*Retiling and Revitalizing a Fireplace in Six Steps

November 29, 2010

A fireplace is usually the focal point of whatever room it is installed in. Therefore if it looks like it has seen better days, it will undoubtedly drag the appearance of the whole space down with it. Retiling a fireplace to give it (and the whole room) an instant facelift is not hard for the avid home improvement fan.

In fact,  retiling your fireplace can be achieved in six steps and if you are the kind of person who enjoys the challenge of a bit of DIY, then retiling your worn out looking old fireplace could be just the way to while away a winter weekend.

There are a number of different tile choices available to you when you are retiling a fireplace. Ceramic tile, porcelain tile even glass and natural stone are all options just be sure to ask your tiles salesperson before you buy them whether or not the particular tile you have your eye on will be able to withstand the heat.

It is also important to remove any old tiles and prepare the exposed surface properly to receive the mortar and the new tile. The whole surface should be sanded as smooth as possible and wiped clean of excess dirt and debris. Once complete, you are ready to begin giving your fireplace a facelift:

Step One – Prepare your bonding mortar according to the package directions. Since there are several different kinds, ask your tiling salesperson which one is best for use with the particular tile you elect to use.

Step Two – Using a square notched trowel begin applying the mortar as evenly as possible. Once applied, matching a few notches in the mortar will help the tiles adhere a little better.

Step Three – Apply the mortar carefully to a small portion of the area to be covered. Put each tile in carefully place, then slide it away from the where it will be set and then back in place. This helps to make sure the tile is properly and firmly seated. In small spaces, you may want apply the mortar to the tile itself.

Step Four – As you go along laying each tile, make sure to insert ¼ spacers between each of them to keep everything straight and equal.

Step Five – Do nothing for a while. The tiles need to set for at least 24 hours before you begin the grouting stage.

Step Six – Once the tiles are properly set, remove the spacers and begin grouting. Often, it is easier to apply the grout at an angle. When you are finished wipe, any excess grout off the tiles with a clean, damp cloth.

The trickiest part of retiling a fireplace for the amateur is dealing with the fact some tiles have to be laid at the bottom of a horizontal surface, which is not the easiest tiling maneuver to perform. For this reason, those who are not so secure in their skills should probably leave this job to a professional tile installer.

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