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Covering Your Fireplace Hearth with Slate
If you want to reface your concrete fireplace hearth, one of the best materials to use is slate. Slate is a very durable stone which is attractive, easy to clean and comes in a variety of natural tones. If you decide that slate will look best combined with your other flooring materials, then you can follow the next steps.
Make a Test Hearth Pad
If you want to see how well slate covers concrete, then you can do a test run. Apply low-cost slate to a 30X60 inch cement board and you will see how smoothly slate goes down the board.
How to Create a Professional Look
Sometimes, a raised hearth is needed to make sure that the finished floor of the room and the finished hearth material blend well. Both the fireplace hearth and the firebox should be higher than the finished floor.
Some builders would prefer that the hearth is level with the underside of the room's hardwood flooring. The hardwood flooring will then overlap with the hearth. You can get this look by pouring the concrete lower than the wooden subfloor of your house.
Use Thinset Adhesive
To make slate bond easily with concrete from your fireplace hearth, you can use thinset adhesive which is fireproof.
Use a diamond wet saw or carbide rod saw
Do not use a ceramic-tile snapper cutter since this will fracture the slate. The carbide rod saw should fit easily into a standard hacksaw. You can also ask if your hardware store will cut the slate for you.
Seal the Slate with Grout Release Sealer
Slate is one of the hardest materials to grout because of its uneven surface. To lessen grout mess, seal the slate before grouting it. You have to wait for 48 hours or so before you can walk on the slate. Keep the grout damp during this period to make it durable.
Of course, you can also build or buy a custom fireplace hearth pad. But custom-made pads may not be proportional to your hearth. Also, building your own would require almost the same effort as covering your hearth with durable and attractive slate.