Tiling the fireplace [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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05-21-2006, 07:37 AM
Our last planned tiling job in this house will be the fireplace. It is only 21 square feet - 10 on the floor (slab) and 11 for the surround. We will be using 12 x 12s on the floor and 6 x 6s for the surround.

1. Which thinset should we purchase? The tiles in the surround will be on both wallboard and the metal of the fireplace.
2. What size trowel should we use? We have been using a x 3/8 for floor tile, but should we use our x for the 6 x 6s? Or buy another size?
3. Should we tile the floor or the walls first? The bottom wall tiles will need to be cut down because of the available space between the mantel and the floor.
4. How do you get the tiles above the fireplace opening to stay in place while the thinset is drying?
5. Anything else I might have forgotten?

Thanks, DeeDee

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John Bridge
05-21-2006, 08:14 AM
Hi Dee Dee, :)

Use a board propped up by two sticks to hold the tiles up above the firebox. Rest the sticks just inside the firebox so they won't be in the way of the tiles you need to set under the firebox.

You can overlap the metal with larger tiles, but you can't simply glue tiles to metal. To do that you would need to install cement backer board over the metal.

05-21-2006, 08:21 AM
Hello DeeDee,
You can use the same thinset on your wall as you use on the hearth. Is this a wood-burning fireplace or gas? If wood-burning, your local code may require that you use a fire-resistant underlayment like Micore? Gas fireplaces don't present the same fire hazzards and so probably won't require such a precaution. In either case, use a highly modified thinset or mix your thinset with 100% acrylic add-mix. Unless your wall and metal surround are very much out-of-plane from each other, you can use a 1/4" notch trowel on the walls. The 3/8" may be too large for your 6" tile. Deffinately set your hearth before you set your surround. You'll need to let the hearth set up though, unless you want to use a few nails to support the second course of tiles. The weight of the surround tile on the fresh hearth tile can displace them if you aren't careful. Depending on the tile and the joint size, I'll either use one of my floating edges to bridge a fireplace opening or I'll build a tressel from scrap material, to span the opening and support the tile. A single nail will allow the legs to be swung to adjust the height.

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05-21-2006, 01:05 PM
Thanks. I think that will be next weekend's project.

Shaughnn, it is a wood burning stove. We are replacing the builders' grade, ugly, white tile with something that looks a little better. I don't see any evidence of a fire-resistant underlayment, but I'm not going to worry too much about whether the code has changed in the six years since the house was built. We will not be using the fireplace here in southern Texas anyway. (If it were gas, that would be a different story, I probably would use it.)

I'll get the thinset this week when I am picking up some wallboard for the 8" x 12" section we need to fix. (A piece came off with the tile when my husband was removing it :mad: ) Or, I guess I could try driving around a new construction site and seeing if I can find a scrap.