However, one year, Brad poured gallon after gallon of water into the base. And within a couple weeks the poor tree still dried up and became prickly. Ornaments were sliding off of the sloping branches and the needles were stabbing the children when they tried to redress it. Soon, the branches were snapping off and the hardwood floor beneath the carpet began to buckle. And one morning, when Lisa came downstairs, she was hit hard by a thick, putrid smell of mildew. As it turned out, the tree base had a crack in the bottom and all the water had been seeping out and silently flooding the living room.
So Brad and Lisa waited patiently for Christmas morning to roll around because they new that they couldn't have a magical Christmas morning with their little blessings without a Christmas tree. After the all day celebration, the tree was hauled to the burn pile and the living room was emptied out. Brad and Lisa both dreamed of having a fireplace in their living room "someday" so they both agreed that this time was better than ever.
The brick I chose is called thin brick: General Shale color English Pub. They are $1.20 each for and $2.25 for the corner bricks. It's installed the same way tile is installed although grouting is different. Thin brick is just brick that has been cut down to 1/2" thick. I wanted to cover the entire firebox but without using mesh, I had to lay at least 1/2 of the brick on the cement board. I calculated how thick the grout line needed to be by measuring the distance between the floor and the mantle and dividing that number by the brick height + 1/2", then 3/8" then 1/4" until I got an even number for the rows. Had I just assumed 1/4" grout line, I would have had to cut down the top row of bricks.
To grout the brick, I mixed the grout with water until it was the consistency of cake mix. After cutting the tip off the grout bag, I filled it about 1/3 full and squeezed and twisted gently pushing the grout out of the top and into the crack. After I could touch the grout without the grout coming off onto my finger, I used a Popsicle stick to knock off the excess.