A fireplace is often a focal point for many a great room, living room, dining room or even bedroom. However, over time, fireplaces need to be replaced or remodeled for various reasons. Hearths, on the other hand, may need to be replaced sooner due to damage. Fortunately, hearth removal is not a difficult process, and many do-it-yourself enthusiasts can often complete this task alone with a few tools.
What Is a Hearth?
The hearth is the area on the ground in front of the fireplace. A hearth must be made from a fire-resistant material, as there is always the possibility that fire will leave the fireplace. It is often constructed of brick, tile, cement or various natural stone materials such as granite or marble, all of which are fire-resistant.
When removing a hearth, a hammer or rubber mallet and a chisel are both necessary for the actual removal process. However, it is recommended that the area surrounding the hearth is protected. This can be done simply by taking thin plywood or even a thick cardboard to the area surrounding the hearth. This will prevent scratches or other damage to the surrounding floor. A dust pan, broom and vacuum will also be needed to clean up the dust and debris that is left behind. Also, always wear a pair of thick gloves and safety goggles, as some debris can be sharp or extremely fine.
Fortunately, hearth removal is a simple process. Once the surrounding floor has been protected, the hammer and chisel are used to chip away at the hearth until it has been removed. When removing the hearth, be sure to leave the firebox flooring and the concrete base in-tact, as these are necessary for the installation of a new hearth. The firebox flooring protects the rest of the home from fire, while the cement base provides a place to adhere the new hearth to.
Types of Fireplace Hearths
Once the old hearth has been removed, there are plenty of options for a new fireplace hearth. Many choose to use tile, brick or natural stone slabs. However, a fireplace hearth should never consist of materials that are not fire-resistant, such as wood flooring, as these are more likely to catch fire when placed in close proximity to the fireplace.