- Decide how large you want your mantel to be, taking into consideration the room's size and proportions. Outline the dimensions in painter's tape.
- Determine how far you want the stone mantel to extend. Mark its footprint on the floor in masking tape.
- Cut your metal lath sheets to dimensions that will fit inside the marked-off area inside the painter's tape, both against the wall and on the floor. This will act as a base for the mortar, allowing for a sturdier and more durable fireplace.
- Nail the metal lath to the wall and floor. Remove the painter's tape.
- Mix your mortar. Start at the bottom left corner of your mantel. Apply mortar to the stone you want to go in that spot, and then apply the stone.
- Apply a stone to the bottom right corner of the mantel. This will give you two points of reference as you apply the first row of stones.
- Apply a generous layer of mortar with your trowel as you lay each stone. Apply mortar in-between the stones. Smooth the mortar in-between the stones with your hand.
- Apply the stones in horizontal rows, always starting at the wall moving from one corner to another. This is a building pattern that will keep your fireplace structure stable.
- Wipe any excess mortar off with a damp cloth. If the metal lath is visible at the edges, apply a layer of grout to cover it. Allow the mortar to dry for at least 48 hours.
How To Build a River Rock Fireplace
River rock is a beautiful material that is ideal for a fireplace, especially in a home with rustic or country-style decor. With only a couple days of hard work, you can create your own beautiful river rock fireplace. It is a fairly easy and inexpensive project.