How to Tile a Fireplace

I’d like to thank The Tile Shop for sponsoring this project by supplying the tile and tiling supplies for this makeover. 

how-to-tile-a-fireplace

Thanks for all your lovely comments yesterday on our Fireplace Makeover Before & After!!! You guys made my day! Today, we are going to share how we tiled our fireplace…uneven stone and all.

This was our first time tiling EVER. Not going to lie, I was a bit intimidated at first until we got some guidance. We took a trip to The Tile Shop a few months ago to make our selections and attended their free DIY Tile Class. This was AMAZING. We got to get some tiling expertise and hands on experience. Our tile expert even took the time to give us pointers for our specific project and even said we could call him with any questions we have along the way. I like my hand being held when I take on new projects so this was so great! You can see our visit to The Tile Shop here.

So, let’s get started! Here is the Before of our fireplace:

before-fireplace

As you can see, we had our work cut out for us! After we removed the glass doors and weird staggered stone shelves, we had to make a level surface to tile on. The stone is really uneven and where we wanted to tile it had a difference of up to an inch in different parts. This we took our time doing. If the surface isn’t right your tile would be a mess! You can’t rush this part.

First, we cleaned the stone. Then, we measured our dimensions of the area we wanted to tile and drew directly on the stone with chalk.

prep-surface-for-tile

Here is what we used for this part of our project:

supplies-tile-over-stone

 Pro-Bond No Sag Thinset Mortar||Margin Trowel for mixing|| 3/16 Pro Series V-notch Trowel||Bucket||Level||Straight Edge

All products are available at The Tile Shop

To start, we mixed our thinset by hand. Some people use a drill attachment but we mixed small batches at time and were not sure how much we would use. Once it is at the right consistency, you should be able to put some on a trowel and turn it upside down and it will stick. We were very slow on this part. Part fear of messing it up, and the part waiting between applications for it to dry. Not going to lie. This was tedious, but necessary to ensure a level foundation for our tile.

prep-stone-for-tile

Between layers we used a 2×4 and a level to check our progress. This allowed us to see where we needed to add more thinset. Once we achieved a level surface, we smoothed it down with a smoothing stone.

 Now we are ready to tile!!!

We selected some beautiful Carrara marble tile for the surround. We used 10 tiles (12×12 size)  for this. We also used matching Carrara bullnose tiles to finish off the edge of the fireplace.

carrara-marble-tile

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657360 Let’s Tile!!!

Lay it out-

The first thing we did was lay out our tile in a pattern and arrangement that we thought looked most appealing. Then we marked our cuts.

marble-subway-tile

We had to cut the pieces on the outer edge so they were even and we used those pieces on the inside edge. We marked our cuts, and pulled those tiles off the backing. Just make sure when you reuse those pieces flip them so that the manufactured edge is showing.

marking-cuts

Having a dog around is not necessary when you are tiling. They are helpful if you want someone to sit on your back while you are working. Poor Zoey just wanted to play when we were busy doing this. We had to call in the kiddos to babysit.

Make Your Cuts-

You will need a wet saw to cut your tile. You can rent them at any home improvement store or you can buy one if you are going to tile a lot.

348578-wet-saw We used one very similar to the one shown above. It had the adjustable table which was really handy. Wet saw blades last a long time, but if you are cutting delicate tile you may want to put a new blade on your saw. The store we rented ours from was nice enough to put a new blade on for us. One trick we learned at the tile class is to use packing tape on the tile. This protects it from chipping and breaking. We had a new blade and didn’t have to do that with this tile. Another tip we picked up that we used was to have 2 buckets handy. One for clean water and one for the used dirty water instead of using it in the tray under the saw.

using-a-wet-saw We also cut the bullnose tiles to equal lengths based off the inner measurements of the fireplace.

 Apply thinset and tile-

tile-supplies

Pro-Bond No Sag Thinset||Margin Trowel||3/16 ProSeries V-notch Trowel||Bucket||Grout Float||Tile Spacers||Level

All available at The Tile Shop

We mixed our thinset ‘hot’.  This means it sets faster. There were some raps we made up while we were doing this that I will spare you from. We made small batches at a time. Applying the thinset you want to have an even application. Hold your trowel at a 45 degree angle for the best application. Place your tile. I recommend using spacers even with mosaic tile. It will want to move around on you, especially on a vertical application. Check your placement with a level as you go. Press the tile down with the grout float to make sure there are not any air bubbles. Let it dry for 24 hours before you grout.

