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DrHicks 11-09-2010 12:35 PM

Fireplace Tile
Hey All

Not sure if this is the proper sub-forum for this question. I hope the right people notice it and respond!

I'm going to be finishing off a new family room for my wife's sister & her family. Built-in bookshelves on both sides of the fireplace enclosure, blah blah blah...

Here's my situation & question: Most likely I'm going to tile between the fireplace itself and the mantel legs, skirt and cap. I'll also build a hearth.

Do I need to put 1/4" cement backer board in that small tiled space, or do you think I can by with simply adhering the tile to the drywall that's already there?

To give you an idea of what I'm working with, as well as what I'm aiming for, I've included a picture of the way the fireplace enclosure now is, and an example of what it will be.


Current view:

Finished Product (approximate idea):

Jaz 11-09-2010 07:14 PM


You shouldn't need a concrete backer as that fireplace is designed for the tile to be bonded to the wallboard. Double check the instructions or local code. Be sure to use real thin set mortar (powder), get a modified mortar.

Use the concrete backer for the floor however. Apply a layer of fresh thin set to the subfloor then set the concrete backer and fasten. Tape any seams with the special mesh tape imbedded in thin set.


DrHicks 11-09-2010 07:40 PM

Awesome - thank you so much for that information!

Being a cheapskate, I've always mixed my own Thinset, for obvious reasons. When you say "modified" I assume you're referring to polymer-modified Thinset?

The only tile that will be going on the floor is a 3x4 area right inside the door that goes out to the deck. Pretty straightforward on that one. I won't even seam it.

I will be building a hearth that'll be about 8" off the floor, about 8" deep, and the width of the fireplace enclosure. We'll probably put matching tile (as surrounds the fireplace) on the hearth. Would you suggest backer board on that?

Again, thanks! It's GREAT to hear from a pro!

BobAristide 12-15-2010 02:41 PM

Backer boards and bases are required for heavy materials but you can use light weight stone panels for any stone fireplace design and remodel. Stone Fireplace Designs and Remodel Blog. Always consider different options besides the most used ones. It's going to be a nice looking room!

DrHicks 12-16-2010 07:21 AM

Awesome information guys - thanks! I really appreciate it!

The project is done. I think it turned out okay.

Thanks again for the help!

frozenstar 01-26-2011 01:13 AM

Wow. It looks awesome DrHicks! :) Wonderful work! I like the paint too... :D

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