When you are planning to live off the grid, you will probably consider purchasing a house or building one yourself.
You might also consider building a stone fireplace for your house when you are living off the grid.
Building a fireplace, however, is not a task to take lightly. A stone fireplace gives a house a cozy and warm appearance that you will simply appreciate.
But you have to build it right to make sure that it is sturdy and functional.
In this post, we provide you with detailed instruction on how to build a stone fireplace for off-grid living.
We will take you through the equipment you require and all the necessary steps to make the process a success. Let’s get started.
- What Do You Need to Build a Stone Fireplace?
- How to Build a Stone Fireplace for Off-Grid Living
- Step 1: Design for Fireplace
- Step 2: Mix the Mortar
- Step 3: Create a Concrete Foundation for Fireplace
- Step 4: Lay Concrete
- Step 5: Build a Facade Frame
- Step 6: Attach Cement Board to Size
- Step 7: Add Mortar to Bond Cement Board
- Step 8: Install the Header Stone
- Step 9: Continue Placement of The Stones
- Step 10: Attach Chimney Cap for Fireplace
- Step 11: Final Check and Finish Your Fireplace
- Benefits of a Stone Fireplace
- Wrapping Up
What Do You Need to Build a Stone Fireplace?
Before you build a fireplace, you have to make sure that you have all the right supplies and equipment.
The first step for any type of construction work is making sure that you have everything you need for the entire process.
- Drop Cloths
- Utility Knife
- Razor Knife
- Safety Glasses
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- Masonry Cement
- Fireplace Stones
- Bonding Agent
Make sure that all these are at your disposal. If not, you can purchase some for your construction.
How to Build a Stone Fireplace for Off-Grid Living
You need to know that the process of building a stone fireplace is not very easy. However, if you have the right instructions, the entire process becomes easier.
It is also important to know that the quality of the material you use will determine the sturdiness of the resulting fireplace.
This section provides you with the important steps you have to follow for the best results. Let’s get started.
Step 1: Design for Fireplace
The general design of a fireplace is a very important part of the construction. You need to measure the height, depth, length, as well as width of the fireplace using a tape measure.
After you note down the dimensions on a notepad, determine the look you want for the fireplace. There are very many designs that you can choose from.
You can go for different looks including a man-made stacked stone design or a traditional aesthetic design.
They will both give you a contemporary look. It is also important to decide if you will be burning wood in the fireplace or it will be gas-lit.
Make sure that you capture every aspect of the fireplace in the design, right down to the shape you want. The more detailed the design and plan, the easier the entire process will be. Make all the decisions in this step.
Step 2: Mix the Mortar
Mixing the mortar properly is very important in achieving the level of sturdiness you require for your fireplace. The fireplace needs to have one part mortar and two parts sand.
How do you mix them? First, you have to mix the mortar and sand, after which you add the bonding agent. After all these have been mixed properly, you can add the water.
You need to add an adequate amount of water. That way, you will get adequate consistency. It should neither be too soupy nor too dry.
After you have mixed everything, give the mixed materials five minutes to sit. That way, they will be coagulated properly.
When you are mixing, the best way to do it is to pull the ingredients to one side of the wheelbarrow. Your workload will be lightened, the mixing process will be easier, and you will save some strokes.
Step 3: Create a Concrete Foundation for Fireplace
Your home might have a very flat and safe area where you can place a concrete slab. However, it is not always the case.
If you do not have such a safe area, you should consider digging a bit of a ditch on the floor, mix some concrete, and then pour it in there.
The depth of the ditch will determine how stable the fireplace will be. However, you have to make sure that you have adequate material to fit in the ditch.
Step 4: Lay Concrete
Next, you have to lay the concrete properly. Lay the cinder concrete blocks and add mortar layers between the blocks. You have to leave some openings at the chimney’s top. That is for adequate ventilation.
Remember to follow the design you had created in the first step. Refer to the design constantly for the best results.
Step 5: Build a Facade Frame
The next step of the construction involves building a facade frame. First, you have to consider the dimensions you jotted down on your notepad during the design stage.
Using these dimensions as references, cut some 2 x 4 lumbers using a chop saw.
You should then assemble these lumbers using screws with a drill or with nails using a nail gun.
Step 6: Attach Cement Board to Size
After you have built the façade frame, you need to cut the cement board using a chop saw.
Make sure that you have all the right dimensions for this cement board. Next, you need to attach this board to the frame using concrete screws. Use a drill for this step.
There are certain smaller areas of the frame. When handling these areas, it would be better to use a chop saw to trim the cement boards properly.
Step 7: Add Mortar to Bond Cement Board
In this step, you need to mix some mortar. It is a good idea to use the directions and tips provided on the packaging.
