One of the main jobs we wanted to do in the house was to replace the old coal burning fireplace with a traditional log burner. I mentioned this in my Jobs We're Doing First post, and we decided it was best to get it out of the way and do the messy tasks before any furniture - including a beige sofa - arrived. And oh boy, was it messy. The dust went from one end of the house to the other and the two guys who were completing the job we're covered in dirt every day!
Anyway, I thought I would show you the process from start to finish of having a log burning fire put in and any information you might need if you're doing the same!
Let's discuss the before. This house was built around 1900 so it's quite old and has retained quite a lot of original features. I'm unsure if this fireplace is the actual original but it was definitely old. We really do want to keep as many original features of the house as we can, but the style of the fireplace just wasn't us, even with replacing the tiles. It was too old fashioned and too big - it's a very tall surround! So, it had to go and was listed for sale so someone else can hopefully enjoy it.
It only took the guys two minutes to take it out, as there are screws in the sides so it's easy to remove...
Once the fireplace surround was taken out, you can see it was a bit of a mess behind. The guys said it was quite unstable, so they took out the old lintel and installed a new one so it was more secure. They removed all of the rubble that had fallen down, the cement that was on the sides and fully opened up the space. They also repointed some of the bricks at the back, and replaced some that were a bit past their best.
They then started cleaning up the bricks using brick acid so they were restored back to their normal terracotta and black colour. I think they looked great once they had been tidied up!
Once the bricks had been cleaned, they put the flue down the chimney which was a precarious job. The weather had been a bit gloomy, but as soon as one of them went up to the roof on a ladder, it was extremely windy and rainy and I think they were glad to just get it done. This was fixed in place and the top was sealed so anything falling down the chimney wouldn't end of all over the floor.
They boxed everything in so the front would look smooth and then they plastered over the front.
We went for a sandstone hearth, as we wanted it to look natural and fit in with the scheme of the house which is predominantly neutrals. I also just love the look of sandstone. It's very pretty and I think it suits the old fashioned style of the fire we chose.
Once the plaster had dried, the sandstone was sealed and they came back to install the fire around a week later as we had to choose one first. We went with a more traditional log burning stove with a large window so we could see as much of the fire as possible for maximum cosy vibes. I really love it!
So that's the log fire process. It took them 1 day to clean everything up and install the hearth, then 1 day for boxing in and plastering. Installing the fire itself took around an hour. It was a messy job, my house smelled like old soot for days and I think I had to clean the floor about 10x before it was actually dirt-free, but I'm so glad we got it done!
One thing I will say is that the first burn wasn't very nice, as they put sealant/glue in the flue so the smoke doesn't leak out. This glue melts in the first burn so it makes your house smell like intense chemicals. We opened all of the windows and the front door and had to periodically leave the room because it gave us a headache, but you just have to get it out of the way. We had it on for about 4hrs and it got better over time as the glue residue melted. After that it's plain sailing and your fire just smells like a nice, toasty fire!