Your fireplace hearth is often the focal point in your living room. So if you don't like your fireplace, you're likely not going to enjoy your own home. Brick fireplaces are standard in homes, and they're quite plain. If you have a brick fireplace that you want to transform into something more elegant, mosaic tile is a beautiful and inexpensive way to go. Mosaic tile is popular for bathrooms and kitchen backsplashes. What many people don't think about is that you can use it for your fireplace, too. Also, if you want to change up the colors eventually, it's much easier to replace than stone or brick. Since brick fireplaces are relatively smooth compared to stone fireplaces, you can tile right over it with minimal preparation. Here is the easiest way to transform your brick fireplace into mosaic tile.
- Drop cloth
- Pry bar
- Wire brush
- White vinegar
- Latex-modified thinset cement
- Flat trowel
- Notched trowel
- Large sponge
Removing the Mantle
Transforming your brick fireplace into mosaic tile is actually quite simple. Put a drop cloth all around the base to keep any mess off of your floor. Then use the pry bar and the hammer to remove the mantle and anything else attached to your fireplace. All you have to do is use the hammer to wedge the pry bar into it and then pry the mantle off.
Clean the Brick
Once everything is off, you need to clean the brick. Use a wire brush to scrub every inch of the brick. It will dislodge any debris that is on it. Once you have completely scrubbed your fireplace, wipe it down with a rag soaked in vinegar. This will remove the loose debris and scrub off any soot that is on the brick.
Prepare the Brick
Once the bricks are completely dry, mix the latex-modified thinset cement. It should be about the consistency of mayonnaise. Use a flat trowel and spread the cement over the bricks. Make sure it's spread evenly and in the grout between the bricks. The goal is the make the surface completely flat. Once the cement is dry, you'll add one more coat to even it out completely. Allow the cement to dry overnight, and you can start adding tile the following day.
Laying the Tile
When you're ready to add the tile, you won't use mastic like you would with the bathroom or the kitchen. It can't handle the heat from the fireplace. With a notched trowel, lay another, thin coat of the latex cement and add the mosaic tile. Use two hands to press the tile down against the cement, using even pressure along the entire sheet. Lightly tap the tiles with a hammer to set them in place. It's best to start at the bottom and work your way up. This way, the bottom layer of tiles can sit against the hearth and not slide down. Once all the tiles are in place, let them sit for a couple hours while the cement cures with the paper still intact on the face of the tiles. Once the cement has set, wet a large sponge and saturate the adhesive paper on the tiles. Once the paper is fully saturated, slowly peel the paper off from the corner.
Finishing the Job
Once the tile is completely set, your fireplace is finished. You can add a wooden frame around the outside edges and a new mantle on top. A solid color that matches the colors of the tile would give your fireplace an elegant finishing touch.
You don't have to settle for a plain brick fireplace. But changing a fireplace from brick to stone can be an expensive job. Mosaic tile is inexpensive and easy to install. The best part is, you can switch it out in the future if you decide to change the colors of your living room.
For more information, options, or assistance in changing your fireplace, talk with custom fireplace companies, such as Alpine Fireplaces.