Scoop the mixed mortar from the bucket using a trowel. You need to add mortar to the cement boards you have prepared.
When you apply the mortar in specific sections, it will not dry out before you place the stone.
Step 8: Install the Header Stone
You need to install the header stone and you can do that easily by pressing the stone into the right position on the left part of the header.
Push it while wiggling it back and forth. When you feel that it has touched the back, you can stop pressing.
At this point, the mortar will be oozing out from different parts of the stones because of the wiggling. Do the same for the rest of the header stones.
It is not advisable to wipe the mortar from the cast stone face. This might result in pushing the stone deeper into the surface pores.
The best thing to do would be to allow it to dry after which you can use a whisk broom to brush it off.
Step 9: Continue Placement of The Stones
You should continue adding the remaining stones starting from the top to the bottom. That way, the mortar will not fall on the stones below as you continue to work.
You should leave a thin joint between the stones. This joint should be about the width of your finger. Apply extra mortar to the edges of stones that you might cut to fit the design.
After you finish doing that, you can go ahead and eradicate any excess mortar between or on the stones. Use a whisk broom and striking tool to do that properly.
You should then allow the applied mortar to cure. Usually, you can give it a single night or even longer.
As you install the stones, you need to consider the color, shape, and size of your stones. You should go any direction you want. You can choose to cut the stones so that they fit better, or simply change the layout.
Step 10: Attach Chimney Cap for Fireplace
In most situations, the chimney caps are made using metal. You should use some gloves before you start the installation.
If you happen to have chosen a single-flue cap, you should slip it on the flue and tighten all screws. Do that for all the chimney cap sides.
The inside-mount caps would need a sturdy push into the flue. In case the cap requires bits of masonry anchors, attach it using a drill.
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Step 11: Final Check and Finish Your Fireplace
You need to include all the finishing blocks of the fireplace at this juncture. Finishing blocks and other parts of the design will be installed at this point.
Finishing blocks are small and light. They can be used to trim the chimney’s top and create a sort of mantle.
Glue everything down and make any additional improvements that you would like on the fireplace. After that, check to make sure that your fireplace is as you had hoped when creating the design.
That is it. You can now relax and enjoy your fireplace after around 72 hours of curing. Make sure to allow this time before you start building a fire in the fireplace.
Benefits of a Stone Fireplace
Customizing your house or cabin with a stone fireplace might be a very good idea. Many homeowners are considering adding stone fireplaces to their houses. There are numerous benefits associated with stone fireplaces.
Below are some of the most common advantages associated with adding a fireplace to your home.
There is a very wide range of stones that you can consider for your fireplace. The choice you make will help you make the entire fireplace unique and customized.
If you like, you can have a symmetrical stone pattern on the fireplace. You can even choose an organic stone fitting to make the fireplace completely customized and unique.
As you would expect, a stone fireplace will be long-lasting and strong. If you have the right skill, the proper grout, and high-quality materials, your fireplace can last longer than generations.
As time goes by, you can refinish and clean the fireplace so that it has an amazing appearance.
As you would expect, metal or wood would easily lose their quality over time. Metal, for instance, might discolor because of the heat while wood would peel or flake due to the consistent fire.
A stone fireplace is safer. The mantel and stone fireplace are all connected to become a single system. They act as each other’s anchors permanently.
That means that the chances of the mantel coming down are lower. When you install wood mantels, they should be connected to the wall.
The problem with wood mantels is that they can become weak and loose. It can come off the wall completely, which might lead to someone being injured or the floor being damaged.
Complimenting Interior Design
You can use a stone fireplace to compliment the style of the architecture. You can customize stone to any style of home. You can have modern or traditional styles that match the character of your house.
Even though brick has been used for a very long time in making fireplaces, it does not match the flexibility of stone regarding carving.
The brick choice is not the best idea because the house’s décor should match the brick’s color pallet.
If you want to increase the prestige and elegance of your house, it would be advisable that you go for a hand-carved stone. A stone fireplace is definitely worth the money.
Stone is strong and it is made so that it can last a long time. The number of times you use the fireplace will not determine how long the fireplace will last or how quickly it will deteriorate.
You need to know that the stone does not get damaged from heat. It also has a refined look, which eradicates the need for constant maintenance.
Increasing Property Value
A stone fireplace will increase the value of your property in the same manner an automated gate or awnings will. The installation will last a long time and will be a great reason for your property value to skyrocket.
It is known that the addition of a fireplace can put the value higher by around $15,000. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?
The design might be difficult to change but the appearance can be easily changed. You should consider sharing your idea with your children. They might have great ideas for decoration.
As always, thank you for choosing emoffgrid.com as your reading source! If you are reading this article of ours, I hope you find the shared information helpful to you.