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This Warm House

07/23/08

Permalink 03:01:35 pm, by Karen Email , 671 words   English (US)
Categories: Journal

This Warm House

As mentioned previously in another post, we plan on installing a woodstove and using that as our main heat source. We have two kerosene heaters, one in the main house and one in the apartment, but with K-1 at over $5/gallon, we really don't want to use those more than we have to.

In the main house there was already a brick stove hearth. It is a corner hearth with a thimble into the center chimney of the house. We've disconnected the boiler in the basement that was also using this chimney, and now the chimney can be solely used for the woodstove (as it should be).

This is what the hearth looked like when we got here:

The hearth was only about 41 inches deep from the corner out to the edges. It was used previously, we were told, for a small potbelly-type stove. However, when we started looking at woodstoves that were capable of heating the main house, we soon realized that they would not fit very well on that hearth.

At first we were going to just add a hearth extension, using ceramic tile on the floor, to give enough protection in front of any stove we installed (minimum is usually 16 to 18 inches from the door of the stove - note the burn marks in the old carpeting). However, another concern was that the hearth itself is VERY heavy, and we'd already bought and installed jack posts in the basement because of some concern about the support around the chimney. Adding 300lbs of cast iron stove on top of that just seemed a little scary. The more we thought about it, the more it seemed that we should just tear out the hearth and start over. We went to the stove store and talked to the woman there about stoves and clearances and showed her the picture above. She thought tearing it out was probably a good idea too.

Thus, when I got home from the stove store yesterday (Ken went back to work), I grabbed a small steel prybar, and a 24 oz framing hammer, and went to work on the hearth. The base came apart fairly easily, and I thought "this will be a piece of cake". When I got to the walls, however, it became apparent that I was going to have a lot more trouble. I started around 2pm, and by a little after 6pm (Ken was now home and helping carry buckets of bricks and mortar outside) this is where I was at:

Actually, from here on out, it started getting a little easier, for some reason. The lower rows of bricks just started popping out of the cement mortar a bit more readily. By 7:30 we had succeeded in completely removing the old hearth, and had swept and vacuumed up all the bit and pieces:

We removed probably half a ton of material, at least. Most of the bricks came out in one piece so we now have a nice pile of material outside to use for an outdoor fireplace.

The last bit I did this morning which was to pry up all the remaining floor tiles that had been left as a base under the hearth. That only took about 10 minutes.

NOW comes the fun part! We'd already selected and bought some 12 inch ceramic tiles when we were planning to just do a hearth extension, along with the cement board to go underneath (and all the thin-set and grout and tools and what-not). Now we need a couple more pieces of cement board for the walls and more tile to go up the walls to create a non-combustible protected surface. We're going to stay with the tiles we chose for the floor, but are going to pick some coordinating but lighter colored tiles for the walls. Also, you can see where the thimble is that the opening is framed in some dark pieces of wood. We're going to remove those and frame it with tile.

More posts and pics to come as the project progresses!

Sharing ideas from our small farm in NH, where we raise Icelandic sheep and assorted poultry. We are members of ISBONA (Icelandic Sheep Breeders of North America) and the CLRC (Canadian Livestock Records Corporation). We also participate in the Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program (NH54). Contact us at karen [at] birchtreefarm [dot] com. Please also visit the farm website at Birchtree Farm.
Farm Bill
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