DIY

Make a ceramic tiled fireplace hearth mat

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Ceramic tiled hearthmat…you can make one!

You can make your own decorative ceramic tile fireplace hearthmat! Fire-resistant, safe, useful and adds appeal to your living area!

Things You’ll Need:

  • Cement board or particle board
  • Plane, rasp, or sander
  • Ceramic tiles of your choice
  • Method for cutting ceramic tiles
  • Ceramic tile glue
  • Tile setting spacers
  • Ceramic tile grout
  • Trowel, sponge, water

Gather Materials:
Go to your local Home Center and pick up a piece of 1/2″ thick cement board (or 3/4″ thick particle board, if you prefer; though not as “fire-PROOF”, it will still be “fire-resistant”).

Size is optional, of course, and will depend on your fireplace and other room arrangements. Choose a size that will best suit your particular circumstance. Consider also how your chosen tiles will fit with the least amount of cutting required, and size your hearthmat accordingly, to save work and frustration.

Most Home Centers will cut your materials (cement board or particle board; not the tiles, though!) to the size you give them, so you might as well let them. Also, pick up enough “edge-tile” to go around the size of hearthmat you will be making, and enough flat tiles to fill in the middle. And, get the glue, grout, and any tools you’ll need (trowel, etc.) to install the tiles onto the board.

Prepare the backer-board:
Cement board is a little tougher to work with than particle board, since it is made of cement. Use proper equipment and tools for the material you chose, and be sure to wear recommended safety gear and protective clothing.

The top edge of the backer-board needs to be sanded, routed or otherwise shaped to accept the radius inside the edge tiles. The edge tiles must sit flat upon the top of the backer board, and should also fit tight against the edge of the backer board. If the top edge of the backer board is not radiused, the edge tiles will be forced to lay beyond the edge of the board, and could be damaged if bumped or struck against another object.

Layout of tiles:
Depending upon your design and sizes of tiles chosen, you need to layout the tiles on your prepared backer-board, to ensure a good fit on the board. Be sure to include the edge tiles to get the right fit. Trim tiles to fit, using a tile saw or other tile cutting method of your preference.

Double-check layout and fit:
After trimming and cutting the tile pieces, make sure everything fits like you expect, before applying any glue! If your tile layout is in any way “unique”, or “abstract”, you might need to take a digital picture or make a sketch, so you will know how to re-assemble the tiles.

Installing the tiles:
Apply the glue to the backer board according to the manufacturer’s instructions and safety recommendations. Be sure to put some glue on the radiused top edge of the backer board, to ensure the edge tiles will be firmly secured.

Start tile installation by setting the edge-tiles first, then fill in the middle section with your trimmed and fitted tiles, making sure to leave space all around each tile for grouting (recommend using spacers designed for this, available at Home Centers).

Once tiles are placed, allow glue to dry (24 hours, minimum) before installing grout.

Grouting the tiles:
Following manufacturer’s instructions and safety recommendations, apply grouting between tile pieces, using moist sponge or cloth to wipe excess, and to smooth the grout in the cracks. Allow grout to adequately dry (24 hours, minimum).

Finishing up:
Once your grout is dried, simply wipe the ceramic tile with a moist sponge or cloth, to remove any residual dried grout and dust. Place your finished, decorative, one-of-a-kind hearthmat in front of your fireplace and enjoy!

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure your “edge-tiles” are of the durable type; i.e., some are designed to take more “abuse” than others.
  • Follow manufacturers’ recommendations and guidelines for using and handling tools, products and equipment.
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