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Fireplace Tile

Posted by Amy111 (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 10, 13 at 8:47

I am in the process of buying an old house. While this is really the least of my problems at the moment, its something I'm wondering about: The house has several fireplaces with what I assume are original patterned tiles. I like the fact that they're original, and generally I am opposed to removing original details from an old home. However, these tiles are not my style, and don't go with the look I'd like to create in the rooms. On the other hand, I hate to get rid of anything original (and I can envision myself changing my mind and deciding I love them later). Is there some way to take out the tiles without damaging them? Or to do something temporary over them? Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Fireplace Tile

Pictures would really help. Are these are the ca. 1900 small subways? If so, and if they;re in good shape, it would be a shame to lose them. Or if these are ca 1920-1930 arts & crafts tiles, it would be a SUPER shame to lose them.

It really depends on what you're wanting to do with the house. If you're not interested in keeping the period details, then do what you want to do. But I would live with it for a while first and see if it didn't grow on you.

In the event you do wish to part with the tile, do consider removing it carefully. There is a market for vintage tile.


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RE: Fireplace Tile

It was built in 1941. Here is a (blurry) picture.


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RE: Fireplace Tile

For the record, I am actually interested in keeping period details, generally. I am just not loving these tiles. I think a big part of it is the color. I much prefer cool tones, and I HATE orange. However, it's possible they will grow on me (they're actually already starting to grow on me a little), so I will live with it for awhile before I do anything. Still, wondering what my options are if I do decide to remove them. How would you get them out intact?


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RE: Fireplace Tile

You will lose 1/3 to 1/2 of them if you try to remove them,.

Call it a period detail and live with it, or seal the grout really well and paint over them.


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RE: Fireplace Tile

Although the photo is blurry, the tiles do not look original to me and they would probably look better if the fireplace facade and woodwork had not been painted.

I replaced our fireplace tiles in our Craftsman home with reproduction tiles from the period. For what I received I really did not think they were that expensive, $19.50 each. But we were spending like mad at the time so anything less then $10K was peanuts.

There may be more vendors now, as I remember I bought the tiles in 2006-7. At the time I could find few manufactures except in England and the price was just too high with the shipping.

I ordered from Motawi Tile in OH but their supplier for the reproduction tiles, New England Tile Company, apparently is no longer making them which is a shame. There are still some tiles in stock at the same price I paid, $19.50, but the stock and selection is very limited.

I did buy a large box of unused period tiles on Ebay for around $60 and did one fireplace with just odd and ends and it looks great and we love it. I had around 25 tiles leftover and I planned on tiling some side tables for our covered porch but that was in 2008 and the tiles are still in a box in the barn.

You can really get sidetracked and confused when deciding on tile! I did at least 2 years of research before we even started our total gut and rehab which took 3 years. Tile was on even on the agenda until about the middle of 2008.

Here is a link that might be useful: Motawi Tile


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RE: Fireplace Tile

Thanks Msaferstein, that is helpful. Might I ask - how was the renovation project? We're looking at a pretty extensive renovation (kitchen, bathrooms, move some walls to fix the choppy layout, new flooring for some areas, on top of basic things like paint), which will have to be done in phases over years for budget reasons. We can picture the end result being great, and think it will ultimately be worth it, but right now we're feeling pretty overwhelmed, and not really looking forward to living in the house before some of the larger issues get fixed / siphoning all our money towards the house for the next few years. If you had to go back, would you do it again?


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RE: Fireplace Tile

I like that blurry fireplace and like you, I'm not sure I like the blurry tile. You might be able to cover it in a non-permanent manner. But you'll have to go back in and get a less fuzzy closeup.

If you like vintage style tile, Pewabic is still firing some nice stuff with their old glazes but they might be a little earthy for such a dressy fireplace. And I wonder if it would look weird anywhere besides the upper midwest. Seems sort of regional. :)


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RE: Fireplace Tile

Got some better pics of the tile...


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RE: Fireplace Tile

And this one...


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RE: Fireplace Tile

I'm sorry, I don't have any advice about how to remove or cover them. However, I wanted to chime in and say, I think they are nice! Certainly, your plan to live with them for a while and see if they grow on you is a good one. When we first moved into our home I wasn't crazy about how dark the woodwork was, but now I like it fine. Time is a good thing. And, I'll also say that after 20 years of work on our old home, it was totally worth it! I remember feeling overwhelmed many times and it comes with the territory. Your mileage may vary... variables such as if you have a young family and your energy, patience, and temperament all come into play. As does money! If you don't have boatloads, it will take time. However, what little we can see of your old house, it looks to be in pretty good shape! Keep posting, it is fun to read what people are working on! Cheers -Kim


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RE: Fireplace Tile

Keep them! They are beautiful. I have blue and white delft tile on mine and after a while I have come to love it. Things definitely improved with a coat of paint on the sides, stripping the mantle to reveal gumwood and removing the broken fake brass/glass door thingy. Since ours needs repairing before we can use it, I currently have an electric Franklin stove in it.


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