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Susan Latta
Susan Latta, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 111
Experience:  Licensed Contractor and Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer
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We have a fireplace surround, slate or marble? that came

Customer Question

We have a fireplace surround, slate or marble? that came away from the wall when we were removing the old back panel. What is the best way to fix it back to the wall?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Susan Latta replied 1 year ago.
Hi my name is ***** ***** I can assist you with your question.I'm curious as to why the fireplace restoration company wants to take the entire fireplace with them when you just want it attached back into place??! Hmm! Did I understand that correctly?I need help visualizing your fireplace. You call it a surround, which to me could mean a mantle, wood mouldings, and rock, stone, or tile. It could also mean to me that large slabs of rock or sheets, such as marble, granite, or tile, are installed in a vertical application on the wall without any wood mouldings at all. There are other applications, but I suspect that one of these 2 are posing the issue?Would it be possible to send a photo or two to help me visualize what you are experiencing? If not, maybe you can define which application is used to create your fireplace surround? Thank you!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Susan
Please see attached picture which shows the fireplace surround that we want to fix back onto the wall. We will also be fitting a new gas fire and back panel as existing do not meet modern safety regulations.
Expert:  Susan Latta replied 1 year ago.
Oh my, I re-read my note and it is full of typos!! Embarrrrasssing!! Delete that one and I'll try again:Great photos! Thanks! Love the simple detailing of the fireplace mantle!It looks like it's painted wood on this end however. Yes? No?I would be a poor instructor if I didn't ask you first, what material is behind the fireplace mantle to attach the mantle to? Is it studs of the stud wall? Can you stick a flashlight in the crack and see studs?Secondly, can you tell how it was fastened before it became loose from the wall? Can you see if it was nailed, screwed, or glued with adhesive? Something was holding it there and then couldn't any longer.Seeing the photos makes me wonder if the weight of the stove on it's "belly" like it is, if that could have caused the mantle to pull away from the wall over time. (?? it's possible). What do you think?So the question is, how do you attach it back?1. First, try to see how it was attached previously and where. And copy that method. However what I'm afraid of, is that that's easier said than done! And because the way mantles are constructed and installed to HIDE most screws and nails used, you may have to "toenail" it on the outside with a long screw going in far enough to hit a stud. I can't guarantee perfection with that! And you will forever see the screw.2. If the mantle is wood, try taking off the bare wood top, and then going in and toenailing the mantle to a stud that way. You wouldn't see your screws this way. I could be wrong, but it looks fairly easy to pull the top off and then you can use small finish nails to nail it back on. 3. Use screws rather than nails for the heavy work, because nails have a tendency to pull away over time, and screws won't.4. the last option is to use Liquid Nail to glue it back into place.....but you'll have to put something super heavy in front to hold it strongly in place until the glue dries.I don't like the option of toenailing it on the outside, but do like the option of pulling the top off and getting inside the boxed in areas to screw it tightly back to the wall. IF THE MANTLE IS ACTUAL ROCK, then you will have to take the top off and look inside. Usually there are "tabs" that are used, along with major screws to secure the rock piece to the wall. These are extremely heavy. I'm sure adhesives are used also.Curious though if there is another installation method you could use for the firebox? What if you attached the firebox to the wall and created a pretty surround going around it with some of the fabulous and interesting mosaic tiles you see today? Said another way....why does the firebox have to be installed on top of the wood? Why can't it be installed behind the wood in the "pocket" that's already there?I hope this was helpful for you! If you need more time with getting answers, feel free to ask additional questions. Thank you for coming to Just Answer to get your questions answered!SusanIf you feel I have addressed your concerns, please be so kind as to rate my answer with positive feedback; this is the only way I receive recognition from the site for my assistance. Thank you very much!Providing a positive rating, will not end our conversation, should you have additional questions surrounding this topic. Simply click on “Reply” to write back and I am happy to continue with no additional charges.
Expert:  Susan Latta replied 1 year ago.
Hi this is Susan from Just Answer. Did you have success in attaching your mantle back to the wall?Curious here on this end....Please don't forget to give my response a rating. Thank you!