tile-on-wall

Grout it-

grout-supplies

Pro-Grout Sanded||Flexible Grout Admixture||2 Buckets (1 for grout/1 for water)||Margin Trowel||Grout Float||2 Sponges

All available at The Tile Shop

Make sure your tile is clean and free from debris. You can clean the stone with stone cleaner before you grout. Mix your grout by pouring your flexible grout adhesive in first and then mix in grout with you margin trowel. Using your margin trowel or grout float get your grout and apply it to the spaces between your tiles. Again, it is good to use 45 degrees angles with your grout float. You can remove the excess from the tiles with the grout float.  It is really good to have a buddy and a couple of sponges and water ready to go to get the excess grout off. You can turn your sponge on each swipe using all the sides and then swap it out for a clean one.

Caulk and Seal it-

sealing-supplies

Caulk Gun|| Pro-Caulk Tile & Grout Caulk|| Superior Premium Gold Sealer for Marble Kit

Since our tile was touching the wooden mantel we built, we needed to properly seal it. We used Pro-Caulk along all the edges that the tile met the wood. Once everything thing dried we gave it all one last cleaning with the marble cleaner.

Here is the after:

AFTER-fireplace

carrara-marble-tile

Those bullnose tiles really do a nice job of finishing off the edge.

fireplace-marble

Friday we will share how we built our mantel to fit along the uneven stone. I also have been starting my holiday decorating…

holiday-mantel

This project is sponsored by The Tile Shop, but as always all opinions expressed are 100% mine.

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43 Comments on How to Tile a Fireplace

  1. cassie
    December 3, 2013 at 2:05 pm (5 months ago)

    oooooh aaaaaah lovely!

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 4, 2013 at 7:24 am (5 months ago)

      Thanks buddy!! xo Kristin

      Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 4, 2013 at 7:25 am (5 months ago)

      It wasn’t that bad to work on, I think we were just slow because it was our first time tiling anything ever ;) xo Kristin

      Reply
  2. lifeonhillst
    December 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm (5 months ago)

    Oh my gosh – that turned out lovely! Just stunning! I’m totally bookmarking this page for when I need to do the exact same project in the spring – thank you!!

    ~Amy
    http://www.lifeonhillst.com

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 4, 2013 at 7:28 am (5 months ago)

      Thanks so much Amy :) I can’t stop staring at it!! xo Kristin

      Reply
  3. Kayla
    December 3, 2013 at 3:18 pm (5 months ago)

    It looks beautiful!! I’ve tiled a little bit before and I feel like its always more work than what you think! On an uneven surface I’m sure it’s so tough! Beautiful and I cannot wait to see all your Holiday decorations!!!!

    Blessings,
    Kayla

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 4, 2013 at 7:28 am (5 months ago)

      Once we got the surface level it flew bye :) It will make our next tiling project a breeze! xo Kristin

      Reply
  4. interiorsbykenz
    December 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm (5 months ago)

    Love the tutorial! Your fire place is so gorgeous. I’m still in love over it!

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 4, 2013 at 7:39 am (5 months ago)

      thanks so much Kenz! xo Kristin

      Reply
  5. Michelle Raymond
    December 3, 2013 at 5:11 pm (5 months ago)

    Gorgeous! One question though, would it have sped up the process to use cement backer board on the face of the bricks?

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 3, 2013 at 5:21 pm (5 months ago)

      Thanks Michelle :) It would have sped things up, but the stone on the fireplace was so jagged and uneven that if we would have attached board it would not have been level. The would probably work on brick but not on this one. Good question though. Thanks for stopping by :) xo Kristin

      Reply
  6. Cindy
    December 3, 2013 at 5:56 pm (5 months ago)

    I love it!! You did a great job!!

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 4, 2013 at 7:29 am (5 months ago)

      Thanks so much Cindy :) xo Kristin

      Reply
  7. Jayne
    December 3, 2013 at 6:31 pm (5 months ago)

    Stunning just stunning! What a gorgeous job!

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 4, 2013 at 7:29 am (5 months ago)

      Thank you Jayne :) xo Kristin

      Reply
  8. Julia Anne Konya
    December 3, 2013 at 6:32 pm (5 months ago)

    I’m totally sure that you sit there every day now and smile at your fireplace and how you did such an awesome job with it. Am I right ;)?
    Love the photo of hubby with his doggy back pack!

