My wife and I just moved to Portland, OR and into a 75 yr old English cottage home. The fireplace had a floor pellet stove inserted into it and we decided to take it out. Had I known the sucker was almost 300lbs I would have left it for the time being, but I moved it and was left with a nice size fireplace opening which has been coated with a fire resistant white substance... it seems too thick to be paint. I used PeelAway and got almost all of it off of the brick, but the floor of the fireplace is thickly covered with this stuff.
Under the white substance on the floor is a black, slate "looking" material that isn't slate and seems to be something someone has put over the brick. I have been chipping away at the white stuff and black stuff, but it seems pieces of brick want to come with them as well. There is an old ash dump that has fallen apart (being so old and used) that I will need to replce, too. I really want to cover the floor and level it with something that will make my life easier... something fireproof / retardent that can handle the weight of a stack of logs. I also want to know what I should cover / paint the brick on the inside of the fireplace with. I have seen people posts saying to cover with a grill paint or fireplace paint, which may be the way I go. A lot of the brick has chipped as well, and overall it doesn't look that great the way it is... so covering is the way to go.
Anyway, does anyone have any ideas about covering and leveling the floor / bottom of the fireplace, and what paint or substance I should use to cover the brick as well!
I appreciate any help anyone can give me!