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Hearth rebuild - installing stone on brick hearth

We are going to replace our home-made wood stove with a new one, and have decided it is a good time to rebuild the hearth too. Right now the hearth is 4'x4', brick and mortar from the crawl space up into the living room. On top of the final mortar layer is tile (several of which have broken, which is one of the reasons we want to rebuild it).
My question is, how should we go about replacing the tile with stone? Can we just remove the tile and then put new mortar on top of the old mortar to secure the stone with? The mortar appears to be concrete (about 2" thick).
Also, does anyone have suggestions on the best stone to use and what thickness? (e.g., bluestone caps, treads, slabs, etc.)

thanks much for any help/ideas!

Re: Hearth rebuild - installing stone on brick hearth

I "assume" you want the same height, or close to it. If so, you would need to remove the tile, AND enough of what's under the tile to accomodate the thickness of the stone you are going to put back on there.

I'd think the thinner the better. (less work that way).
Maybe a different type of tile? Natural stone tiles?
If using stone, make sure it's relatively uniform smooth on top.
Natural Rough Rock hearths are a pain to sweep ashes off of.

Re: Hearth rebuild - installing stone on brick hearth

If you don't address the cause of the cracking tile, your new paving will crack as well. Problem is that the substrate concrete or ? is not monolithic. Reinforced concrete 3" thick properly supported is called for.

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