Back to it! We needed to lower then level of the concrete pad below the hearth by about one inch, since it was proud of the subfloor. The jackhammer made this task a lot easier, but it was still hard, noisy work.
It went pretty well, except that we discovered the concrete was very thin at the outside edge....when I punched through it!
The slab removal was temporarily abandoned at this stage so that we could stand on it while we were removing the excess mortar and the few protruding sections of brick around the firebox.
It doesn't look all that different with the excess removed, but this was a lot more noisy, dusty work which was carried out with the diamond-encrusted screaming wheel of death.
Back to the jackhammer: the front half of the concrete slab was busted out. Fortunately the slab has a wedge shaped cross section; we only had to break out the thin end since the thicker portion is well supported.
Finally time to stop destroying and start rebuilding. The first thing to do was fill the voids at the sides of the fireplace with a mixture of mortar and small pieces of brick. These spaces were too large to fill with thin set or plaster.
The base of the firebox was also shored up in the same way, although it will definitely take two applications.
While this was going on, my able assistant ground out the excess concrete and mortar below the hearth at the dining room side. We only needed to reduce the level here by about half (1/2) of one inch, so this work was also done with the diamond-encrusted cut-off wheel. We didn't want to bring in the jackhammer and risk destroying this slab as well. Here's the "before" look:
And "after" much grinding and dust production:
To be continued....!
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