tiling over brick fireplace surround and hearth


D

Derek

Question regarding tiling over a brick fireplace surround and hearth
with respect to fire safety.

We had a 70's fireplace that had a brick wall-to-wall fireplace
surround, and a brick hearth. Going for a more contemporary look we
had our drywall guy drywall over the brick surround up to the edges of
the existing fireplace opening. I believe he used liquid nails or
other similar adhesive to adhere the drywall.

He then adhered what looks to be about a 2" x 2" 90 degree steel
corner around the fireplace opening presumably for durability and fire
safety. It's probably the same steel corners that are used on a
typical drywalled wall corner since he's a drywall guy.

Finally we asked him to put cement backerboard on the fireplace hearth
and around the fireplace opening (at least 16" around it) so we could
tile it. He ended up using easyboard (http://
www.reedconstructiondata.com/documents/FS/specdata/092800_10000327_01_SD_22332.pdf)
instead of wonderboard which does not have as good a fire rating. It
has an NFPA Class B fire rating (flamespread 30).

We'll end up installing glass doors with a metal mesh and most likely
an aluminum frame in the opening.

I'm concerned about the combustabilty of both the drywall and
easyboard around the opening. The drywall has a steel corner on it so
I don't think there's any chance of sparks/embers coming in contact
with it, but it will of course get heat from the the fire. The
easyboard surround will have thinset, glass tile and grout on top of
it, but the very edge of it at the opening will probably be in contact
with the fireplace door and the fiberglass insulation that is normally
used to seal/install the door. It's possible it may even be exposed
to the firebox if the door/insulation does not go deeply enough into
the opening.

Just wanted to get some feedback from the pros on what type of
precautions I should use here. Should I cover the easyboard with
something like a metal strip, cement, fiberglass insulation, etc. to
insulate it from the heat? Should I tear out the easyboard and use
backerboard (hopefully not)?

Thanks for your help.
 
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R

ransley

Question regarding tiling over a brick fireplace surround and hearth
with respect to fire safety.

We had a 70's fireplace that had a brick wall-to-wall fireplace
surround, and a brick hearth.  Going for a more contemporary look we
had our drywall guy drywall over the brick surround up to the edges of
the existing fireplace opening.  I believe he used liquid nails or
other similar adhesive to adhere the drywall.

He then adhered what looks to be about a 2" x  2" 90 degree steel
corner around the fireplace opening presumably for durability and fire
safety.  It's probably the same steel corners that are used on a
typical drywalled wall corner since he's a drywall guy.

Finally we asked him to put cement backerboard on the fireplace hearth
and around the fireplace opening (at least 16" around it) so we could
tile it.  He ended up using easyboard (http://www.reedconstructiondata.com/documents/FS/specdata/092800_10000327_01...)
instead of wonderboard which does not have as good a fire rating.  It
has an NFPA Class B fire rating (flamespread 30).

We'll end up installing glass doors with a metal mesh and most likely
an aluminum frame in the opening.

I'm concerned about the combustabilty of both the drywall and
easyboard around the opening.  The drywall has a steel corner on it so
I don't think there's any chance of sparks/embers coming in contact
with it, but it will of course get heat from the the fire.  The
easyboard surround will have thinset, glass tile and grout on top of
it, but the very edge of it at the opening will probably be in contact
with the fireplace door and the fiberglass insulation that is normally
used to seal/install the door.  It's possible it may even be exposed
to the firebox if the door/insulation does not go deeply enough into
the opening.

Just wanted to get some feedback from the pros on what type of
precautions I should use here.  Should I cover the easyboard with
something like a metal strip, cement, fiberglass insulation, etc. to
insulate it from the heat?  Should I tear out the easyboard and use
backerboard (hopefully not)?

Thanks for your help.
What is going to keep the heat from igniting the drywall paper, you
dont need flame to make something start to burn. I would take it all
down.
 
L

Limp Arbor

Question regarding tiling over a brick fireplace surround and hearth
with respect to fire safety.

