Our Fireplace Renovation Part 1: Demo Day

If you've seen our "Projects" page you've seen the 1970's rock on the outside of our house. Lucky for us, this same rock graced our fireplace surround too. Ughhh. We joke that there was a massive sale on this rock and the builder of our home decided to buy it ALL up. We will share our step-by-step process of this massive undertaking.
  1. First we prepped our space for demolition. We had an idea of what we wanted our new fireplace to look like but we needed to remove the rock to see what was behind it to give us a better idea of what we were working with.
Here is what the valve looked like
after we demoed the rock around it. 
  •  We covered our floors with plywood and taped the opening to the kitchen and entry way with plastic to contain the dust. And let me tell you, it was DUSTY. It looked like a scene from Dexter but it saved me hours of cleaning by prepping the space.
  • 😷Safety tip: In the State of CA we have Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) as a gas provider. They come out to your home for free to check all of your gas appliances once a year. We had PG&E out to check our fireplace (and all other gas appliances) for leaks before we started demo. Lucky we did because the valve for the gas had a leak in it. 😒 And guess what...the only way to replace the valve was to demo the rock!! Apparently these valves just degrade over time and its common for them to leak. Needless to say the project turned from we want to remodel it to we need remodel it very quickly.
  • We also had our chimney swept before we started demolition. 
  • Check out the video below.

2. After everything was prepped, we went to Home Depot (HD). Did you know that HD rents tools? The only way we were going to be able to demo this massive REAL (not faux rock!) extremely heavy rock as was if we rented a demolition hammer. 
  •  HD rents demo hammers for 4 hours or 24 hours. We rented it for around $40 for four hours. We choose the 11 lb demo hammer so that it wasn't so heaving that we couldn't lift it up while on a ladder.
  • We took the tool home and started at the top chiseling away at the mortar in between the rocks. Starting at the top is best and requires two people. As you chisel away, you need someone there to catch the rocks before they come loose. Some of these rocks weigh up to 50 lbs so they really shouldn't be falling on the floor.
  • Check out the video of my husband and Dad chiseling away at the rocks below.
3. Once we removed all the rock around the rock, we started to demo the health as well. We didn't know if we were going to keep the hearth but the rock and the tile along the hearth would need to to be demoed as well. 

4. We removed all the rock and exposed the sloppy brick work and wood studs for the exterior wall. Part of us hoped that under the '70's rock was pretty brick fireplace all the way up the wall but there was no such luck!

Watch out for our next post: Our Fireplace Renovation Part 2: Evaluating our Fireplace Options to see what we did next!