Doing granite tile around fireplace- what about grout?

Shannon01November 17, 2007

From what I gather we are supposed to place the granite tiles right next to each other and then use some sort of grout to fill in whatever tiny seams there may be. We are going to bevel the outer surround tiles and either buff the interior ones or bevel them too. My question is about the mortar that surround tiles go on with.

So we spread mortar on back of tile and attach to wall, with some overlapping onto the castiron fireplace. Won't the mortar ooze out the outside and inside edge? I know you wipe up the excess but should there be a bead of mortar showing under the tile or what. Hope this makes sense. I guess I could go to model homes or fireplace shops to see what they do but thought someone here could advise.

Also, should the hearth tile go up under the bottom edge of fireplace base or butt up against it with a little grout between the tile and the fireplace?

I really hope this makes sense. My old house had tile and I recall mortar showing all around the sides. Granite is just new to me.


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Because granite tile is usually cut very accurately, you can set it close together with next to no grout. Though I'd never do it 'groutless' on a kitchen counter, you could potentially do so on a fireplace install.

But using the grout will actually make it look more monolithic.

You DO want to check your specific tile, though-- carefully stack and check that it really is exactly the same size.

If your grout lines are under 1/8 inch [and they should be in this case], you use an unsanded grout. For a monolithic look, match the grout to the stone as closely as possible.

Check your install manuals to learn how much of the metal face you can cover.

As you apply the tile, wipe up the excess that squeezes out [it will be less than you expect], including any that comes from between the tiles. You may need to use a thin blade [like a plaster knife] for this, but you do need to leave enough of a void for the grout to fill.

Read the mixing instructions on your grout and mortar carefully. It can't be crumbly, but it shouldn't be runny either.

Unless the granite is nearly white, you won't be satisfied by the look of 'beveling' the edges of the edge stones with a rental saw. This would leave an unpolished surface, which is far different from the polished faces. You could have it bullnosed by a tile shop, but be preparred for a bit of sticker shock-- it will cost more than you'd expect.

There are a variety of trim pieces in stone or tile you could use, or you could simply leave the edge as is-- it doesn't look bad at all.

Be sure to intermix the boxes, and decide whether you want the grain [assuming your granite has it] vertically or horizontally.

On the floor, you want the forward edge nice and straight. If that leaves you with a little extra grout back there at the fireplace box, not a big deal. If there isn't, even better.

If this is your first tile attempt, do some reading at John Bridge or other tile forum, or get a book on the process. Since a good tile job lasts a lifetime, you really want to get it right. It would be worth your time to do a practice job like a mosaic or coffee table top to familiarize yourself with the products and processes before you do such a focal point in your home.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 2:22PM
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Wow! Thanks for all the input. Our granite is blackish and we have a recommended shop that will charge $6 a foot to bevel and polish the edge. The tile is about $9.50 a 12x12 but since it is just the fireplace we won't break the bank too badly.

We have been looking at all the displays to get an idea of what the grout will look like on the edges. We may go to some more expensive model homes to see some examples also.

Tile is about the only project we have not done before. DH mentioned taking a class but your idea of practicing would be wise, and make a nice gift or item for the house. Like you advised, this will be a huge focal part of our home and we only have one chance to do it right.

The insert allows us to overlap the tile quite a bit so we are good on that.

We are so looking forward to this job being done. If money was no object I would hire this out. Luckily, once this is done, and installing laminate in rest of downstairs, this house will be done. Never thought the end would actually be this near. Well, except when Dh decides to redo the garage. lol

thanks again

    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 10:45PM
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