A few years ago we built a fireplace on our porch overlooking the lake. We are not experts by any means, but over the years, we have gained the confidence to tackle projects by actually just jumping in with both feet! We have also learned how to be resourceful by breaking down projects step-by-step and just figuring it out by researching. Let’s just say that we have watched a lot of YouTube videos and use a “learn as we go” approach.
Below is a before and after picture of our lakeside porch. The before picture is prior to us renovating and adding an addition to our lake house, which, included adding a double window and covering the block wall with rock. The after picture encompasses other porch projects such as wrapping the cedar posts (to become white columns) and adding old barn wood on our ceiling. Our patio porch is still a work in progress. Our next step is to add flooring.
And here is a before and after picture after we tiled our porch.
The before picture below is after we renovated and added an addition to our lake house. The after picture encompasses other porch projects such as wrapping the cedar posts (to become white columns) and adding old barn wood on our ceiling.
We have broken down our “Porch Project” into several phases:
- Adding the apron and wrapping the columns on the porch;
- Covering the ceiling with old barn wood;
- Adding crown molding; and
- Our next project will be tiling the porch floor.
So, here is our fireplace story . . .
- concrete (for base)
- lumber to build the frame
- heavy duty nail gun and nails
- measuring tape
- miter saw (for building frame)
- Tyvek HomeWrap and grip-rite (plastic round cap roofing nails) to hold Tyvek in place
- mantel (we used cedar)
- electrical boxes and electrical wire (or an electrician)
- felt paper
- metal lathing screws
- mortar mix for creating scratch coat, sticking stones, and piping between stone Note: We used a different color (Savannah Ivory) for piping between the stones.
- bin to mix mortar
- hoe to stir mortar
- Gas logs
- Simulated stone (flat pieces and corner pieces)
- Plywood scrap to use as a mortarboard
- Mortar piping bag
- Brush to wipe the mortar joints after partially dry
Hardworking Neal dug a foundation for our outdoor fireplace.
We built a frame for the concrete and poured it several inches deep. One side is thicker than the other because it is on an incline.
Then we build the frame – – basically building a box with an opening for the actual firebox. We covered it with plywood. Notice that there are wood pieces at the bottom to eventually hold the firebox. Then we wrapped it with Tyvek Home Wrap. Neal removed some of the ceiling so he could add electrical. He ran power and cable through the ceiling and through the inside of the fireplace from the top to add power and cable outlets to the front. In the picture below, you can see that we added a mantel. This was a cedar beam that was originally part of our lake house before we renovated. We sanded it and installed it. From the inside of the fireplace structure, Neal added a few very large carriage bolts to attach the mantel; he wanted it to be secure . . . for many generations! Here you can see the electrical boxes. This picture also shows where we wrapped the entire structure in felt paper. You can start to see it take shape. We then wrapped the entire structure metal lathing. We cut several pieces and used special screws to secure the lathing. It was essential that the screws went into studs. This lovely (note the sarcasm) is proof that I helped too! Neal then spread mortar to create a scratch coat for the rock to adhere to. I came behind Neal with a mortar trowel to create the ridges/lines in the mortar. This creates texture on the wall, which helps the rock adhere.
Here is the tool we used to apply the mortar and create a scratch coat.
Below shows the completed mortar scratch coat. Notice below that we covered the mantel with cellophane to keep it clean (working with mortar is messy). You can also see Neal’s wiring in the electrical boxes. Also, notice that we inserted the firebox. We did this prior to adding the scratch coat.
Then it was finally time to add the rock. This is not real stone, but manufactured stone. We really like it because it is more cost-effective than real stone and yet it looks like real stone. We used Hermitage simulated stone from Jenkins Brick in Alabama and buff mortar. We have this stone on the bottom of the exterior of our house and also on our inside living room fireplace.
In the picture below, we wanted to add soldier bricks to match the top of our windows. Neal added this horizontal piece of wood and two 2/4 wood braces to support the bricks as the mortar dried. Also, notice that we added the gas logs.
I was the mortar stirrer. Oh, joy! We used corner pieces, which are specifically designed “L shape” for the corners. We wanted to vary the pattern on the corners and throughout; it was like putting a puzzle together. Also, notice on the floor of the porch that we laid out several stones; this helped us put our “puzzle” together. We finished sticking all the stones and were pleased with the random look. Here is another look. Here is a close-up look. And from the backside. I like how some stones are horizontal and some are vertical. (Also notice that the fireplace fits perfectly under our inside fireplace).And one more look of the back . . .One more picture . . . Now it is time to add mortar between the stones when I was at work. ?My talented Neal did this! He used a mortar bag (as if icing a large cake) and squeezed mortar between every rock. Doesn’t it look great! Here is the backside after Neal added mortar between each rock. Voila! We finished it just in time to enjoy it with our family at Christmas! Here is another picture in spring when we installed a television and after we wrapped the columns, added old barn wood to the ceiling, and added crown molding. We enjoy this space year-round with family and friends as we talk, laugh, and make memories! Here is another closeup, after we tiled the floor, added a brick edging around our porch, and finished the columns. This is our patio porch today. Below is another picture at night. We love to cozy up by the fireplace in the evenings. Based on several questions from readers about the gas line. I have added additional pictures to show where it is installed. We hired a professional to install the gas line.
The picture below shows the gas line through the side of the firebox and connected to the gas logs.
Other Related Blog Posts:
Click HERE to learn how we totally transformed our Porch.
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