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Tiling a Fireplace Surround

By Picardy Project on Feb 27, 2012

With the herringbone in Chris and I were excited to get the rest of the surround tiled. Originally I wanted these tiles (2x8) to be installed vertically, but we ran into some layout issues. First off, those skinny strips of surround on either side of the fireplace opening were about 7 inches wide

And if we ran the tile vertical we'd be left with a little dinky piece on one of the rows

In addition, the lintel that separates the two skinny strips on either side of the fireplace opening from the area right above, would create some unnecessary grout lines

We resolved that it might be best to run the tiles horizontal. So we measured out the area above the lintel at 44" and found that if we ran the tiles horizontally that one full tile would be on one side and exactly 1/2 would be on the other, so running a subway pattern horizontal would fit exactly. Awesome

I laid out all the tiles

It was helpful because we were able to see all the tiles at once to see the variation... well as the tiles that were more simple... that when we put the tiles up we could make sure to mix things up so similar tiles weren't grouped too much together.

Then it was time to get started!

(We recently discovered that Chris has minor skin cancer - basal cell carcinoma - which is what the bandage is for: he had a patch of skin removed and he just got the results and they came back free and clear! Chris of course opted to remove the stitches himself instead of going back to the doctor to have them do it. Sometimes I don't know what to do with him.)

Full tile on one end, nice little halfsy on the other

That top area went really quickly because there were so few cuts, and the ones we did have were really easy because I just cut them straight in half

Now, the sides of the mantle were a bit more difficult. We treated it as an extension of the top area but we needed to start from the bottom (so that the tiles wouldn't slide out of place if we started from the top and worked our way down), so laid at how many tiles tall that section would be

And we measured giving a full tile at the top to see what our bottom tile would have to be cut down to

Also, this section was was slightly too narrow for a complete tile all the way across (and two half tiles on the other rows) so we had to measure to see how wide our full pieces and second "half" pieces needed to be

I cut down all the "full" pieces and those outside "half" pieces to the correct width. And then Chris tossed them up there

Then we repeated the process on the left side

We noticed a slight problem as we were working at the bottom of the left and right sections. On the right side the tile overlaps each other

And on the left side there is a small gap

We were totally frustrated with ourselves that we didn't notice it when we did the mud job, but upon closer inspection if you look at the the amount that the white stone protrudes in front of the wood on the left side while on the right side it's recessed we realized that things were originally a little wonky and unfortunately we didn't catch it before. If we had done a thicker mud job on the left side it wouldn't have fixed things because at that point the tile on the left would protrude very far in front of the wood right next to it, whereas on the right side it's just slightly recessed. It's sort of a mind fuck. Either way, we'll have to figure out how to make it less noticeable when we grout.

My frustration quickly went away when I saw all the pretty tile up though :)

And how does it look with the herringbone you ask?

Fucking awesome! I can't wait to grout!

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