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Tiling a brick fireplace

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Topic by Becky posted 03-14-2013 12:33 AM 5114 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Becky

83 posts in 3047 days

03-14-2013 12:33 AM

So this somewhat goes along with my blog about my basement remodel but I’m having trouble finding a good source of information so I thought I’d ask here :) I’m going to be tiling over a brick fireplace in my basement with a commercial grade porcelain. My question is really – what needs to be the base? can I just apply the mortar to the brick and tile over it, or do I need to use something like CBU first? I’ve asked over at john bridge tile forums (my usual go to for tile work), but I think my post got buried.

-- aspiring jill of all trades



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needshave

11 posts in 2115 days

03-14-2013 12:46 AM

There are a lot of things it depends on. The quality of the surface of the brick, any foreign materials, mortar joints etc. If it was me, I would cover the surface of the fireplace with cement backer board so that you have a clean flat surface to work with. Then adhere the tile to the board with a quality material. I typically use versabond, but I don’t remember if it is compatible with Porcelain.

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GaryL

206 posts in 2935 days

03-14-2013 01:06 AM

needshave summed it up. It all depends on the brick surface. If it’s flat you can apply a scratch coat, but it needs to be flat to be able to get a quality tile install with minimal to no lippage. If I recall you are putting up a good size tile so the surface prep work needs to be perfectly flat with no twists or waves.

-- The difference between a pro and an amateur, an amateur points out his mistakes

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J

70 posts in 2345 days

03-14-2013 03:23 AM

I going to second and third needshave and Gary. Plumb, level and square sub-straight is the first step in building a top shelf tile job, backerboard is usually the best way to accomplish this without any additional special tools. Additionally, Versabond is my favorite brand of thinset, and porcelain along with ceramic don’t require a special thinset like marble (because of its porosity and tendency to discolor or stain). I like the white versabond, in my experience it seems to have better adhesion than the grey stuff(which I only use on floors).

-- I found the board stretcher... finally!

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Becky

83 posts in 3047 days

03-14-2013 12:51 PM

Thanks guys! The brick is in good condition -it’s regular red brick – flat and straight – the only dips being in the mortar joints between bricks like it’s supposed to be. :) I thought about CBU since the fireplace may end up slightly recessed in the wall going up around it anyway – the extra what – 1/4 of an inch? it would add wouldn’t be bad. At least that and some tapcon screws would take out the guesswork instead of having to mix up an extra bag or two of thinset. I think Lowes sells versabond, and I was going to go white just in case :) The hearth is 12×12, and the fireplace is a mix of darker 12×12s and some skinny/long tiles that are basically the same as the 12×12s just long and skinny.

-- aspiring jill of all trades

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Becky

83 posts in 3047 days

04-18-2013 01:31 AM

looks like the hearth will be the fun part. the concrete slopes towards the fireplace pretty decently. I have to go get my 4 ft level to see how bad the slope is to figure out what exactly to do about it. I know it also slopes right in front of the staircase landing at the bottom of the stairs a bit. I know basement floors are supposed to slope, but I thought it was a gentle slope towards like the sump or a floor drain??

-- aspiring jill of all trades

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GaryL

206 posts in 2935 days

04-18-2013 11:46 AM

Check the structure/ framing under the hearth to be sure it has not failed. That could be the reason for the sag or slope in the hearth.

-- The difference between a pro and an amateur, an amateur points out his mistakes

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Becky

83 posts in 3047 days

04-18-2013 05:20 PM

Hi Gary – uh – the ‘hearth’ is concrete :) it’s a basement floor. I’m guessing it’s just the settling of a 60+ year old house.

-- aspiring jill of all trades

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GaryL

206 posts in 2935 days

04-19-2013 11:02 AM

I see now. Yeah, you’re probably right about the settling.
Are you putting in a new hearth/hearth cover? i.e. brick, limestone, tile…..
If so, you can build up a bed of mortar to level things out.

-- The difference between a pro and an amateur, an amateur points out his mistakes

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Becky

83 posts in 3047 days

04-19-2013 10:00 PM

I’m hoping that’s the case. I was thinking about using SLC if it’s more than 1/4 of an inch. We’ll see tho :)

-- aspiring jill of all trades

View bold1's profile

bold1

26 posts in 1793 days

01-08-2015 03:16 PM

The tile can be put over any solid masonry. You may have to plaster the surface flat with mortar before you can apply the tile, same as was suggested for the hearth. As to the hearth slope, this wasn’t unusual to slope it in to the firebox. Any rain coming down the flue wouldn’t wash ash out onto your floor.

View LeilaDowney's profile

LeilaDowney

1 post in 1262 days

07-02-2015 08:44 AM

It Depends Becky. The surface is quite demanding. The versabond you are talking.. I’m not sure it would be enough. Hope that you have resolved the case already? :)

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sonjajslama

1 post in 1259 days

07-06-2015 02:31 AM

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AccentD

2 posts in 803 days

12-13-2016 10:52 AM

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