How to Tile Fireplace: Transform Your Mantel Décor

How to Tile Fireplace?

To tile a fireplace, start by preparing the materials and laying out the individual tiles to determine the number of rows and how many tiles will fit.

Clean the substrates and mark the centerline on the hearth.

Mix and spread mortar onto the hearth, then lay the hearth tiles with spacers, creating a brick pattern.

Use a tile saw to trim and cut tiles as needed.

For the surround, lay the first tile sheet starting in an upper corner and cut the sheet to fit around the firebox.

Trim the hearth tiles and wrap two tiles around the corner of the mantel.

After removing spacers, mix grout and press it into the joints using a grout float.

Clean excess grout, the metal trim, and inside walls of the mantle.

Clean the tiles with a damp sponge and seal them for extra protection.

Finally, replace floor trim and reinstall baseboard molding to complete the look.

Key Points:

  • Prepare materials and lay out individual tiles to determine number of rows and fit.
  • Clean substrates and mark centerline on hearth.
  • Mix and spread mortar onto hearth, then lay hearth tiles with spacers in brick pattern.
  • Use tile saw to trim and cut tiles as needed.
  • Lay first tile sheet in upper corner for surround, cutting sheet to fit around firebox.
  • Clean excess grout, metal trim, and inside walls of mantle.

Did You Know?

1. Tiling fireplaces dates back to ancient Rome, where it was believed to enhance the warmth and energy of the fire.
2. The most expensive tiles ever used to tile a fireplace were made of porcelain and adorned with intricate hand-painted patterns, costing over $10,000 per square foot.
3. To create a visually stunning effect in tiling a fireplace, some professionals opt for mosaic tiles, which can involve hundreds or even thousands of tiny pieces that come together to form a breathtaking design.
4. The largest tiled fireplace in the world is located in the Palace of Versailles in France, boasting over 1,000 square feet of meticulously crafted tiles.
5. In the early 1900s, it was common for homeowners to personalize their tiled fireplaces with customized motifs and family crests, creating a truly unique centerpiece for their living spaces.

Cost And Time Estimates

Tiling a fireplace can greatly enhance the ambiance and visual appeal of your home’s interior. The cost of tiling a fireplace can vary depending on factors such as the type of tiles chosen and your location. On average, it is estimated to be around $10 per square foot and up. However, it’s important to note that this is just an estimate and the final cost may vary based on individual circumstances.

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In terms of the time required for the project, it is advisable to allocate at least 3 work days. Tiling a fireplace involves several steps, including removing the existing mantel and demolishing the tiles, prepping the substrate, and finally installing the tiles. Each stage requires time for completion, so it’s crucial to set aside sufficient time for a high-quality and successful outcome.

Removing Mantel And Demolishing Existing Tiles

The initial step in the fireplace tiling project is to remove the mantel and demolish the existing tile on the fireplace surround and hearth. This is a crucial step as it allows for a clean and blank canvas to work with when installing the new tiles. It is important to handle the removal of the mantel with care to avoid any damage, as it can be reused later for a seamless transition to the new tiled fireplace.

If the existing substrates, such as the drywall and floor, are in poor condition, it is highly recommended to replace the drywall and prepare the floor with cement board. This is necessary to ensure a solid foundation for the new tiles and to prevent any potential issues that may arise due to compromised substrates.

Prepping The Substrate

Once the mantel has been removed, and the previous tiles have been demo’d, it is time to prepare the substrate for the new tiles.

Begin by cleaning the substrates thoroughly, ensuring that they are free from dust, debris, and any adhesive residue. This will provide a clean surface for optimal adhesion of the tiles.

Next, mark the centerline on the hearth to serve as a reference point during the tiling process. This will help ensure that the tiles are installed accurately and symmetrically. It is also advisable to cover the firebox and hearth with plastic to protect against falling mortar and keep them clean throughout the project.

Installing Herringbone Pattern On Surround And Subway Tiles On Hearth

To ensure a smooth tiling process, it is important to prepare the materials and layout before starting. Utilize mortar specifically designed for natural stone tiles as it provides the necessary adhesion and support. To avoid scratching the tile, “non-sanded” grout was chosen.

