I am attempting to cut a small piece out of the brick fireplace (already in place) to allow for the expansion of the floating laminate flooring that I am installing. I don’t want to just leave the flooring short of the fireplace (I think this looks very unclean), I don’t want to put any molding across the front of the fireplace (I also think this would look terrible) and I don’t want to fill it with caulk. I also considered purchasing the end cap pieces, but I didn’t think having the trim going in a difference direction than the flooring would look very nice (fireplace is not parallel to the flooring, see image at the end).

enter image description here

I bought a carbide blade (said it would cut through brick on the packaging) for my oscillating tool. When I went to cut the brick, it barely put a dent in it. So I’m not sure if my oscillating tool (1.8A) is just too weak (had it cranked up the whole way) or if I need to go with a grinder and a diamond blade or some other tool.

enter image description here

The tricky part is, the fireplace is in the corner of the room, so I would need something that would get into a tight place. So before I sink any more money into trying things, I wanted to see if anyone had any advice on how to cut this. I was also thinking after making the cut, I would need to somehow chisel out the pieces at the bottom as well (maybe they would break off?).

Any advice would be appreciated.

Here is a zoomed out image if that helps (No I didn’t put in the off center fire place, it was like that when I bought the house).

enter image description here

4 Answers 4


While this will not directly answer your question, I'd like to offer an alternative solution.

Modify Existing Molding

If it were me. I'd get some transition molding, with a profile like this.

Example molding

I'd then set up my table saw to rip the piece, to remove the angle profile on the back edge.

Rip Line

Which would give me a profile like this.

Trimmed molding profile

Once I had my molding ripped to size, I'd create a border around the hearth using 45° butt joints.

Molding frame

When installing the flooring, I'd stop short of the hearth to compensate for my expansion gap and the thickness of the moldings leg (the piece that hangs down). Once the flooring was installed, I'd install my molding.

Final Rendering

The molding allows the floor to expand and contract, while also providing an attractive transition between wood and brick.

Note: If you match the molding color to the flooring color, the transition will be less noticeable.

  • 1
    yes, this is much more practical than cutting brick.
    – DA01
    Jan 22, 2013 at 20:48
  • So you dont think this would look bad if the flooring does not run parallel with the fireplace? If not, I guess this wouldnt be too bad.
    – SwDevMan81
    Jan 22, 2013 at 21:46
  • 1
    @SwDevMan81: The fireplace already isn't parallel to the flooring; the molding won't change that. I think subtle molding is the way to go, and it won't ruin the hearth if you ever decide to do something else or sell the house.
    – Hank
    Jan 22, 2013 at 23:07
  • @Tester101 - How might I cut the end cap piece if it looks like this?
    – SwDevMan81
    Jan 23, 2013 at 16:53
  • @SwDevMan81 You can leave it as is, if you want. If it was me, I'd probably trim it like this just so it has a flat face where it meets the hearth.
    – Tester101
    Jan 23, 2013 at 17:23

Ideally speaking in this situation the tool you need is an electric jamb saw with a dry cut diamond blade. The particular type for this job would run you $400 or so which would be totally impractical for a one time thing. Also cutting brick this way is amazingly dusty, we use a special hepa filtered contractor vac to avoid most of the dust.

You could rent a jamb saw for the task if you want to be throughout. But considering the effort it would take and the mess in your house I would go with the answer above. With brick you have the option of using trim. On a rock fireplace it's more difficult. That is when we undercut with a jamb saw.


Don't cut the brick. It will never look OK. Leave a gap and use molding to cover the gap.

  • 1
    It's often helpful to explain why this might be suggested, even if it might seem obvious. What would the drawbacks be in cutting the brick? Sep 14, 2015 at 20:16

I would make a border of suitable material around the base of the fireplace, and allow the floor to go under the border.

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