I’d like to thank The Tile Shop for sponsoring this project by supplying the tile and tiling supplies for this makeover.
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:
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.
Here is what we used for this part of our project:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We also cut the bullnose tiles to equal lengths based off the inner measurements of the fireplace.
Apply thinset and tile-
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.
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-
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:
Those bullnose tiles really do a nice job of finishing off the edge.
Friday we will share how we built our mantel to fit along the uneven stone. I also have been starting my holiday decorating…
This project is sponsored by The Tile Shop, but as always all opinions expressed are 100% mine.