Q: We bought a great lakehome on our dream lake, but I am not in love with the brick fireplace. Can we re-rock right over the brick to get a more rustic look? How would we go about that? —
Carole Marie Solomon, Bozeman, Mont.
A: Re-rocking fireplaces is a popular home improvement project, perhaps because it is possible (and fairly easy) to apply the new surface directly over the bricks. You can use real rock for your project, but remember that rock thickness, in addition to making them quite heavy, will make the fireplace stick out that much more. The end result may look odd.
Stone veneer is much thinner, but looks like real rock and weighs a lot less too, so it may be a better option for directly resurfacing your fireplace. Stone veneer can also be applied directly over bricks.
If your fireplace bricks are glazed or painted, Bob Heath, New Business Development Leader for Owens Corning’s Cultured Stone Division, recommends attaching expanded metal lath over the bricks before putting down the ½ to ¾” layer of Portland Cement mortar and veneer. Even lacking glaze or paint, it’s wise, he says, to add a bonding agent to the mortar mix, something you can pick up at most hardware or home improvement stores.