Pebble fireplace [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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04-17-2010, 09:34 PM
Any advice on laying and grouting these mesh pebble stones? After all my research I've concluded that it will be quite time consuming as they are going on a fireplace chimney that is in the center of the room. So I will need to transition around all four outside corners as well as around the three sided fireplace opening. I think I am most concerned about the grouting? It just seems as if the profiles of the stones are so deep that it may take forever to tool the grout? What thoughts do you all have?

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04-17-2010, 09:55 PM
I don't see any indication of what material you might be wanting to install these stones over, Scott.

04-17-2010, 10:02 PM
Is this a wood burner that you'll be using?

My first thought when I saw your pebbles was that they will turn black over time. Even with a good sealer on them, it's going to be very difficult to keep them clean.

I've installed pebbles a few times, and the grouting was always the worst part. Since the areas I did were relatively small, I sponged the grout down to the level I wanted. That's more of a personal preference.

Someone else might have some better advice for cleaning the grout.

Houston Remodeler
04-17-2010, 10:08 PM

Is there a missus Scott who picked out the pebbles? :whip: Can you perhaps kinda convince her its her idea to get different tiles? Something cheaper that you can use the difference to buy her something pretty? :king:

If you are dead set on these pebbles, do a test with one square foot. Find out for yourself how difficult much of a PITA challenging it is to install these on a vertical surface. Then try to grout one sq ft. Measure the tonnage of grout required. Multiply by the total SF of the job to figure out how large of a truck you'll need to haul the grout in. Check with the factory to see if they can send a mixer direct to your house. :crazy:

Seriously, there are a number of challenges in dealing with these pebbles. If you are ready for them we can certainly help you through the process.


trendyness of pebbles in general
difficulty in grouting
difficulty in installing the sheets
how to handle the outside corners
how to handle cut stones where needed
difficulty in sealing
difficulty in keeping it clean until you get so frustrated you smash them off with a hammer

Can I interest you in a nice slab stone? I got some here in the trunk of my car...:postitbg:

04-17-2010, 10:55 PM
Set them in a mortar of sanded grout and acylic add-mix with a generous trowel, and knock down the ridges with the flat side of your trowel. Allow the grout to ooze up through the the joints when you place the tile, let it firm up a bit in the joints, then "sweep and shape" the joints smooth using a stiff paintt brush, dampened but not dripping wet.

04-18-2010, 09:04 AM
The fireplace is currently just a sheetrock chase. Believe me I have tried to convince this customer to pick something else but they don't seem to want to listen. All the points that you guys have brought up I have explained to them but of course the tile sales lady says "oh there should be nothing to worry about" and they seem to listen to here since it is what they want to hear. I have done the floor and the backsplash for this customer so far and each time they pick the most inherently difficult tile to install (see other pics) but so far everything has come out great. These pebbles are the last project there and I have been putting it off as long as I can but the day of reckening is upon me. Oh by the way it's funny you mention the grout. Try to calculate this, the square footage of tile is "100sqft" When the delivery came there were more boxes with grout then tile:crazy:

04-18-2010, 09:10 AM
I have done similar stone. The grouting definitely sucks but it's not too bad. I like Shaughns paint brush idea.
I did these stones a while back. They are about the same thickness as the ones in your picture but they came in a bag from a landscape shop, no mesh. I set them 1 by 1. If I recall, I used about 22 bags of grout for both riverbeds. I just grouted with a float and cleaned with a yellow sponge, changing water every foot or so and changing to a new sponge 3 or 4 times. It worked out. I pre sealed the rocks and that helped. Have fun!

04-18-2010, 10:15 AM
we sell a similar product from island stone. our island stone rep says they suggest making the grout into stiff "grout clumps" and hand packing it into the joints. Haven't tried, nor heard feedback on the technique

04-18-2010, 10:19 AM
You could use a grout bag also if you have infinite patience... or a frosting decorator. Regardless, it will take a long time and suck but in the end will look good most likely.

Houston Remodeler
04-18-2010, 02:01 PM
Beautiful work Scott. :postitbg: