Hey all! I've been working my butt off (I wish literally) on this fireplace tile project in the basement! If you remember I last left you with the new mantel and hearth:
Those tiles were just leaned up against there so I started with that bottom part -- because it was the easiest. :)
I've been working on it on and off on this for the past couple of weeks and finally hit it hard again yesterday. I was so hoping to get it done but I ran out of steam. Today is the day! I'm determined!
This is the stone we're using, from Lowe's:
I've had to visit three different locations to find enough to use because some batches are more pinky toned than others. I prefer the more natural tones so I've had to mix and match boxes. The great thing about this stone is it looks fantastic no matter what!
This is the adhesive I used, from Home Depot:
This stuff is awesome and SO much easier than mixing thinset. You pay a little more but save in time and mess. It's nice that this is ready to go and you don't have to worry about getting the mixture just right.
You'll need a trowel -- but make sure you get one with "teeth" that are the right size for your tile. Mine was the 1/4 by 1/4 size and the adhesive container tells you which one to use:
After installing a few tiles and realizing not all of them are shaped exactly the same (most are), I started laying them out on the floor to make sure they all fit together OK:
Some tiles are shorter on one end and won't work, and I had to take a couple tiles down because of that, so this part is important.
Tiling itself is actually quite an easy process, especially with this tile. It just takes TIME. You start by spreading your adhesive on the wall:
Fill in the general size of the tile on the wall -- I've learned over the years that it doesn't have to be caked on. You're wasting the adhesive if you go crazy with it:
The reason for this is, you'll add more to the back of the tile. I have found that I waste less if I spread it on with the straight side of the trowel first:
Like frosting! ;) This stuff is so easy to work with.
And then I'll use my towel and put the notches into it:
The design of the trowel gives some more grip to the adhesive.
And then you just put it on the wall:
I wiggle it around a little and then leave it. You'll have a few minutes to easily work with it but it grips right away -- no worries about them falling off. I've tiled many times onto drywall and it holds up great -- you do not need special drywall or backing unless you're doing a wet location.
As far as the install goes, straight lines go fast and easy with this tile. They fit together fairly well so you can go pretty quick. Areas like the sides of the fireplace took more time and work because I had to do a lot more cutting. You can see that sometimes I started on the left side, sometimes on the right, so the seams don't always match up:
The beauty of this tile is it does not have to be perfect! It is very forgiving because the design is so irregular and natural.
To fill in spots I would measure the width I needed and then mark my cut line with a pen or pencil:
I borrowed a tile saw for this project -- I find this tool to be one of the easiest to use. You check your line with the saw while it's off, then turn it on (make sure water is running) and then run it through slowly:
Things to consider:
1. Think about where you want to start. I started in the middle for my long runs but this tile is so forgiving it's not necessarily needed.
2. Always wear eye protection when using the tile saw!
3. I didn't have many problems cutting this tile but you do have to watch where your cut will be -- if it's going to leave a little sliver of a piece it will most likely get torn up by the saw. Tiny cuts are very hard to do with a saw like this so make your measurements accordingly.
4. Keep all of your scrap tile till you are done -- you never know where you can use a small piece that may be too hard to cut.
5. You do not need to grout with this tile, which saves a ton of time! There are a few spots where you can see the wall between the pieces (if you look really hard), so I may fill in a few spots with some tile caulk.
Also, I originally planned to cut the tiles at the ends at an angle so they would fit against the wall. It was going to take SO MUCH longer to do that though, so I went with a straight edge and I'm so thankful I did. It would be so difficult to get mitered edges to match up perfectly.
I will share the full reveal when I finish the tile, do the final coats of poly on the wood and after I decorate it! I can't wait! But here's an idea of how this looks installed:
It has such a warm, cozy feel and we're so excited about this area! Can't wait to see it decorated for Christmas!:
Have you used this tile in your home? Many of you shared photos of your projects on my Facebook page and I love it every time I see it used!
Here's an image to pin if you are interested in tiling sometime in the future:
And you can see how I tiled a smaller area with marble tile in our family room here: