When we built our home, my wife and I chose a two-sided fireplace that can be enjoyed both inside our home, or outside while outside on our covered patio. The trouble is the fireplace vents to the outside, and the rising heat would damage the television mounted above.
I was talking with one of my contractors, Mike Ehrler of Fieldstone Products in St. Louis, and told him about our issue. I had a feeling he would have a solution because Mike’s crews actually built a really cool stone veneer mantel above our great room fireplace. We only use the outdoor fireplace a few times a year, so I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a fix. I wanted something simple, good looking, and inexpensive. That wasn’t asking too much was it?
Ehrler told me he had recently found a solution to this problem as it is one that is experienced by many homeowners. Ehrler said, “When I was introduced to the product, my wheels started turning. I went down to Nashville, Tennessee to go through the product demonstration and get their necessary training to become a dealer. Once I did that, I began coming up with different things that we could use it for. One of the current, most popular reasons for this product has been a need for a non-combustible product that will deflect heat off television sets placed above fireplaces.”
Ehrler went on to say, “The product that we use is Permacrete. It is a decorative concrete coating that goes over many, many substrates. It is a non-combustible coating that has many uses. We use it for our custom hearths, mantels, concrete counter tops, pool decks, driveways, sidewalks, patios, and all sorts of custom applications. We have done wine cellar floors and front porch steps.”
The product sounded perfect for our situation, and I asked Mike to build a mantel that we could hang over our fireplace. Mike took the measurements on-site, then had the mantel fabricated at his showroom and warehouse. He told me, “We typically use two different framing methods for our mantels and hearths. We either frame them with metal studs and concrete board or use lightweight concrete, depending on weight and customer preference.” My mantle was framed using metal studs and concrete board, and the coating was applied with a re-enforced mesh.
It only took his crews a couple hours to remove the existing stone veneer on our fireplace surround, paint, and install the new mantle. It was quick, clean, and looks great. But best of all, the new mantle now protects our television from the fireplace heat. Ehrler added, “We can do simple colors or custom colors.”
The average mantel costs between $275 and $400 (without installation) depending upon size and coloring. There are also many options when it comes to the finished edges.
This fall I can enjoy my outdoor fireplace without having to worry about rising heat damaging my television. I couldn’t be more pleased and wanted to share my findings with others. In fact, as a custom home builder, I’m always looking for new and useful products to share with my clients. This is definitely one!