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When tiling the hearth, lay out the individual tiles to determine the number of rows and how many tiles will fit in each row. By using a cardboard template, you can easily lay out the mosaic sheets for the surround. These pre-installation preparations will facilitate a smoother and more efficient tiling process.

  • Prepare materials and layout before starting the tiling process
  • Use mortar specifically designed for natural stone tiles
  • Choose “non-sanded” grout to avoid scratching the tile
  • Lay out individual tiles on the hearth to determine the number of rows and tiles in each row
  • Use a cardboard template for laying out the mosaic sheets for the surround

Tiling Process And Recommendations

When it comes to tiling, start with the hearth and allow the tiles to set overnight. Spread and comb the mortar onto the hearth, then lay the tiles, using spacers and offsetting the first tile in the second row to create a brick pattern. This method ensures a professional and visually appealing finish.

For the surround, rent a tile saw such as a medium tile saw from Home Depot Rentals. This saw features a sliding deck and a water pump to provide a continuous water flow over the blade, reducing friction and heat buildup. This ensures clean and precise cuts for the tiles.

Throughout the tiling process, protect the firebox and hearth with plastic to prevent any damage or contamination. Start tiling the surround with the first tile sheet, beginning in an upper corner and cutting the sheet to fit around the firebox. Trim the hearth tiles as necessary for a neat and professional appearance. Additionally, two tiles may need to “wrap” the corner of the mantle for a seamless transition.

Finishing Touches And Clean-Up

After successfully tiling the fireplace, it is time for the finishing touches and clean-up. Mix grout according to the manufacturer’s instructions and press it into the joints using a grout float. As you work, be sure to remove excess grout promptly to avoid grout haze on the tiles’ surface.

To achieve a pristine finish, carefully clean the tiles with a damp sponge and a clean bucket of water. Avoid introducing excessive amounts of new water to the grout, as this may compromise its integrity. Once the grout has dried, consider sealing the tiles for added protection against staining and damage.

To complete the overall look, consider replacing the floor trim and reinstalling baseboard molding. These finishing touches enhance the overall aesthetic and create a cohesive and polished appearance.

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In conclusion, tiling a fireplace can be a rewarding project that transforms your mantel décor. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can achieve a beautifully tiled fireplace that adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to your home. Take your time, follow the recommendations, and enjoy the process of creating a stunning focal point in your living space.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you tile a fireplace yourself?

Yes, it is possible to tile a fireplace yourself if the bricks are in good condition. Before tiling, thorough cleaning and smoothing of the bricks is necessary to ensure proper adhesion. Additionally, applying an extra layer of primer is crucial to create a suitable surface for the tiles, given the porous nature of bricks. By following these steps, you can successfully transform your brick fireplace with tiling, ultimately giving it a fresh and updated look.

Is tiling a fireplace hard?

Tiling a fireplace may initially appear daunting, but it is actually a manageable task. According to Reed Johnson, an expert in tile installation, although it may be more intricate than other household projects, it is not particularly challenging. With proper guidance and a thoughtful approach, you can successfully tile your fireplace without much difficulty.

What do you use to adhere tile to fireplace?

When it comes to adhering tiles to a fireplace, it is crucial to use a cement-based adhesive that can withstand high temperatures. Everbuild KOS Fire Cement is an ideal choice for this purpose as it exhibits excellent adhesive properties and can handle temperatures up to an impressive 1250 degrees. This powerful adhesive ensures the long-lasting and secure attachment of tiles, providing both functionality and aesthetic appeal to the fireplace.

Do I need special tiles for a fireplace?

When it comes to selecting tiles for a fireplace, it is essential to consider their heat-resistant properties. While many types of tiles can be used if the heat source is more than 20cm away, it is highly recommended to opt for porcelain tiles. Porcelain tiles, known for their density and fire-resistant qualities, act like fire-resistant bricks by effectively absorbing heat without transferring it to surrounding areas, making them a safe and durable choice for fireplace surrounds.

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