Inside and out, you can apply this beautiful design technique to any fireplace you might already have or are thinking of building. The greatest part about this design technique is the fact that you have so many creative options you’ll have to really think about what you want before you get started. In one weekend, you can have the fireplace of your dreams.
First of all, you’ll be working with concrete. You’ll have to learn how to work with concrete and you’ll have to learn some concrete resurfacing techniques. But, it’s on a small scale and you can literally make concrete look like anything. These techniques you can learn if you have any creative abilities, from doing the concrete to resurfacing. So, there’s no need to feel alarmed. You can do it. Have fun with it!
With colorant and the right mixture of overlay material, you can create such designs as pearl, marble, stone and brick. You can make concrete look like wood if you wanted. I have seen concrete resurfacing jobs that made a driveway look like a shiny basketball court. The more creative designs have been the remakes of famous paintings like the Sistine Chapel Ceiling by Michelangelo, The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh, and Woman with a Guitar by Georges Braque. But, you’d have to be a master at concrete resurfacing to achieve that level of artistry. Let’s just look at creating interesting designs that you can handle at your own level of artistry, wherever you are as an artist.
Whether you are working on an indoor or an outdoor fireplace, the steps are the same when it comes to creating concrete surfaces. The only difference is the dimensions and I have to leave you to be able to measure and determine those on your own. Moving forward, I’m referring to steps you would take to create an outdoor fireplace from scratch.
What You’ll Need
A basic fireplace structure would include a back, two sides and a chimney if needed. The back and the front should overlap the sides so that the corners are flush. The front could be a square opening which would mean you need a front facing slab across the bottom, one on each side and one across the top. Of course the design is up to your creative abilities. If you can do arches or some other unique design, have at it.
Once you’ve determined the dimensions of the fireplace you want, you’ll want to pour the slabs that will make up all sides of your fireplace. Using screws, build the pouring area with plywood and 2x4s in the dimensions of the slabs you will need. Reuse molds if you don’t have enough wood for each slab and many of them are going to be the same size. It will take a little longer, but you’ll be able to resurface each slab at a time rather than all at once.
Pour the concrete and let it sit until dry. When the concrete is ready, unscrew the screws and pull the molds apart. Be careful not to break your concrete while you remove them from the mold.
When your concrete slabs are ready, you can begin the concrete resurfacing steps. They are not complex. But, they are different for the different designs you might want to attempt.
Make ultra surface polymer. Spray polymer on each surface with a hopper gun. Trowel over the texture to finish. Apply your colorcoat application. Seal.
When you are applying your colorcoat, that’s the time to be creative. You can prepare surfaces with tape and make different colored sections. You can spot spray different colorcoats so that you can have a simple design like rustic spots mixed with forest green, tan spots mixed on a dark blue surface or whatever your style would be. It’s all up to your creativity.
When you seal, allow to cure for 3 days. Sealant will get in the texture of your concrete and keep water damage from happening. You’ll want to use sealant on fireplace projects in your home as well. You never know when you need protection from water damage.
Build the Fireplace
Raise your slabs and begin putting them together. My method is to reinforce the concrete slabs with a wood structure that acts as the support. Attach the concrete slabs to the wood fireplace structure with stainless steel concrete screws screwed from the inside and only three quarters of the way through the concrete.
Put the two sides in place before you put the back and the front in place. That way, you won’t be fitting the two sides in between the front and the back, but the opposite. You install the back and then start on the sides. For the front, put the bottom slab in place across the bottom. Then, install the two sides in place and then the top.
Your chimney is up to you. Put a slab across the top, put a roof on top of your outdoor fireplace, or build yourself whatever you want. It’s a ventless fireplace so you don’t need a chimney if you don’t want one. You can build one though if it would make you happy.
Install your fireplace insert and you are ready for a wonderful evening around the fireplace. You’ll want to completely plan out your fireplace and make sure that you have the materials you need. So, make sure you consult construction books at your local hardware store. But, this project is completely doable by you and you’ll have some fun creating your designs that will bring you enjoyment for a long time to come.