We had a 70's fireplace that had a brick wall-to-wall fireplace
surround, and a brick hearth.  Going for a more contemporary look we
had our drywall guy drywall over the brick surround up to the edges of
the existing fireplace opening.  
In the words of Meatloaf "Stop right there!"

Drywall right up to the opening?!

Call you local building department and ask them how far combustible
material needs to be away from a fireplace opening.

Drywall is combustible even if the edge is covered with steel.
 
Q

Quizzy

Just wanted to get some feedback from the pros on what type of
precautions I should use here.

Thanks for your help.
Update your fire insurance ASAP, b/4 using the fireplace.

You have got to be a troll, nobody could possibly be this dumb.
 
E

EXT

Quizzy said:
Update your fire insurance ASAP, b/4 using the fireplace.

You have got to be a troll, nobody could possibly be this dumb.
He may be a troll, but I have seen "designers" on TV do exactly the same
thing. Why cover everything with a bad product when the tiles could be
thin-seted directly onto the brick wall and hearth.
 
R

ransley

In the words of Meatloaf "Stop right there!"

Drywall right up to the opening?!

Call you local building department and ask them how far combustible
material needs to be away from a fireplace opening.

Drywall is combustible even if the edge is covered with steel.
I know my fireplace the way I burn it would char wood many feet away
over time, maybe 5-20 hrs. Paper backing would char after maybe a few
fires, then no flame is needed and it could burn where it is Glued
with a "flamable glue" against the wall sealed. The distance to keep
it safe is off the mantel. Even my mantel heat vent must reach near
500f, I wonder if regular thinset would last, fire boxes are a special
mortar for boilers and fireplaces can get hotter.
 
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A

aemeijers

HeyBub said:
It's pretty bad, but not as bad as some think. Drywall doesn't burn; at
least not right away. As it heats up, the hydrated Calcium sulphate of which
it is made releases water vapor to cool it. Eventually the drywall loses all
its trapped water and turns to dust. I think drywall can withstand a roaring
fire for about 1 hour per inch.

If you have 1/2" of sheetrock and your fire department can get to you in
thirty minutes, you should be okay.
The paper cover ain't fireproof. There is likely a small crack between
the drywall and the brick. Fire could propagate up to the ceiling.

That interior brick was probably veneer, other than around the firebox,
since few chimney stacks cover a whole wall. Proper solution would have
been to strip that and build back with different fireproof material.
Personally, I LIKE 1970s-style fireplaces.
 
D

Derek

Update your fire insurance ASAP, b/4 using the fireplace.

You have got to be a troll, nobody could possibly be this dumb.
Wasn't aware that trolls were known for being dumb, I always thought
they were just big and ugly. Although I think others would agree that
recommending to update my fire insurance as helpful advice would most
certainly be considered dumb.

Thanks to the others for their constructive advice. I do recall
seeing fireplaces that are drywalled right up to the fireplace door,
often in new construction homes, so I assumed as long as the edges of
the drywall that are near the opening were somehow insulated it was
okay. But it seems most agree this is a bad idea.

I don't think thin-setting and tiling directly onto the brick is an
option since I'm doing 1x1" glass tiles on 1x1' mesh, and the slightly
uneveness and reasonably large gaps between the brick might leave some
of the squares uneven, and the red color of the brick could show
through.

If I tear out the existing easyboard and drywall around the opening,
would cement backerboard (wonderboard) be sufficient? It claims to be
non-combustible. Are there any non-combustible adhesives I could use
to adhere the backerboard?

Finally, the bricks do have a fairly large gap between them, and as
someone mentioned this could be a space for heat, embers, etc. to get
in behind the backerboard. Is there a non-combustible cement/mortar I
could use here to seal this space? I did see some fireproof cement
online that looks like it might work for this.

Thanks again for your help.
 
C

charlie

Update your fire insurance ASAP, b/4 using the fireplace.

You have got to be a troll, nobody could possibly be this dumb.
Wasn't aware that trolls were known for being dumb, I always thought
they were just big and ugly. Although I think others would agree that
recommending to update my fire insurance as helpful advice would most
certainly be considered dumb.

