One of the things that’s often desirable in a game room, bar, or basement area is a faux stone wall. I’m going to talk about one of the easiest methods to making this wall, which is a product that most people get from Lowe’s called Airstone. I happened to build an Airstone Fireplace in my basement a few years ago. You can find the product online here:
Airstone is a product that looks like real stone but is really a very light stone like material (hence the name Airstone). Instead of using stone tools to cut and shape it, you use a standard hacksaw or power saw (with appropriate blade) to cut it. I did my Airstone fireplace wall with a hacksaw, if I had to do it again though I’d probably invest in a power saw. I had to do a lot of running up and down the stairs to the garage to cut it, then run back downstairs to see if it fit (not fun). On top of that, my arm got really tired after a while of cutting, if you’re going to do a big project using an electric tool would be totally worth it.
I used the Autumn Mountain veneer (pictured below). It has a brownish hue to it that goes well with most things. Airstone also comes in the colors Birch Bluff and Spring Creek. Birch Bluff is kind of a light off white stone and Spring Creek is a grey ensemble. When buying it, there are two different kinds of boxes, one with only straight pieces and one with only corners. Depending on your project, you may or may not need the corner pieces but you’ll for sure need the straight pieces unless you’re just doing a square column. I had two major corners with my Airstone fireplace that required quite a few corner boxes.
When assembling it, it’s fairly easy to start constructing your wall. The hardest part is keeping your wall level. You may want to draw some lines to provide a good starting point. In my case, I put up a 2×4 horizontally across to build my first row, then built upon it after that. That may or may not work for you depending on what you’re doing, if your wall has a lot of spaces the board thing may not work. Letting your first couple rows dry will help with later assembly, the stone isn’t too hard to take off later if you make a mistake. I linked to a video below that shows installation:
I used the adhesive recommended by the manufacturer, Airstone Interior Adhesive. You can buy it here:
The good thing is that it’s very easy to work with and if you make a mistake it’s pretty easy to correct. The negative to that is that some smaller pieces may fall off eventually, some of the really small (1″) pieces I cut to fill in spaces fell off and had to be reattached. Luckily they usually fell off in the first week, so if it makes it that long you’re probably doing pretty good. The small pieces are almost always used close to edges, I had quite a few instances where the piece I was using was just a little too short and needed a small piece thrown in to make it work.
Additional Fireplace Items
At the front of my fireplace you can see I have a stone ledge. You can get that from a local stone place, I believe it was called a flagstone. It was VERY heavy and hard to move, I ended up needing a dolly to get it down my stairs. I would guess that it weighed a couple hundred pounds or more. The base I made was constructed from 2 x 4’s and then covered with Airstone. It matched the Airstone really well, made it look pretty professional.
The mantel actually came off Amazon. It looks amazing and 100% real but it’s actually hollow and fairly light. It attached via a plate on the back and just sits on the front of the fireplace. Putting the stone around my mantel was fairly challenging because of the lower wood pieces sticking out at the bottom, you have to do a lot of cutting in order to get all the pieces to look right. The bottom pieces are optional though, you don’t have to install them if you don’t want. It’s available from through my Amazon affiliate link here:
It can actually support a decent amount of weight, you can see that I have a sound bar and a clock on it currently. You can also see the side shelves, if desired you can easily add the 36″ side shelves on the wall to match the mantel. I have little mini helmets on mine which were great until the Big 10 added two more teams and exceeded my shelf space.
The fireplace is an electric from Dimplex and it’s worked really well while I’ve had it. I don’t turn it on very often, but when I do it provides some nice heat in the basement. It has multiple settings, like high, low, and visual only. The visual only setting is nice when you want the fireplace look but not the heat associated with it. It comes with a remote which is nice to have so you can turn it on from you couch. It’s available from Amazon here:
I’ve now had my fireplace up for a few years now, would I do it again? Absolutely. In fact I’m considering adding Airstone to my bar area now. It’s easy to install, cost effective, and looks fantastic when done. The only hard part is that there isn’t a good way to go around curved surfaces which I would need to do for the bar area.