How to Build a Brick Hearth
Learning how to build a brick hearth will allow you to do a quick makeover in any room that contains a fireplace or a wood stove. The purpose of a brick hearth is to protect your floor from any errant embers that could burn your food or carpet. Bricks can simply be laid down in rows or in herringbone patterns and you can use a wide variety of different colors and patterns in order to add some custom visual interest. Building a brick hearth is a relatively simple process that can be completed in the span of an afternoon with the right tools and know-how.
Step 1 - Clean Floor Surface
First you will want to clean the floor surface where you plan to build the brick hearth. Remove any carpet, tile, or linoleum from the floor, scraping up any glue residue that is present here. The surface should be clean and smooth before laying brick.
Step 2 - Build the Frame
Next, you will build a temporary frame intended for the bricks. When you are measuring for this frame, allow for ½ inch between each of the bricks to accommodate the mortar. Set this frame where you intend on building the fireplace hearth.
Step 3 - Lay Bricks
Lay the bricks out in the frame without the use of the mortar. The purpose of this step is to make sure that all of the bricks fit properly and that the pattern you choose is going to fit in well with the décor of the room before you actually begin the building process.
Step 4 - Mix Mortar
Now you should mix the mortar, but keep in mind that you shouldn't mix more than what you will need in a two hour time period. If the mortar seems to be setting before you are finished using it, you can mix water in to re-soften it.
Step 5 - Lay Mortar
Lay mortar in the frame's bottom, setting the bricks right in the mortar and tapping them down into place. Leave gaps between the bricks to accommodate the grout, and use a level to make sure that all of the bricks are the same height.
Step 6 - Scrape Mortar
Scrape mortar into all of the gaps between the bricks, using a dowel, a rod, or a concave jointer to smooth out these seams, making sure that air pockets are removed. The hearth should be allowed to cure for a period of 36 hours before you remove the frame and finish up the sides using mosaics or tiles to create a decorative finish. You can finish the brick hearth in any way that you like as long as you have allowed the mortar to set properly before you begin the finishing touches.