DIY projects are always a lot of fun. If your good with your hand sand like a challenge then they’re little better than an outdoor project that will get everyone involved. This summer we decided to add something extra to our bunkhouse cafeteria that would really make it a special place. After some thought, we finally decided on an outdoor fireplace.

It would provide the perfect setting for bringing everyone around while allowing us to stay warm on late nights when those temperatures can really drop. If you’re also thinking of something to add to your home then I couldn’t recommend this project enough. Just know that unless you have experiences with masonry projects and the right tools you’re going to run into a lot of problems and waste a great deal of time and effort. I would recommend Centuria Masonry for all masonry projects in the Vancouver area. Fortunately, a few of us had the expertise to carry it out ourselves. Read on to see how we did it

Step 1. Clearing and setting the foundations

Once we’d chosen the location and cleared the area we began digging to lay the foundations. Since it would be near the bunkhouse the chimney would need to reach high and be built solid for safety. Laying deep foundations so was vital. The higher you build, the more solid the foundations must be, as the fireplace will be really heavy.

Step 2. Set the base and build the firebox

With a strong foundation set, we next began to lay a base on which to construct the firebox. A solid block of 4″ was enough. Once set we began on the bricklaying. When setting firebricks, it’s very important that they are kept level and square so it looks right.

Step 3. Building the throat

This was a tricky part and where previous masonry experience really showed. The opening needs to be closed off to form the exit for the flue. By cobbling the bricks, we closed it off until we were left with a small opening. We used a steel angle iron to hold the bricks in place while the mortar set.

Step 4. Raising the flute

Once the mortar was set we began on the flute. We placed our first liner in a bed of mortar and slid the flute over it. This was repeated until we had the desired height.

Step 5. Set the stones

We all had fun with this part. We had already selected the stones to use and began to the process of setting them up around the fireplace. We wanted a natural look to suit the surroundings so we only used stone rather than bricks. Each one was set in mortar and then stacked together. One stone over two and two over one. All the spaces between the stones were filled with mortar to make it as solid as possible. Once the mortar has set it was raked from the joints and the stones polished smooth so they looked as natural as possible.

Cold nights aren’t so cold now with our new fireplace. It’s proven a magnet for everyone not to mention bonding us better from completing a project together.