the weight of a stone surround, it needs to be broken down into more sections than a wooden surround, which in turn means that assembly involves joining these sections together. Hearths are likely to come in a number of pieces, as are the mantel and back panel. In the example above, a typical stone fireplace surround is shown but the order of work may need modification according to the particular design you have chosen. Some manufacturers sell standard sizes and styles of stone surrounds, but more often they are custom-built. The components are very heavy, so you will need help with installation.

Lay Mortar for Hearth

Mark out the exact position of the hearth and lay a 3/4-inch-thick bed of slab mortar. Roughen the surface with the trowel.

Position Hearth

Position the slabs that make up the hearth. Adjust the mortar until the slabs are precisely level. Grout the slabs with mortar.

Position Legs

Ensure the legs are level. Mark the layout points of the corner braces on the wall and upright the fasteners. Remove the legs and drill pilot holes.

Install Legs

Spread a thin bed of mortar underneath the legs. Reposition them and screw them into place.

Apply Mortar for Mantle

Apply a thin layer of mortar to the tops of the legs.

Install Mantle

Place the mantel and check that it is level. You will need help to lift it. Screw the corner braces into the wall.

Install Mantel Shelf

Place the mantel shelf and mark the position of the bolts. Drill holes at the marked points. Fill them with resin, then reposition the shelf.

Remove Excess Mortar

Clean up all the joints in the hearth and surround with a pointing trowel, then clean any excess mortar from the stone faces.

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.