• In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows how to beautify an old, ugly brick fireplace.

    1. Remove the protruding brick corbelling from the face of the fireplace using a masonry hammer and cold chisel.
    2. Chop out the old hearth and mortar bed using a hammer and cold chisel.
    3. Mix up a batch of mortar; spread the mortar over hearth using a smooth trowel. Allow mortar bed to cure for two days.
    4. Install granite hearth and surround to the using masonry adhesive.
    5. Assemble the knock-down mantle surround using a screwdriver.
    6. Set assembled mantel into place against the fireplace wall.
    7. Scribe a line around the mantel and onto the wall; move the mantel out of the way.
    8. Screw 2x2 cleats to the wall using 3-inch screws. Position cleats ¾ inch inside of the pencil lines.
    9. Set the mantel in place against the wall, then use a gas-powered or pneumatic nailer to fasten through the top and sides of the mantel and into the cleats.
    10. Install beaded molding around the inside perimeter of the mantel surround.
    • 10 to 12 hours over the course of days
    • $800 and up, depending on the size and style of mantel
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      you must have some experience with both carpentry and masonry work
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      Video Directory

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      Tools List

      • mason's hammer
        Masonry hammer and cold chisel, used to remove old brick
      • flat blade shovel
        Shovel and mortar tub or wheelbarrow, used to mix mortar
      • mason's trowel
        Smooth trowel, for spreading mortar
      • caulk gun
        Caulking gun, used to apply masonry adhesive
      • multi-bit screwdriver
        Screwdriver, for assembling the knock-down mantel
      • hand saw
        Handsaw, used to cut 2x2 cleats to size
      • pneumatic brad nailer
        Gas-powered or pneumatic nailer and 2-inch nails, for fastening mantel to cleats
      • miter saw
        Power miter saw, used to cut beaded trim to length

      Shopping List

      1. Knock-down wood mantel surround and beaded molding

      2. Granite slabs, used to create surround around fireplace opening

      3. Mortar, used to set new granite hearth4. Masonry adhesive, used to adhere granite surround to brick fireplace

      5. Pine 2x2s, used to make wall cleats

      6. Tarps, used to protect floor and control airborne dust