Thanks to the others for their constructive advice. I do recall
seeing fireplaces that are drywalled right up to the fireplace door,
often in new construction homes, so I assumed as long as the edges of
the drywall that are near the opening were somehow insulated it was
okay. But it seems most agree this is a bad idea.

I don't think thin-setting and tiling directly onto the brick is an
option since I'm doing 1x1" glass tiles on 1x1' mesh, and the slightly
uneveness and reasonably large gaps between the brick might leave some
of the squares uneven, and the red color of the brick could show
through.

If I tear out the existing easyboard and drywall around the opening,
would cement backerboard (wonderboard) be sufficient? It claims to be
non-combustible. Are there any non-combustible adhesives I could use
to adhere the backerboard?

Finally, the bricks do have a fairly large gap between them, and as
someone mentioned this could be a space for heat, embers, etc. to get
in behind the backerboard. Is there a non-combustible cement/mortar I
could use here to seal this space? I did see some fireproof cement
online that looks like it might work for this.

Thanks again for your help.

--

is this a woodburning or zero clearance fireplace? if the latter, then you
can drywall up to it (or whatever the instructions say for clearance).

use thinset to attach wonderboard to the surround.
 
D

Derek

is this a woodburning or zero clearance fireplace? if the latter, then you
can drywall up to it (or whatever the instructions say for clearance).

use thinset to attach wonderboard to the surround.
It's a masonry wood burning fireplace. Then I guess the ones I've
seen drywalled up to the door are zero clearance on new construction
homes.

Do I need to worry about the gaps between the bricks and the
wonderboard, or is it okay for heat/etc. to escape into those areas?

And is 1/4" wonderboard okay, or should I go 1/2"?

Thanks.
 
C

cshenk

Thanks to the others for their constructive advice. I do recall
seeing fireplaces that are drywalled right up to the fireplace door,
often in new construction homes, so I assumed as long as the edges of
the drywall that are near the opening were somehow insulated it was
okay. But it seems most agree this is a bad idea.
Only in sothern California and Florida where they are ornamental and have no
flue, nor were ever intended to contain a fire.

Did your fellow have a code inspector check it?

I know for a fact it won't pass where I am. Not even close.

You appear to be looking more for cosmetics than use? That is actually
understandable, but I don't think you've taken the right path *if* you
intend to use it.

Most replies to you have come from those who have working ones. Take it in
stride if you wanted mostly 'for looks' as what you have done if that is so,
probably looks rather nice.

Be prepared for problems selling the house though if it's designed to be a
real one with a flue. You will probably be required to remove all that.

Talking codespecs, my fireplace is 14 inches solid brick (stands out 3
inches from wall) on all sides at minimum and upper portion ends with the
mantle at my eye level (I'm pretty short, a mere 5ft1). The only spot my
fireplace isnt codespec now, is the base is high enough (8-9 inches) but not
as deep as they now want (it's not much over 12 deep). I have to have
carpet instaled back another 12 inches here or it's a violation so we are
having that portion tiled soon.

This is not a 'cosmetic' fireplace at all. I saved an estimated 1,100$ last
year for a 250$ wood outlay by using it probably 14-16 hours a day when it
was coldest.
 
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C

cshenk

It's a masonry wood burning fireplace. Then I guess the ones I've
seen drywalled up to the door are zero clearance on new construction
homes.
That is possible. Once you mentioned 1970's fireplace, I didnt consider
more modern answers.
Do I need to worry about the gaps between the bricks and the
wonderboard, or is it okay for heat/etc. to escape into those areas?
Yes, you need to worry. Whoosh up the chimney after it spikes to a certain
point.

I like the earlier idea of take down the wonderboard and drywall, and affix
tile to it. It may require a professional, but it can be done and work
great with the right stuff (even to codespc in older ones).

Personally, I *like* my 1960's all brick fireplace. We made it a feature
worth having with a good mantle piece and careful decoration of doo-dads
above it.
 

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