Stone Veneer Fireplace – Winchester, MA

Stone Veneer Fireplace – Winchester, MA

At this home renovation in Winchester, MA, the original brick fireplace is looking outdated and the owners would like to replace it with a stone veneer fireplace.  The new fireplace will be built out from the wall, and carried to the ceiling to give a more substantial/authentic appearance that mimics a full height stone chimney.

Stone Fireplace - Installation

Stone Veneer Fireplace – Before

Stone Veneer Fireplace – Installation

The first step is to build the firebox with brick and block.  Special fire brick goes inside the fireplace so that they won’t crack under heat, and concrete block is used to build the rest.  The upper portion of the fireplace face is carried to the ceiling with wood framing, and covered with cement board.  A reclaimed wooden barn beam will be installed as the mantle.  And a slab of blue granite will be used for the hearth.

Stone Fireplace Installation - Winchester, MA

Stone Fireplace Installation, MA

Stone Fireplace – Thin Stone Veneer

Once the fireplace is blocked and framed, the veneer stone can be installed.  This particular stone is a thin veneer product.  The stone is sourced locally and then sawn to about 1″ thick at a manufacturing facility. The stones are then mortared right to the backing with a special high bond mortar.  Thin veneer can be cheaper and more convenient in certain situations, and, when done right can look just like natural, full thickness stone.

The veneer stone is fit tightly without mortar in the joints to give a dry laid look.  The stone must be fit carefully and often chipped and cut to achieve the tight joints.  We also try to keep the stones running mostly level to mimic an authentic stacked stone look.

Stone Veneer Fireplace, MA

Stone Veneer Fireplace, MA

Stone Veneer Fireplace, MA

Stone Veneer Fireplace, MA

Stone Veneer Fireplace – Completion

The veneer stone is carried to the ceiling, wrapped around the corners, and the fireplace is complete.  Electrical conduit and a mounting plate has been left for a tv, and the reclaimed mantle will be stained to match the surrounding wood.

The resulting fireplace will provide a handsome, central feature for this home with a timeless natural stone look.

Stone Veneer Fireplace, MAStone Veneer Fireplace, MA

Stone Veneer Fireplace, MA

Stone Veneer Fireplace, MA

Stone Veneer Fireplace, MA

Stone Veneer Fireplace, MA

Stone Veneer Fireplace, MAStone Veneer Fireplace, MA

Drystack Stone Wall – Lincoln, MA

Drystack Stone Wall – Lincoln, MA

At this property in Lincoln, MA we are hired to build a free standing stone wall along the edge of the property.  Road salt and snow plows keep plants or shrubs from growing here, so, a stone wall instead will give visual appeal and create a barrier between the yard and the road.

The owners decide on a drystack stone wall which will match the local/traditional style, and be most cost effective to build.

Drystack Stone Wall – Construction

To build the wall we first dig a shallow trench along the length and fill the base with gravel.  We use the largest stones for the first course, and build up from there, saving larger flat stones for the cap.

Our stone comes from a private farm in MA.  Many of the stones are harvested from old farms walls and have a darker, and often mossy/weathered appearance.  We aim to use local material in the traditional method so that our stone wall compliments the local aesthetics.

The wall is drystacked without any use of mortar.  We use gravity to hold the wall together by stacking the stones first for strength.  This means tying the bulk of the stone back into the wall instead of tipping the largest flattest face to the front.  We are not shaping the stones with hammer and chisel, or focusing on perfectly tight joints.  But rather focusing on building a fast, sturdy, and traditional looking stone wall.

Fieldstone Delivery

Dry Stone Wall - Base Course

Dry Stone Wall – Base Course

Stone Wall Installation

Stone Wall Installation

Drystack Stone Wall – Completion

The wall is 150′ long by 2.5 high and will take about 60 tons (3 trailer loads) of fieldstone to complete.  The works takes a couple of weeks and comes together nicely.  It will be an attractive visual feature and also an effective barrier for kids, balls, and pets from the busy road.

The wall being drystacked is very easy to repair in case of damage from plow or vehicle.  And just like it’s origin, these stones are entirely re-usable and have the same value if ever the wall needs to come down and the stone used somewhere else.

 

 

 

 

Paver Driveway Installation – Bedford, MA

Paver Driveway Installation – Bedford, MA

At this home in Bedford, MA we are replacing an old asphalt driveway with a paver driveway.  Pavers are a manufactured concrete product that are colored and textured to look nice, are thick and sturdy enough for vehicle traffic, and cost less than natural brick or stone.  We will also be edging portions of the driveway with granite cobble stone, and installing a step and walkway to the front door.

Paver Driveway - Bedford, MA

Bedford, MA

Paver Driveway – Prep

When installing a paver driveway the most important part is the prep.  With the weight of a vehicle you must make sure that there is a sturdy, properly compacted base so the pavers do not shift or settle.  To do this we excavate a full foot or until all organic matter is gone, and we are down to solid, well drained subsoil.  We then compact the subsoil with a heavy compactor, and start laying the base material.  The base material is a mix of crushed stone and stone dust.  It does not drain as well as pure crushed stone, but, it does compact better which is the primary concern in this case.  The base material is compacted in 2″ lifts to ensure proper compaction.

Paver Driveway - Bedford, MA

Bedford, MA

Paver Driveway – Installation

Once the base is prepped a thin layer of sand is used to achieve final level.  The pavers go down on the sand in the specified pattern, and the edges are secured with either cobbles stones or spiked plastic edging.  Once all the pavers are in, polymeric sand is swept into the joints.  This is a very find sand that has adhesive mixed into it.  When wet down for the first time the polymeric sand will set and harden.  This will keep the joints from washing out, and is meant to discourage weeds and ants.  Once the joint sand is swept in we run the compactor over the pavers again to make sure they are set and compacted, and to vibrate the joint sand down into the joints.

Paver Driveway Installation - Bedford, MA

Paver Driveway Installation – Bedford, MA

 

Paver Driveway Installation - Bedford, MA

Paver Driveway Installation – Bedford, MA

Paver Driveway Installation - Bedford, MA

Paver Driveway Installation – Bedford, MA