Tiling a Fireplace Surround Tiling a Fireplace Surround

What You'll Need
Tile
Trowel
Thinset
Board
Screws
Drill
Level
Grout
Pencil
Tape measure
Tile spacers
Tile snippers
Wet saw
Sponge
Bucket
Water

A fireplace surround can create a beautiful focal point for your living room. The process of adding tile in a fireplace surround is somewhat difficult, and you have to have a lot of attention to detail in order to do the job correctly. Follow the simple steps below to effectively tile a fireplace surround.

Step 1 - Prepare the Surface

Before you can get started laying the tile around the fireplace surround, you need to have a smooth surface to work with. Many times, you will be working over existing brick or some other uneven surface. If this is the case, you need to use your trowel to apply a layer of the thinset to the surface. Make sure that it is completely smooth, and then allow it to dry overnight before continuing with the process.

Step 2 - Guide

After the thinset dries, you need to set up some guides to help you with the job. Lay a board across the top of the fireplace surround so that it can support the tiles after you lay them. Use a level to get the board in the right position, and then screw it into the fireplace surround.

Draw a line vertically up the middle of the fireplace surround so that you can lay the tiles properly. You can use your tape measure to determine where the center is and use your level to guide your line. 

Step 3 - Lay the Tile

Once you have the preparation done, you can begin laying your tile. Spread some of the thinset with a trowel. Then place one of the tiles in it and press it firmly into the thinset. Put a tile spacer on the corner of the tile, and then place another tile directly up against it. Continue laying tiles in this manner, spacing them appropriately.

Step 4 - Cutting the Tile

When you get to the edge of the fireplace surround, you will need to cut the tile to fit. Use a wet saw or tile snippers to do this. If you are using small ceramic tile, tile snippers are easy to work with. Measure the exact size that you need with your tape measure and then make the appropriate size cut on your tile. Then you can place the cut tile into the opening that you have left around the outside edge. After you get done laying the tile, you need to allow it to dry for 24 hours before doing anything else.

Step 5 - Grout

Once the thinset is dry, you can start grouting the tile. Use a trowel or a grout float to apply grout to the joints between the tiles. After you have the grout joints filled, you can wipe down the tile with a wet sponge to remove the extra grout on the tiles. Then let the grout dry overnight, and the job will be complete.

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