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Off-center Fireplace

Love is blind! Wife & I fell in love with a 3-year old home on an acre of land. After moving in, we found that either the Fireplace is off center, or the windows are. Window on one side is 2" from the mantel, 6" on the other side. How expensive to fix this problem? Or, do we hide it with curtains? Of course, that won't hide the same sight on the outside of the house!

Cover the difference with drapery on the inside of the house. This is about your only recourse without spending an exhorbedent amount of money and headaches. Architects are not INTERIOR Designers and often balance windows and such with the EXTERIOR of a home and not the interior. Had a few instances worse then yours in some clients homes. I wondered where they heck their brains were that day. I will give you the worse instance I say. Two story house....bay window first floor, master bedroom above, 21' wall. To balance the upstairs windows with the downstairs bay they installed two small windows that matched the center bay window 2" apart right where a bed would be placed in the upstairs bedroom. INSTEAD they could have placed two windows further apart to compliment the bay underneath but used the two outer sides of the bay instead.

Raising the hearth

I have a hearth by the fireplace that is made of marble and is flush with the carpet. I would like raise the hearth. What type of materials would I need, and how would I construct it?

Usually the hearth base is poured level with the floor and out under the wall to cantilever the weight. Now if this has been done and your firebox is high enough to allow raising the hearth you can lay block to form for height and face with whatever material you prefer.


We installed two Heatilator(Brand) fireplaces in our home more than twenty years ago. The Chimney caps have long since gone with the wind. The local stores do not seem to carry this brand any longer. Is this company still in business?

It would appear that they are very much in business. Their website is at the url below and there phone number and address is1-800-843-2848 or via U.S. Mail at Heatilator
1915 West Saunders St.
Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641"




Never having laid brick before is not really a big problem when laying hearth brick. It may take longer but you should be able to do the job. The first thing you have to determine is if the floor in the area is stable and strong enough to hold the brick. Normal brick with the holes weigh an average of 3# apiece paver brick 4# the 5 x 5 area will take 175 laid normally (about 525#) with pavers 112.5 (about 450#) these numbers do not include mortar or the weight of your stove so add for them when decideing if you are in the load range of the floor. When you start to lay the brick I would build a frame 5'x5'and 2 5/8" high for pavers 4" for regular brick mark the sides of the frame every 4" for pavers every 2 5/8"for reg.

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This will keep your brick sq. and you can level your brick by using a 2x4 and mallet or hammer.If you can level them without this a string line is all that is needed.The spacing marks will allow for your joints. I would use type O mortar but you may have trouble finding it. If you want to mix it yourself the mixture is 1 part portland 2 parts hydrated lime 9 parts sand. Type N will work but it is not as elastic as type O and may crack more from the heating and cooling caused by the stove.

Because you have not done this before I suggest you lay the brick in a bed of mortar and don't worry about buttering each brick. Once the brick are in place bag the grout in between the brick and finish the joints with a concave jointer.

Fireplace Facelift

I have the ugliest fireplace in the state of Texas! It is made from cheap brick, five feet wide and extends all the way to the ceiling, without a mantle - its just a flat brick wall in the corner of my living room with an ugly 3X3 foot hole for a fire. How can this liability be turned into an asset? Painting is one option but how about some other creative suggestions?

You can look around for a mantle... or you could build one. Often made of wood and sometimes marble or other material.. they surround the opening leading up to a mantle shelf. I have seen them at auctions and at antiques dealers. Or you can look for plans to build one.

Chimney Height

We have recently purchased a home that is 11years old. When attempting to use the fireplace I discovered we had a draft coming into the house. We have a stove insert not a fireplace. I have taken the cap off and cleaned the chimney. It was not very dirty. This made no difference. I disconnected the pipe from the top of the stove and checked for draft. Instead of a draft, I have a breeze coming in. This insert was used a lot by the previous owner. I have made sure that there were no appliances running that could cause a negative air pressure. The cap is large and is located on the end of the house about 20-25 feet from the peek. The chimney is sided and rectangular at the top. The top is about 18x30 and only services the fireplace. The cap extends about 8 inches above the flat area at the top the chimney. What should I do or look for to get a draft in my chimney?

Building code requires any chimney to extend above the peak of the highest roof by about 2 feet.... Not just above the roof, it protrudes from.

Any chimney lower than that can be affected by downdraft coming off the higher roof sections. If I am reading you correctly, the solution is to extend your chimney above the highest roof peak of your home by 2 feet.

Click here for our Masonry Tips Article
Click here for our Plans For A Brick Patio Or Walkway Article

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