Tuesday, 13 January 2009

D.I.Y. - LESSON #27

It has been quiet in the Troy household since the New Year. In many ways that is a blessing but leaves little inspiration for blogging purposes. So today I'm bringing you "Do It Yourself Lesson #27" in a series of DIY lessons starting after #26 and ending before #28.

This lesson explains how you can change a wooden fire surround for a stone fire surround for less than £35. In today's economic climate this is a valuable lesson.

When we bought our house there was one feature that we did not like. Our living room featured a coal effect gas fire in a large black fireplace with a dark wood surround. As a picture paints a thousand words and to save me typing a longer description, here is a photo of said fireplace:-

Maybe you like it. Obviously the people who had installed it must have liked it (?) but Mrs Troy and I didn't. It went on our list of "things to change at some stage in the future". After we had settled in we started to look at new fireplaces. The gas fire itself is fine and we were not fussed about changing it. Even the black mantle was okay, it was just the wooden surround that was not to our particular taste. We quickly discovered that fire mantles came in a variety of widths and heights. At this point I should explain that Troy is more an ideas man than a practical DIYer. In fact in our household I concentrate on concepts, ideas and the finances and Mrs Troy does the practical things. Hence when improving our garden (see earlier posting) I was more the designer and Mrs Troy the digger of borders. Even when it came to having a family I made the initial contribution but Mrs Troy delivered the project. It took her nine months, but I digress. The problem we found was that if a new fire mantle was larger than the existing one then we would have to make adjustments to the skirting board. This could get messy and involve lots of redecoration. Or if the new one was smaller there would be a gap left in the skirting board. This again would test our DIY ability. All the fire surrounds we saw were either too big or too small. The project was "on hold".

Then one day whilst surfing the internet I came across some "stone effect paint". It was especially developed for wooden fire surrounds. At less than £35 for the undercoat and top coat (2 tins) I thought this was worth a gamble, better than spending well in excess of £1,000. So I bought the product online and it arrived the next day. Mrs Troy and I together put on the undercoat which was a strange goey mess. As I had to be away from home for a few days after that I left Mrs Troy to finish the project, whilst I phoned for regular progress reports (being a diligent staff manager). The top, stone-effect coat has to be put on by building up about four layers whilst allowing each layer to dry between applications. Mrs Troy reported that she was pleased with the outcome. On my return home I was greeted with this:

We were both very happy with the outcome. It is much less dominant than before. When we had visitors we would ask them if they liked our new stone fireplace. Oh what fun we had when we told them it was wooden! I feel the £35 gamble paid off very well. Without my internet surfing I suspect we would still be looking at our old firesurround.

23 comments:

Lane said...

Good gamble. I 'embiggened' the second photo and sure enough, there was a stone fireplace. It looks lovely.

And well done Mrs Troy for such a good job:-)

Kitty said...

Cool project! I didn't know you could get paint which looked like stone - isn't the interweb a wonderful place?!

x

Troy said...

Lane - wow, a comment within 5 minutes of me posting. Are you watching me through my study window? Thanks for the positive response. Mrs Troy may be available via Troy Enterprises to undertake similar projects.

Kitty - I would be lost without the internet. Youngsters, like Troy Junior, will take it for granted. But we can count it as a special blessing.

Granny on the Web said...

The hand of fate must be on me today. I am just wandering around in blogs and admiring the genius of some folks writing and then I spotted fireplace pic' on yours. Instant 'stand to attention', as we mere
Sussex dwellers are always interested in DIY ideas. This one we will copy for definite! How brilliant it has turned out. Pat on back Mrs Troy.

Ladybird World Mother said...

Do you think, far into the mists of the future, that someone living in your house will think, I hate that fire place, and go on the web and find a paint that looks like wood? Nice job, Mr and Mrs Troy. Dont you just love it when something like that works so satisfactorily... particularly like the 'pot of paint' look on the side of the photo.

Troy said...

GotW - welcome, now you have made me feel guilty that the DIY lessons are starting and ending with #27.
Link should you need it is
www.charlesproducts.co.uk

LWM - I suspect far into the mists of the future it will be a Grade 2 listed stone effect wooden fireplace

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I was going to say that I think the first picture is gorgeous. But I wasn't sure about the surround.

However, the surround in stone is absolutely beautiful and matches perfectly with the rest of the fireplace. What a good DIYer you really are. Oh and a similar thing happened to us with the dining room fireplace; instead of replacing it and spending well in excess of £1000, we painted it and it came up trumps.

CJ xx

Elaine said...

I've got a nasty, wooden fireplace too. (Yours was so much nicer.) Can you send Mrs Troy over to sort mine out please?

Debs said...

Very impressive. It certainly looks like stone to me.

Troy said...

CJ - thanks for your comment and I'm pleased to hear of your similar success.

Elaine - if you lived nearer we'd give it a go. See my earlier response above for the website of the paint manufacturer (I believe only they retail it) and if you decide to give it a go then let us know.

Debs - we only tried it as a gamble fully expecting it to look awful so we were delighted with the result.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

I think even the Romans would be fooled...if they ever were return Dr. Who-like and check out your fireplace! :)

Troy said...

Hadriana - perhaps Hadrian's wall is actual wood? Although it would take more than £35 to paint it. I'm very tempted to try the stone effect paint on something else - like an old car.

If anyone has a good idea for something else to have the stone effect paint treatment then please let me know.

DJ Kirkby said...

Looks like marble! Is Mrs Troy thinking of offering her DIY talent to the wider blogopshere?

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Well now that is just too neat, as the yanks say!

Troy said...

DJ - it has a rough stone feel to it in real life (like sandpaper). I will pass on your comment to Mrs Troy - so long as it doesn't interfere with her cooking and ironing I am cool with the idea!

Sarah - why thank you ma'am!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

I hate DIY! Few shelves stay up more than a week. Dont let my wife see your blog or she'll be on to me for weeks. (I have a friend nearly camping at my house. He's not allowed just to sit at home.) My godson I'd just the same. come to think of it, thats why my house is full of estranged men drinking tea!

Rob Clack said...

I rather liked the wooden surround, but the stone-effect one is much better. Good shout!

Er...is that the arse-end of a model T-rex to the lower right?

Troy said...

Ken - you should practise LYWDI (Let Your Wife Do It). You direct and encourage but she does the grafting.

Rob - I'm sure some people will actually prefer the wood. You have spotted the rear end of Troy Junior's robodinosaur - which he has hardly bothered playing with.

Trixie said...

Looks great! Mrs Troy did a fab job...but do you really think she'll buy the excuse that of saving hundreds of pounds because you surf the internet all day? ;p

Obviously not surfing much today...cause you haven't had a go at me WW! :(

Troy said...

Trixie - thanks for reminding me about your WW. I had a nice long walk on the beach today so I haven't surfed the internet as much as usual (but the day is still young).

mutleythedog said...

I for one preferred it as it was...

Troy said...

Mutley - we welcome comments from all ranges of taste here. (Good and bad).

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Actually some bits of Hadrian's Wall were made from turf. They had to go back and rebuild those bits with stone. (No planners meeting at the beginning you see!) There is a new theory that pointy bits of wood were positioned on the North side of the wall to deter the Scots. Looking at your latest entry (Wake up England!) no doubt you'll be advocating their reintroduction. (Personally I know a lot of Scots who are as sick as you are over the mess we are in! :) )