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Wow, I am SO glad you’re here because today I’m sharing a HUGE transformation DIY project using Airstone! We were able to transform the gas fireplace completely. Brandon and I had been working on this project for quite awhile (we both have busy schedules). To be honest, it took a bit of convincing him to use Airstone because he just wasn’t sold on the idea of using faux brick. However, after he seen what the Airstone looked like in real life (at Lowe’s) he was completely sold on it, right away. It looks and feels like real brick, and it has the durability of real stone, except it’s 70% lighter than actual stone. This can also be installed directly onto your wall.
I would like to thank Airstone for providing us with the product in order to make this EPIC DIY Transformation!
All together we had over 10 hours of video footage and somehow I was able to compile it down into a comprehensive (hopefully) easy to understand video and you get to see the total transformation in under 6 minutes.
You will need:
You may also need*
If you’re going over tile and onto your wall and want your design to be the same depth all the way up to the ceiling (like we did)*
3″ construction screws
Paintable silicone caulk
Dremel tool or grinder
Directions + Tips:
We have a gas fireplace. So we took the fireplace casing off in order to go behind it with the Airstone rather around it. Because the depth of the Airstone is bringing the surface out an inch, we had to move the fireplace and the frame for it, out by an inch.
You have to decide what you want to do with yours and how you want it to look. It all depends on your setup and your preferences.
My brother helped us by removing all the wood trim because it was no longer needed. We needed a clean slate so we removed all the trim and the old mantle.
We didn’t want to just go over the tile, but we wanted to bring it all the way up to the ceiling. So Brandon marked a straight line using a level, on both sides following the same vertical line of the tile. You could also use a chalk line for this step.
We got 8 boxes of Airstone and ended up using 10 boxes all together.
We used 6 boxes of flat edge and 4 boxes of finished edge.
The got the shade in Autumn Mountain.
When you open the box you will see that each tone is wrapped in a different color of plastic. There are always 12 packs of stone to a carton.
8 packs cream (wrapped in red)
2 packs caramel brown (wrapped in blue)
2 packs latte brown (wrapped in grey)
We used 3 gallons of Airstone adhesive in total. We used a hacksaw to cut the pieces. You could also use a masonry blade (a blade without teeth) to cut your Airstone. Make sure you’re wearing a dust mask when you make your cuts.
I laid out the pattern beforehand. I applied the adhesive using a putty knife to each stone and handed them to Brandon as needed, so it made the process a lot faster.
- Airstone has their own pre-made adhesive that you use for application. It is soft and creamy, like whipped icing; so it’s really easy to handle and apply. Apply it thick -like you’re icing a cupcake, not like you’re buttering toast.
Starting at the outer edge with a finished stone, and working our way in to the fireplace opening, Brandon pushed each brick into the tile to secure it and then removed the excess Adhesive-making sure it was level.
- Make sure to continue checking that it’s level. Also be sure your level is clean because if the Airstone adhesive gets onto the level it can cause an inaccurate reading.
- We used a hack saw to trim down the pieces. You could also use a masonry blade.
To create a finished edge, use the beveled piece as the last stone of the row, and use its mate anywhere as primary stone. When you’re installing, just be sure to stagger the vertical seams (like brick), because that’s when you get the most natural appearance. We weren’t very mindful of that in the beginning and a lot of our vertical seams were lining up.
Thankfully We were able to remove some of the pieces so that we had more stagger seams.
Just be careful and mindful because if you wait too long you’re not going to be able to get it off. The more you do, the easier it gets.
- If you get the adhesive on the face of the stone you should always try to clean it off BEFORE it dries. So make sure you have a wet rag on hand.
- If it’s too late, try dampening the adhesive with a washcloth. Try to keep it very damp for at least 30 minutes or longer until it starts to loosen up. You should then be able to scrub the adhesive off using more water and a soft toothbrush.
When we got to the overhead line we shored up the surface underneath the tile line with Airstone adhesive so when we run the Airstone across, it would be flush.
- We allowed the adhesive to dry completely so that it was solid when we placed the stone over it.
We continued the same process of applying the airstone until we got to the height when we wanted to add our mantle. We custom made our mantle to acquire the depth of the Airstone for under $100. You can check out that blog post here DIY Custom Mantle for Airstone
Airstone can be installed directly onto your wall. But in order to maintain the depth of the Airstone as it was placed over the tile, we decided to place 1/2” plywood above the tile line to maintain that depth.
We kept the TV mount on the wall and went around the wall mount. Brandon cut a hole for the wall mount in the plywood and then secured it into the wall studs using 3“ screws. We used a stud finder to find the studs beforehand and mapped them out with a pencil.
- It’s extremely important to make sure that you get this plywood onto the wall securely. Put more than enough screws and make sure they’re all going directly into a stud.
From the side, you can see the tile behind it. Most people won’t have this problem if they’re adhering straight to the wall.
- Paintable silicone caulk can be used to hide that, which is what we plan on doing.
- You could decide to go with a straight edge and trim it out; it’s up to you!
We like that the edges look finished and didn’t want to trim it so we are going to conceal it with paintable silicone caulk after we can decide on a new paint color. *While I’m here, any suggestions for paint colors for the wall are gladly welcomed and appreciated!*
Because there was more cream pieces than the darker pieces, we made sure to stay consistent. For every 2 creams we added a dark one. We maintained a 2:1 ratio for the entire project. Continue to make sure you’re level.
After we finished with the last row on that sheet of plywood, we placed another sheet of 1/2 “ plywood above it that Brandon had cut to fit around the wood beams. He screwed it into the studs and we applied the Airstone over it, continuing the pattern of a 2:1 ratio.
Thankfully we were able to line up all the rows without needing to make any special cuts or carves around the wood beam and it fit perfectly up to the height of the ceiling. But, If you need to go around an irregular or circular shape, you can “carve” AirStone fairly easily, if you have a dremel tool or some type of grinder. If there are any gaps you can fill them with a paintable silicone caulk.
Moving onto the hearth. We added a 2” piece of solid trim at the very bottom. This not only gave it a finished look, but we added it there in case we wanted to change out the flooring later on.
The stone on the hearth was applied the exact same way except we had to make a 90 degree corner.
- Start with your corner.
- To make a 90 degree corner, pair the rolled edge piece with its mirror-imaged primary stone mate (the contours will match), to create a two-piece corner.
- It’s very important that you don’t open the individual plastic packs until you are ready to use them. That’s because the rolled edge piece has a mate right across from it in the pack and you will want to make sure you keep them together so they don’t get mixed up.
We rotated between the rolled edge piece and the mirrored-image stone so that the seams are staggered. Install your corner stones first. Make sure the edge of all the stones are square to one another.
I’m not going to lie. We were both a little intimidated at first, more-so Brandon because I had already worked with Airstone before so I knew what I was getting into. But after you get the project started and get the feel for it, it gets easier. We are so happy and pleased with the outcome of this project. It took awhile to complete (much longer than it should have because we are both so busy) but it was so worth it! It looks so beautiful now and we can’t wait to light a fire up this Winter and enjoy our new fireplace.
I would like to thank Airstone again for providing us with the stone in order to make this transformation possible to share with all of you!
Airstone and the Airstone adhesive is available at Lowe’s Home Improvement store
So now that I have talked on and on, I want to hear from you! What do you think? Is Airstone something you would consider?
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