How to build a brick hearth

Written by meg jernigan
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How to build a brick hearth
A brick hearth is an attractive, classic addition to any room with a wood stove or fireplace (Getty Thinkstock)

A brick hearth is an attractive, classic addition to any room with a wood stove or fireplace. The hearth protects the floor from errant embers that could burn wood or scorch carpet. Bricks can be laid in rows or herringbone patterns or in a combination of colours and patterns that add visual interest to the hearth. Building a brick hearth is a simple process that can be completed in an afternoon by a novice handyman.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Lumber
  • Bricks
  • Mortar
  • Concave jointer

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Clean the surface of the floor where you will build the hearth. Remove carpet, tile or linoleum and scrape up glue residue.

  2. 2

    Build a temporary frame for the bricks. When measuring for the frame, remember to allow about 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) between each brick for mortar. Set the frame where you will build the hearth.

  3. 3

    Lay the bricks inside the frame without mortaring them to make sure they fit and that the pattern you choose fits the room's décor.

  4. 4

    Mix the mortar. Don't mix more than you can use in two hours. If the mortar starts to set, add a little water and remix it.

  5. 5

    Lay a bed of mortar in the bottom of the frame. Set the bricks in the mortar and tap them lightly to set them in place. Leave a gap between the bricks for grout. Use a level to make sure all the bricks are the same height.

  6. 6

    Scrape mortar into the gaps between the bricks and use a dowel, rod or concave jointer to smooth out the seams and remove air pockets. Let the hearth cure for 36 hours before continuing.

  7. 7

    Remove the frame from the bricks. Finish the sides with tile or mosaic for a decorative touch or use moulding around the brick.

Tips and warnings

  • Dampen the bricks the day before you intend to use them so they don't absorb the mortar.
  • Wipe up spills before the mortar has a chance to set.
  • Make sure the floor is sturdy enough for the weight of the hearth.

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