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 4, 2013 at 7:30 am (5 months ago)

      How did you know???….LOL, totally I do. Thanks so much friend! xo Kristin

      Reply
  9. Sarah M. Dorsey
    December 3, 2013 at 6:47 pm (5 months ago)

    I bet making sure it was level took forever! SO worth it!!! Looks so good!! :)

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 4, 2013 at 7:31 am (5 months ago)

      Thanks Sarah! It just took a day and then we just perfected it the next, but that was tedious ;) xo Kristin

      Reply
  10. Jennifer @ Dimples and Tangles
    December 3, 2013 at 9:43 pm (5 months ago)

    Very thorough tutorial, Kristin. I’ve never tiled before either. You all did a fantastic job and I love your choices!

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 4, 2013 at 7:33 am (5 months ago)

      Thanks so much Jennifer. Breaking down the steps, made it seem like alot, but once we got the surface level it flew. It’s going to make the backsplash a breeze! xo Kristin

      Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 4, 2013 at 7:33 am (5 months ago)

      Thanks so much Katja :) xo Kristin

      Reply
  11. Bethany @ Dwellings By DeVore
    December 4, 2013 at 6:03 am (5 months ago)

    Great tutorial Kristin! I love how it turned out. I’ve never tiled before either, I’ve always been so intimidated by it. I love how your pup is sitting on your hubby too, so cute!

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 4, 2013 at 7:36 am (5 months ago)

      Thanks Bethany ;) It is really not as hard as it seems. If we can do it, anyone can! Zoey is the a party animal. She is a little ball of energy! xo Kristin

      Reply
  12. Lindsay at The White Buffalo Styling Co.
    December 4, 2013 at 6:17 am (5 months ago)

    I am so blown away by this tutorial!!!! What a reveal, girl! I love that greek key treatment on the mantel and that tile is unbelievable. I’m so impressed that y’all did this yourselves!

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 4, 2013 at 7:38 am (5 months ago)

      Thank you Lindsay! I just love how it has transformed this whole room! xo Kristin

      Reply
  13. Gabbi @ Retro Ranch Reno
    December 4, 2013 at 10:04 am (5 months ago)

    What an amazing makeover! It doesn’t even remotely look like the same fireplace! :)

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 4, 2013 at 10:50 am (5 months ago)

      Thanks Gabbi :) I can’t stop staring at it!! xo Kristin

      Reply
  14. anu
    December 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm (5 months ago)

    All your hard work payed off! It looks amazing!

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 4, 2013 at 5:32 pm (5 months ago)

      thanks Anu :) xo K

      Reply
  15. now at home mom
    December 5, 2013 at 6:29 pm (5 months ago)

    it’s beautiful Kristin :-) you did a great job! wow!

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 6, 2013 at 8:14 am (5 months ago)

      Thanks so much Ingrid :) So happy to have it done and enjoy it! xo Kristin

      Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 7, 2013 at 10:46 am (5 months ago)

      Thanks Amber :) I don’t think you can go wrong with carrara ;) xo Kristin

      Reply
  16. Sarah
    December 9, 2013 at 9:09 pm (5 months ago)

    This turned out so great! The marble tiles are just dreamy! You guys did a really great job. :)

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 10, 2013 at 9:08 pm (5 months ago)

      Thanks Sarah :) xo Kristin

      Reply
  17. annekemcconnell
    December 9, 2013 at 11:47 pm (5 months ago)

    I just can’t get over how CUTE Zoey is! :-D And of course the fireplace is gorgeous ~ you must be loving it for this Christmas winter season!!!

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 10, 2013 at 9:08 pm (5 months ago)

      I think Zoey is the cutest dog ever…but she’s my girl ;) Thanks A! xo Kristin

      Reply
  18. Angela
    December 30, 2013 at 2:30 pm (4 months ago)

    You did a nice job. Looks great. My question is about the stone above the tile project. What did you do to it? Looks like a paint job, but what prep work did you do for that. Also did you continue the painting of the stone on the other sides of the brick walls?
    What type of paint and roller required?
    I have been wanting to update our fireplace which is very similar to yours, now I can show hubby what I am trying to achieve. Pictures are worth a thousand words.

    Reply
    • BLISS AT HOME
      December 31, 2013 at 9:13 am (4 months ago)

      Hi Angela, I just used a brush and a good quality semi-gloss paint with primer in it. You have to use a brush to get into all the crevices of the stone and brick. I did paint all the stone and brick with that paint. The only prep I did was clean the stone a couple days before I painted it. Good luck on your project! xo Kristin

      Reply

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  1. […] I have been doing a bit of holiday decorating this week, and today I wanted to share our holiday mantel. It is the first year I have had a real mantel to deck out! You can see our before and after of our fireplace or check out how we added tile to it here. […]

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