cast concrete tiles for hearth and fireplace surround?

Old 08-07-12, 04:06 PM
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cast concrete tiles for hearth and fireplace surround?


I'm a new poster, but I've gotten a lot of ideas from these forums over the past year. Thanks! Now I'm into a project where I think I need some specific advice. (Am much more experienced with wood than with masonry.)

I'm putting in a gas insert, and was hoping to redo the fireplace in concrete. I like the floor-of-Home-Depot look, but also like the board form look. Fireplace is currently brick (rustic style with very uneven surfaces--as much as 1/2" from deepest part of grout to outermost point of bricks). Experimented with some patchcrete to see if I could get a perfectly smooth surface, but I just don't have the hand yet--don't even want to bother with those vertical mixes, either: I just know I won't be able to get a perfect vertical surface without a lot more practice. So here's my idea: cover bricks with concrete board, then cover these with large concrete tiles that I cast myself. I did a few small tiles, 14"x8", 3/4" thick, using Cement-All, and we like the look. My question is: how big could I cast a tile before I've created something that just won't support its own weight? I imagined doing three big pieces, one for each side of the fireplace, and one for the span. The sides would rest on the hearth, and the span piece would rest on the side pieces, and maybe I'd slap some angle iron up under the spanning piece, just to give something to rest on. The insert surround would cover the angle iron. Also thought I might cast some tapering holes into the tiles, so I could anchor them directly into the masonry behind. The biggest one of these tiles would be about 18" x 81". Any way I could get away with that?

Thanks for any advice!
Old 08-08-12, 03:14 AM
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Welcome to the forums! You really wouldn't need the concrete board, but it is a good substrate. You can apply metal lath over your brick and put on a scratch coat of mortar. Before it gets really hard, start applying your stones. I would settle on medium sized to small stones since this is vertical. 3/4" is not a bad size, weight wise, and should adhere once you butter the back and press it onto the scratch coat. You may want to post a couple of pix of the project area so we can see what you see in case you have more questions.

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