Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Installing a Hearth, DIY Tiling

A few weeks ago we had a little Christmas party, and I always say that inviting people over is the best motivation for finishing (or even starting) projects around the house you've been meaning to get to.  This time was no different! Just before Thanksgiving we had installed the gas logs and the mantel for our new living room fireplace (read the full post here), but the whole thing looked pretty unfinished still without a hearth on the floor in front of it.

So what better plan than the night before hosting a big party to decide to install a tile hearth ourselves?  Makes total sense.  I went to my favorite place, The Tile Shop, which has such a wide selection, and picked out 16" square slate tiles.  In a perfect world I could have had a single slab of stone cut and professionally installed, but I'm happy with our plan B.  Finding large enough tile and narrowing the spacing between them helps to create almost a seamless look anyway, and it's a million times cheaper, so it's a win-win.  My first step was to measure very carefully and to tape off where the tile would be laid.

Then, using a circle saw with the blade depth adjusted to that of the wood flooring, we carefully cut along the taped lines and removed the rectangular section of the floor with a crowbar.

After mixing a small batch of thin set tile adhesive, we spread it on the back of each tile with a notched trowel and pressed down to secure into place.  The ridges in the mortar create a suction power which holds the tile in place (that's how you can tile a shower ceiling, for instance).  

I still need to finish up the trim around the fireplace, but the whole thing looks much better with a real hearth.  Maybe I'll get to it before the next party:)



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