A stone fireplace is one of the most classic designs, but with the charm comes challenge. Installing a stone fireplace requires more work because you'll need to remove some or all of the existing bricks or stones. But make sure to remove only the bricks and stones you need to remove so you don't threaten the foundation.
Consulting with a home improvement professional can help you gauge the difficulty level of your particular fireplace. It may be best to hire a professional because stoneware can be easily damaged. But if you're determined to tackle it alone, here's what you need to do.
First, take off all existing trim around the fireplace, as well as the doors. And once you've determined that you have enough stones in the right color, shape and size to complement your existing fireplace, lay them out like a puzzle on the floor. Mix your mortar, making sure it's not too wet or too dry.
Before attaching the stones, apply a weatherproofing layer to protect the wood and wall from moisture. Mantel stones come in 19-inch (48 cm) and 20-inch (51 cm) sizes, so cut them down if necessary, and gently work the stones into place. If your mortar gets to dry, mist it with bit of water and continue layering the mortar and stone until you have the mantel you always wanted.
For some specific tips on installation, check out the next page.