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How To Build A Fireplace Surround Over Brick

By Lawrence Macmillan October 25, 2021

Making a fireplace look good is one of the most important steps in creating a warm and cozy environment in your home. Making a fireplace look good can involve a few different steps, such as choosing your type of fireplace, whether it be a gas or wood fireplace, and choosing the right design for your space.

However, one of the absolute best ways to make a fireplace really shine is to add a fireplace surround.

Fireplace surrounds are built to protect the main body of your fireplace and to complete the look that you want. Fireplace surrounds can come in a range of colors, sizes, and materials, and can even provide you with extra storage, via a mantlepiece or a hearth. 

Fireplace surrounds can generally be built in most areas hassle-free, but certain building materials may prove more challenging. You may be wondering how you can build a fireplace surround over your brick wall. Well, look no further than this handy guide, as we take you through the crucial steps in building your fireplace surround! Get ready to create the ultimate cozy space!

Check Local Contractors Or Builders

Do you know of any contractors or handyman in your local area? If so, you may very much want to get them involved in your fireplace surround project. Building a fireplace surround can occasionally be quite a complex endeavor, so having a trained professional to assist is encouraged.

You can find local contractors through the internet, through your local phone book, or even at a nearby DIY store, who may have a list of trusted contractors that they can put you in contact with. 

Local contractors can help you to make informed decisions about your fireplace surround, such as your building materials, the size, and the eventual cost.

Look At The Area Where You Want To Build Your Surround

First, you are going to want to take a good look at the area where you will be building your surround. Check to see if the brickwork is even, and there are no parts of the brickwork that poke out or otherwise protrude from the wall. If these protrusions are there, then you can solve them by sanding down small protrusions.

If the brickwork sticks out massively in certain areas, then you may need to build around this to create a truly even and flat surface, otherwise your new surround may not be fixed properly into place. 

You should also check to make sure that the existing brickwork is stable, and still in healthy condition. If your brickwork is unstable, then it would be very dangerous to attempt to build a fireplace surround on top of it.

Fireplace surrounds can also become very hot very quickly, due to being in close proximity to the fireplace. You should make sure to leave a good clearance for your new fireplace surround. ’Clearance’ refers to an area around the fireplace that is not obstructed. If you have a larger fireplace, then you will also need a larger clearance.

Decide On Design And Materials For Your Fireplace Surround

Of course, one of the most important parts of any successful fireplace surround project is making sure that you have the right materials. Your choice of materials will come down to a few considerations. 

What kind of look do you want from your new fireplace surround? If you want to create a classically styled and cozy fireplace, then you might want to look for autumnal colors or rustic materials that create an air of coziness.

If you have a black fireplace you may want to consider creating a pure white fireplace surround, to create a beautiful contrast that makes the space truly pop! The possibilities when designing your fireplace surround are truly limitless, so make sure to really play around with ideas. 

When deciding on materials you will also want to consider their suitability for a fireplace surround. Certain materials are better able to deal with high temperatures, and these are the kinds of materials you will want to focus on. Your fireplace will generate a lot of heat, so you need to choose materials that can handle this efficiently and safely. 

Wooden fireplace surrounds can be built, but you should give them a good 6 inches away from the fireplace entrance. This is so you do not run the risk of accidentally creating a fire hazard.

Certain local jurisdictions impose codes and regulations on fireplaces and may limit certain materials from use in fireplace surrounds, or require your fireplace surround to be a certain size. You should make sure to check the regulations of your local area, to ensure that you are meeting these requirements.

Make sure to also consider the cost of materials or certain designs, so that you can stay on budget and avoid overspending. 

Make sure you place safety above all else. If you want a certain design for your fireplace surround but you aren’t sure if it will be safe, don’t do it. Fireplaces can be dangerous if not handled properly. 

When you have decided on your materials, you will want to find a store or other supplier that can stock the correct amount of materials for you for a fair price. 

Building Your New Fireplace Surround

Once you have decided on the design and materials of your fireplace, you can get to work! Make sure you have the correct amount of your materials, and that each piece is properly cut to size. 

You will want to make sure that you seal and fix your new fireplace surround properly to the wall. If you are building on top of brick, then you should use strong sealing materials, such as screws, nails, and even cement. Make sure that your brickwork is healthy, as you don’t want your newly built fireplace surround to crumble when you least expect it!

Once your fireplace surround has been installed, you can decorate it in whatever way you see fit! Just make sure that you use safe materials that can handle the heat, and that you do not obstruct your fireplace.

After your fireplace surround has been installed, it is recommended to give it a few days to settle into place, before lighting up your fireplace. 


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