For Bill Vincent

sandsonikAugust 15, 2008

Sorry to take up another non-kitchen post...

But here's the picture of the fireplace we were talking about. One from straight on and one showing the brick going inside the box...

any ideas as to best layout? It's about 49 5/8 wide across at top and 7.5" on either side of the fireplace. It's 10.5 inches vertically in the center from the mantle to the opening, and another 39 inches total from the mantle to the floor on the sides.

As you can probably see, there's a few paint drips from the mantle being painted but the brick has never been painted.

Did I understand you correctly that it should be skim coated to even out the mortar lines and left to dry? For some reason I thought I could just get away with putting thinset thicker in those places while tiling.

When I've seen this done on television or online, they usually build a support board and start above the fireplace and then return to do the rest once that first row has set. Is that what you would recommend?

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sandsonik

Probably nothing you couldn't figure out from the first picture, don't know why it wouldn't post!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 6:24PM
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bill_vincent

This is easy. Center the pieces across the top, with the center of a tile falling on the center of the fireplace. The tiles that fall about an inch or so past the side edges of the opening, cut them so that the joint falls flush to the edge of the opening, so that the pieces up the sides will flow smoothly. As for the sides, Cut the bottom pieces at 2 13/16" (based on the tiles being exactly 12"). That will take into account (3) 1/16" grout joints, and bring the full tiles up to meet the tiles coming across the top.

As for the skim coating, you're right-- you CAN do it all at one time. But it'll work better for you if you skim it first.As for the support board, You're right. That's also how I usually do it.

One thing you might want to do, though. I'm noticing in the picture there's some soot on the brick and mortar joints above the fireplace. See about getting some TSP (trisodium phosphate) from HD, Lowes, or any other hardware store. It's about the best greasecutting cleaner you can find, and it'll take care of that soot pretty easily.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 6:53PM
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sandsonik

Perfect, thank you! See I probably would have gotten that wrong and tried to cut each of the tiles in between the 7 1/2 sides into equal sizes. I wasn't sure which way would "look" right.

Thanks for the TSP tip too, I think the soot looks worse in the pic than in real life but maybe I'm just in denial.

How about that inside portion of the firebox, that three inches or so where you're looking at the side of the front brick? Would you tile that also?

And would you use a tapcon into the brick mortar to brace the support board or some other kind of clamp?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 7:39PM
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bill_vincent

How about that inside portion of the firebox, that three inches or so where you're looking at the side of the front brick? Would you tile that also?

Aesthetically speaking, I'd say yes. You want to cover all traces of the brick. Mechanically speaking, I don't know how those pieces, especially across the inside of the top, would handle that much heat. I don't know about you, but I've had fires in my fireplace hot enough to make the cast iron log carrier glow red. I don't know how the thinset would handle that. One way to find out! :-)

And would you use a tapcon into the brick mortar to brace the support board or some other kind of clamp?

Place the board across the opening, against the area where the top inside piece would go. Measure the distance to the floor from the bottom of the board. Add about a 1/2" to that measurement, and cut two pieces of wood that measurement, and wedge them in under the board. That'll hold it in place until the tiles dry.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 8:12PM
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