This is a project you would never notice if you walked into our home for the first time. Or even for the 100th time—unless I pointed it out to you. And that is 100% okay. Like much of what we’ve been slogging through lately, this one is not about grand gestures, but about removing the little eye sores.
Let’s travel back in time, to March 2014, when I first started work on the living room.
There was this awkward, chunky wood trim around our stone hearth. Not only was it inelegant, but the gaps between it and the irregular edges of the stone hearth were full of decades’ worth of gunk. It had to go.
I pulled up the chunky wood trim, which was held down with screws and copious amounts of glue. I vacuumed out the gross gunk (and crayons and miscellanea, from whenever ago), painstakingly dissolved and scraped off the glue, and cleaned, cleaned, cleaned. Joy!
In some spots the wood flooring terminated neatly at the stone hearth, but in other spots the wood flooring was cut roughly and/or inconsistently, relative to the edges of the hearth, and there were gaps, small and large. I used a Dremel rotary tool to smooth the rough edges, and to create a more naturalistic edge. The large gaps, I stuffed with pre-caulk or “caulk saver” backer foam.
Sidebar: The best photo I have that shows the “naturalistic edge” and the caulk saver backer foam is this:
The photo is taken from the top of the hearth, which is also the step down from our home’s entrance into the living room. Admittedly this transition wasn’t bad before, but I do think it looks better now, and the flat transition is much more pleasant to walk over.
Back to the narrative: I then had to fill those gaps between the flooring and the hearth.
After a lot of googling (and no clear-cut “Do This” answer), I learned about a product called Mor-Flexx. Mor-Flexx is applied like caulk, but has a gritty texture and different composition that allows it to bond to masonry. It’s a bit thick and sluggish to work with—I did a number of passes over the large gaps—but it did the trick! (I do recommend that you use gloves—this stuff will absolutely shred your finger skin.)
Since Mor-Flexx is flexible like caulk (or rubber, as they say), the expansion and contraction of the floor doesn’t affect it; no separation, no cracks. It’s been in place now for more than two and a half years—yeah, this blog is decidedly not written in Real Time—and it has held up fantastically. And it doesn’t collect hairballs. (That was a concern.) Success!
Back then, they had a half dozen different colors—I ordered a color chart and “Pewter” was the closest match to our existing mortar—but it looks like they now only offer Gray and Beige, which is a shame.
The hearth now rises cleanly from the floor. It looks intentional, and sleeker than that old chunky trim (which was just covering up middling craftsmanship). It’s the details, often, that make all the difference—and removing the little eye sores.
P.S. This is NOT a sponsored post shilling Mor-Flexx. This is about my own experience and I have not been compensated, directly or indirectly, for writing it. If and when I ever get paid cash money (or paid products and services) for my [years of] blogging, I will disclose.