What is cooler than a really nice pool and patio? A really nice pool and patio that also has FIRE!
By Patrick Kenney, a Southampton pool installer:
In this step-by-step mini project I will walk you through our steps for building this one of a kind outdoor fireplace custom made using Colonial Blue Wallstone, Indian Sandstone, and Pennsylvania Bluestone. The object of this build was to make a fireplace with a good amount of ornate detail, similar to the “paver kit” fireplaces that can be purchased as a step by step kit that includes all parts needed, except we wanted to do this ourselves using unfinished stone. This means we would cut and finish each piece of stone in this project to make it what we need to build the fireplace.
The first step in this project is to make a good footing. At Patrick’s Pools, any masonry structure that we make that comes vertically off the ground will always start with a footing that is 30 inches deep within the ground. This may sound ridiculous to a novice but to someone who knows a bit about masonry here in the Northeast, this will sound like a very well built foundation. The reason to go down 30 inches before building up at all, is to start the structure beneath the frost line. Any concrete structure that starts higher than 30″ within the ground will at some point, on some very cold day, have the ground freeze beneath it. When this happens the structure will heave (move) upwards. This is when cracking can occur since the structure may not move evenly. A good foundation is very important. The second step in our project is to build the walls for our fireplace and wood cubbies. We also left a “trap door” exit in the back of the wall and floor for easy future ash cleanup.
Next we build forms for our tops of wood cubbies and fireplace. We support or forms from beneath. They will be pulled out once the concrete tops have cured. The top walls of the fireplace chamber need to be angled less than 45 degrees downward in order to hold up the flue pipe and chimney weight long term.
It is very important that the top of the firebox chamber and top of the cubby holes are strong. The top walls of the firebox chamber need to hold up the massive weight of the flue pipe and chimney, and the wood cubbies at some point will most likely have heavy planters sitting on them, not to mention people walking on them. To give the concrete the strength it needs we install a 1/2″ rebar cage, just as we would while building a gunite pool.
Next step is to pour our proprietary concrete blend on our forms to create our chamber and wood cubby tops.
Next remove our forms and install our flue pipe and chimney.
Next we custom cut all of our Pennsylvania Bluestone to create our Crown, Mantel shelf, and Hearth. The Crown and Hearth were cut into shape then rounded using a cup wheel. All of our cut stone was then textured by running a thermal torch over it to get rid of any evidence that it was cut with a blade. Below is out custom Mantel Shelf.
Here we have installed our custom made Mantel Shelf and our Bluestone coping tops for the wood cubbies.
Next we install our Colonial Blue Wall Stone as a veneer on the fireplace. We install a diamond shaped Indian Sand Stone on all four sides of our chimney as an accent within the wall stone.
Our final step is to fill between our Colonial Blue Wall Stone with our dyed grout mixture.
Here is the finished product. A beautiful fireplace created completely out of natural stone by Patricks Pools Inc. This poolside fireplace is an amazing relaxation in the late afternoon or early evening. A great place for the family or friends to gather around and relax.