Please note: I did find this very similar question but believe ours is different since its unclear how far beneath the hardwood flooring the hearth goes.

Here is our current fireplace with a concrete hearth consisting of big ugly (our opinion) bluish and reddish stones: enter image description here

I want to tear out just the "hearth" (the stone on the floor) and replace it with some more modern stone (e.g., give it a more modern look).

As far as tearing it out, any recommended approaches other than just breaking it up with a sledge hammer? I guess I'm wondering if hearths are typically glued or fastened to subflooring (or underlayment?) and what headaches I might run into trying to tear it out. Any ideas or is this super simple smash and trash?

  • 2
    do not use sledge hammer, be more surgical
    – Traveler
    Nov 7, 2022 at 23:07
  • 1
    use dermal tool with diamond blade and cut along the joists, then use chisel and hammer to remove them. Expected tile high 1/2 to 3/4 inch
    – Traveler
    Nov 7, 2022 at 23:09
  • Are you replacing the wood flooring? It also looks like it extends under the trim pieces to the left/right of the brickwork - can you remove that trim? What does the transition from outside to inside the fireplace look like?
    – Jon Custer
    Nov 7, 2022 at 23:17
  • Thanks @Ruskes (+1 for both) when you say "cut along the joists" (with the Dremel), which joists are you talking about? I would imagine its subflooring directly under the hearth, so are you saying I should be cutting the subflooring out as well? Nov 7, 2022 at 23:32
  • 1
    Thanks, I've just never heard of mortar referred to as joists before; when I hear "joist" I think of framing (wooden joists beneath subflooring, etc.). Nov 8, 2022 at 1:35

3 Answers 3


Definitely do not smash and trash. You've got the stones going under the front part of the fireplace so you don't want to trash that. start out by drilling a hole with a masonry bit to get an idea on how deep hearth is. Also drill a few holes in the corner of a stone and break out a piece to see what you're dealing with. I'm guessing a cold chisel and a 5 pound sledge is all you'll need. You'll have to figure out what to do with where the stones go under the trim and fireplace.

Have you thought about adding new stone or brick on top of the existing hearth?


Defiantly not sledge hammer job.

Needs to be more surgical.

use dermal tool with diamond blade and cut along the mortar between the tiles. That will give you a groove to insert chisel.

There might be a backer board on top of the subfloor under the tiles.

Expected tile high 1/2 to 3/4 inch


Rotary hammer with a tile removal blade. Dig into the mortar between the stones until you can get under them and pop them out. You'll have a subfloor under it. I like the dewalt d25219k for this kind of thing. Nice light and enough power to get the job done in minutes.

What is the black box on the side of the fireplace?

  • Looks like a 70's era Heatilator.
    – RetiredATC
    Nov 8, 2022 at 6:07

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