I am not a fan of lava rock fireplaces. I know it was a very popular nice option in the era of the home, but this farmhouse style loving mama didn't like it. We lived here for almost three years before tackling this one. We couldn't decide exactly what to do. And to be honest I leaned towards the least amount of work ;-/
This thing is a BEAST. It spans floor to vaulted ceiling, taking out all that rock was not on my to do list. So, we went with the cover up.
We started by..
Measuring out our furthest rock that was sticking out and made a surround for our plywood to go on. This didn't take very long, my husband is pretty handy in the saw (this is the saw we use, it's fairly spendy, but we like it) department. Then you have to cut the plywood to fit over this (picture coming)
Once it's framed...
To the bottom, we had to take a different approach. You can't put a stove on top of wood for obvious reasons. We were lucky enough to have a friend that works for a granite shop. They used the scraps and cut it to our specifications so we were able to have a nice solid granite piece. It is worth checking your local granite yards for scraps, they typically will give these away for free. The hook is; you have to pay them to cut it to your specifications.
The bottom rock...
Was the worst part of the whole thing. The rocks were very uneven and you can NOT put heavy things on uneven granite ( it will bust it), so we needed this 100% level. We ended up having to take out quite a few rocks, which isn't easy. Make sure you use safety glasses! We used this masonry chisel and a sledge hammer, after some serious work and several days
or weeks. We finally had them out! Once they were removed we were able to build a box on the bottom for the granite to sit on.
Next was the fun part...
We picked a blue pine tongue and groove for the wood. You want to make sure to use a tongue and groove or ship lap, that way you can hide your nail holes. We cut them to size and started slapping them up using our nail gun. I wish I had more pictures. The angles at the top are the worst. My husband did all of that and he did an awesome job. If you don't get them 100% on you can always use a finishing trim, which we did just to trim it all out. You do the same thing on the sides, making sure it all lines up nicely. We finished it with some corner trim on the edges and a trim across the top.
I recommend staining the boards and trim before putting them up, but it's not mandatory. I did not and ended up staining it in my house and stain is the worst! It smells so awful for so long, and it was in the dead of winter, so we couldn't air out the windows, whoopsie.
My handy guy also made me that mantel that I love! I will have to do a post on how he did it. If you have any questions let me know!
Do you love or hate lava rock? Let me know in the comments!