Fireplaces are a beautiful addition to any room in a house. To add to the beauty of the fireplace, some homeowners add a fireplace tile surround to accent the fireplace. You can pick tiles that match the color of the fireplace and walls, or use hand painted tiles with for a decorative accent that will match the rest of the room’s decor.
Adding a tile background to the fireplace wall is easy and does not take a long time to do. The only thing to remember is that you do not want to use the file place for about two days after adding the tile, as the grout and the mortar will need time to set at room temperature.
Materials and Tools:
If you are using a pattern, lay it out on the floor so you can grab the tiles in order. Then lightly sand the wall with the 80 grit sandpaper. Use a brush or a vacuum to remove any dust from the wall.
Remove the molding that is around the firebox. If you plan to keep this as part of the surround pattern, leave it in place.
Use the level and mark your first section where you will start setting the tiles. Find the center of the fireplace and mark it. You will start setting the tiles from the center outwards to the end.
The next step is to apply the mastic. You will use a 1/8- notch trowel to apply the mastic to the wall. Angle the trowel so that you get enough mastic on the wall. It should be evenly applied. Only do an area large enough for the first eight tiles. If you see any missed spots, add the mastic to those low spots.
Now you have to set the tile. Start the first tile at your center point, add a tile to each side, and work your way to the end of the wall. Place each tile on the wall and press firmly to set the tile. Rotate each side of the center point as you are placing the tiles. Continue step 3 and 4 until you have the wall completely covered except for you final pieces.
You will probably need to cut some of the tiles to fit. When you reach the ceiling, you will more than likely have to cut the tile to fit. Mark the tile and then use a score and snap tile cutter. This is a very easy tool to use to cut the tile without breaking it or getting jagged ends. Set the tiles.
Use a wet saw to make notches in the tiles. The tiles that go around the outlets and switches or the fireplace, you will need a wet saw to cut the tiles. Mark the tiles and lay them flat on the wet saw table. Turn on the power, slide the table forward for the first cut, and bring it backwards. Then turn the tile and make the final cut. Set these tiles.
Let the tiles sit and dry for 24 hours before adding the grout. When ready for the grout, mix the mixture and use a rubber grout spreader to apply the grout over the tiles.
Make sure to get the grout tightly into the joints. Continue until you have all the joints filed. Do not get any grout into the area where you will chalk where the countertop meets the tiles. Clean the surface grout off the tiles with water and a sponge.
Photo by OK-59, Creative Commons Attribution License