How to Build a Base for a Fireplace

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The first step to building any fireplace is building the base. Almost without fail, the best bases are made of concrete. These steps are for a standard 3-foot by 3-foot base. Of course, you can make adjustments for your preferred size.

Things You'll Need

  • 2-by-4s
  • 2 1/2-foot by 2 1/2-foot grate
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Concrete mix
  • Water
  • Tape measure
  • Screw gun
  • Circular saw
  • 2-inch self-threading screws
  • 2-by-4 floater board, 4 feet long
  • Measure a 3-foot by 3-foot square. This generally should be in an area that can be left alone for a few days, since you will be laying your concrete base here and then letting it set. Later, you can move the base to wherever you will be installing the fireplace.

  • Make a box out of 2-by-4s that encompasses your 3-foot by 3-foot square. Use the circular saw to cut the boards, and then screw them together with your 2-inch screws and screw gun.

  • Lay your grate down into the square. Make sure it is even, since you will not be able to change its position once you have poured the concrete.

  • Mix up your concrete in your wheelbarrow. Usually this simply involves stirring in water in the prescribed amounts until liquid concrete forms.

  • Pour the concrete into the wooden square. It should be directly on top of and covering up the grate.

  • Level off the concrete so that it is flush with the tops of the boards. To do this, use the floater board. This will be about a 4-foot-long 2-by-4 that you place on top of the square boards and move over the top of the concrete, pushing the mix down into every crack and crevice. Make saw movements with the floater board, moving it back and forth while you go up and down the wooden square. If you find huge gaps, pour more concrete in and level it off.

  • Let the concrete dry overnight. If it is outside, cover it with a tarp to keep off the damp.

  • Pull up the square boards that have been around the concrete. You will have perfect edges and corners.

  • Allow the base to dry for several more days. Keep it warm and dry if possible. Once it is completely set and solid, you can place it wherever you like.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may want to place a piece of plywood or other wood underneath the base square to keep the "top" (right now the bottom) of your concrete square smooth.
  • If you have any allergies, wear a dust mask while you are mixing the concrete.

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