“Just discovered your blog while searching for concrete hearth stones. Michele and I have also been searching for the right stone and have looked at granite, slate, etc. We think we’re going to go with the low cost concrete alternative. Have you finished the hearth and any pics? Would love to see how yours turned out.”
I realized it would make a great reader request update and immediately went to work taking photos. Hope this helps you out!
First things first, we really enjoy our concrete hearth. Post pour we had planned to seal the hearth as it was. After the concrete cured we realized we had a mild dusting issue on the very top surface of the concrete which led us to change our plans to polish the hearth instead. Polishing would expose the stones within the concrete for a smooth salt and pepper look. The more we talked the more we realized we actually liked the look of the raw rough surface if we took just a wire brush to it. The decision to forgo the polish step was solidified, and we don’t regret it at all.
The rough rustic nature goes well with our reclaimed pine floors and our design preferences in general. We easily could polish the hearth in the future (after not so easily removing the wood stove again), but I can’t imagine that we will. For a finish, we used Thompsons Water Sealer. Andy can’t remember how many coats he did, but it wasn’t many.
As far as any issues we’ve had with the hearth there has only been one…ish, and one we don’t care in the least about. To be honest, I’m not sure I would even classify it as an “issue”.
Once we put the wood stove on the hearth, which was task in and of itself, we adjusted it. As we did the adjustment the stove came off the planks we were using and it scratched the hearth. It’s not even a gouge, just a surface scrape. The white is just a light dust that shows up when you scrape concrete in general. If we touched those with a damp cloth they wouldn’t show up as prominently when they dried. As you can tell, we haven’t done that because it bothers us that little. You can get a better glimpse of it in the photo below. The white dots in the photo below are ash. The scratches are directly by the legs.
Over all, we’re really happy with the concrete and we’d absolutely do it the same way if we had to do it all over again. No doubts about it. It saved us a ton of money, it fits our style, it suits the need, and it looks nice. The difference in color in the photo below is because the light was streaming in and hitting the hearth. It’s uniform in color.
Hearth aside, I’ve also been asked if the wood stove being in this location means the other areas of the house are cold. 99% no. The 1% is the toilet seat in the bathroom. Even when that room was heated with oil when we first moved in, the toilet seat would be pretty cold. Let’s just say this – it wakes you up in the morning. The upstairs bedroom on the road side is slightly chillier in the morning than the master but that’s often because we keep that door shut, and because the master bedroom is directly above the living room. The heat not only comes up the stairs to get in the room, but it also resonates through the floor. The house in total stays toasty warm with just this stove. It’s going to be even toastier once we fix all of the insulation in the original house. We also have a monitor heater in the same room which will kick on at a certain temperature. This helps keep the house comfortable enough when we’re gone that the pipes won’t freeze. It never kicks on as long as the wood stove is going though. Even when the wood stove goes out it takes a long time for the house to drop low enough for the heater to kick in.
I hope all of that helps! If there’s anything else you guys want to seen an update on let me know in the comments below. There must be other things I need to tie up the loose ends on!