DIY Tips : How to install a new fireplace surround
1. The hearth must be at least 200mm wider on each side than the fireplace opening, and must extend out into the room to a distance of at least 500mm from the face of the chimney breast.
2. You can make a hearth from a concrete mixture. Begin by screwing two layers of fibre cement board to the floorboards and extending these back into the fireplace opening.
Screw 75 X 25mm planed timber boards together at the corners to make a formwork around the edge of the fibre cement board where it sticks out into the room. Use blocks of wood to hold it tightly in place.
3. Mix concrete from one part cement, two parts sand and three parts aggregate, and pour this into the form. Level it off with a wooden float and leave for 24 hours before removing the formwork.
Alternatively Buy a slate, granite or marble hearth at the same time as your new fire surround. Ask the fireplace supplier to cut this to size for you. It may come in two pieces: one to extend into the back of the opening and a rectangular piece to sit in front of the fireplace.
Bed the hearth on several blobs of mortar, check that it is perfectly level in all directions and wipe away any excess mortar that has seeped out at the edges from the weight of the hearth.
4. Carefully lift the fireplace surround into place. This may come as one piece, with a decorative surround and mantelpiece in one, or as separate components. Use fire cement to secure the surround to the edges of the fireback.
5. Place the new surround and mantelpiece in position and use a spirit level to check for level. Use wooden shims on either side if the surround needs to be adjusted. Then screw the surround back to the wall through the lugs provided.
6. Make good the plaster on each side of the surround. When this is dry, fit skirting boards to match those already in the room. Butt them up tightly to either side of the fireplace surround.
7. Tile or paint the hearth if it is concrete, then refit the carpet or other floor covering. Make sure your cast iron fireplace is nice and clean.