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Old 03-31-2009, 12:11 PM   #1
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Cutting marble tile for fireplace - unsure of layout


Hello everyone,

I am planning on putting marble 1 sq.ft. tiles over my brick fireplace.

No matter how I try I cannot get away without cutting the tiles. But I don't know how to lay out the tiles and the cuts so that the end result looks good, symmetrical and not overly fragmented. Should I put full pieces on the inside and then smaller pieces to cover the remaining brick around the full pieces? Should I approach the tiling from the outside in, start at the top and go down down, bottom up, etc... ??

I have been trying to find some pictures online but most of the pictures I find seem to have full tiles covering the fireplace - I haven't seen any cut tiles. I'm not sure - what am I missing here? Is there a resource I can look at, any pictures, any advice?

Thank you!
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Old 03-31-2009, 08:11 PM   #2
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Cutting marble tile for fireplace - unsure of layout


How you lay out the tile is dependant on the area to be covered and the design you pick. Post a picture and supply the measurements.
Ron
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:45 PM   #3
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Cutting marble tile for fireplace - unsure of layout


Dimensions:

From top to the opening: 1' 9"
Sides to the opening: 1' 5"
From opening to the floor: 9"
Total width: 5' 7"

Pics:

1: http://tinyurl.com/cgbwxn
2: http://tinyurl.com/dj9bxa

This is what the room used to look like:

3: http://tinyurl.com/dho8w3

Thank you!
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Old 04-01-2009, 05:14 AM   #4
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Cutting marble tile for fireplace - unsure of layout


I'd start with the bottom outside corners of the fire box. A full width tile there that is nine inches tall. Then fill in under the fire box. Then two cut pieces on each side that extends out over the edge enough to cover the thickness of the side trim pieces. Let that set for support - then full tiles around the remainder of the fire box and finish out from there.

Use the fireplace to guide the tile installation at the bottom in case the floor is a little off level. You can come back with wood trim around the floor edge.

Last edited by Rivethead; 04-01-2009 at 05:17 AM.
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:02 AM   #5
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Cutting marble tile for fireplace - unsure of layout


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivethead View Post
I'd start with the bottom outside corners of the fire box. A full width tile there that is nine inches tall. Then fill in under the fire box. Then two cut pieces on each side that extends out over the edge enough to cover the thickness of the side trim pieces. Let that set for support - then full tiles around the remainder of the fire box and finish out from there.

Use the fireplace to guide the tile installation at the bottom in case the floor is a little off level. You can come back with wood trim around the floor edge.
Thank you!

Is this kind of what you meant in the attachment? (Sorry I did this in Paint, Not at all to scale or anything, just basic idea and the order)
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:14 PM   #6
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Cutting marble tile for fireplace - unsure of layout


I'm thinking it may be better - looking at the height again to start from the top. Let me see if I can draw something for you. In the meantime, if you want to get started - your going to have to skim coat the fireplace with a flat trowel to level the mortar lines out. Use a bagged thinset - not premix or mastic - it won't hold up. How tall and wide are the fire box and how tall is the entire fireplace....

Last edited by Rivethead; 04-01-2009 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:33 PM   #7
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Cutting marble tile for fireplace - unsure of layout


Are you going to put any fireplace doors on?

I am, so my small pieces are near the opening
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Old 04-01-2009, 11:00 PM   #8
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Cutting marble tile for fireplace - unsure of layout


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivethead View Post
I'm thinking it may be better - looking at the height again to start from the top. Let me see if I can draw something for you. In the meantime, if you want to get started - your going to have to skim coat the fireplace with a flat trowel to level the mortar lines out. Use a bagged thinset - not premix or mastic - it won't hold up. How tall and wide are the fire box and how tall is the entire fireplace....
The entire fireplace is 5 feet tall (I remember having to cut 1 foot off the width of the drywall panel to fit above it). Based on the numbers I provided earlier then, I will say the firebox height is 5' - 1'9" - 9" = 2'6" and I think it's a square opening, so ... 2'6" x 2'6" - how does that sound?

I bought the $25 bag of marble/stone white thinset mortar from Home Depot. Is that good? I can't seem to find it on their website or I would post the link. Hope you know what I'm talking about.

Also, when you say I have to skim it - you mean I have to make the face of the fireplace completely smooth, covered with thinset and let it dry before I put tiles on it? I can't just apply thinset to the brick and put the tiles on immediately?
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Old 04-02-2009, 06:14 AM   #9
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Cutting marble tile for fireplace - unsure of layout


Yes you have to skim it to have a smooth surface to start from - or even more work - cover it with 1/4 hardibacker. The thinset you have is fine - same stuff I use for travertine. A couple things to think about:

- you probably want as many full tiles around the firebox as possible for visual effect and ease of installation and your grout lines need to be straight all over the face of the fireplace - not offset as in the drawing

- based on the dimensions you supplied - what would you like to see - a full tile in the center of the top of the fire box? or full tiles all around the firebox and a center cut piece about 6 inches wide (that will run straight up the center of the fireplace). I'm trying to avoid having you cut L's in the corners of the firebox edge tiles as much as possible (which will mean the cut center piece).

- presume your not going to extend the tile into the fire box to cover the edges of the brick? If not now is the time to clean those bricks with TSP and a scrub brush. If you are that will change the layout some...

- if your not extending tile into the firebox to cover those brick edges think about (lesson learned while in a hurry one day) changing your thinset to gray (exchange it or tint it) - as it will show from under the tile edge that's going around the firebox (did I mention I'm particular - that may not bother you especially if your finishing with a light or white grout)

Big job you taking on but not that hard - just time consuming and getting your planning right.... your room looks great by the way....
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Old 04-02-2009, 07:43 AM   #10
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Cutting marble tile for fireplace - unsure of layout


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivethead View Post
- based on the dimensions you supplied - what would you like to see - a full tile in the center of the top of the fire box? or full tiles all around the firebox and a center cut piece about 6 inches wide (that will run straight up the center of the fireplace). I'm trying to avoid having you cut L's in the corners of the firebox edge tiles as much as possible (which will mean the cut center piece).
Yeah... that's kind of what I came here to find an answer for I've been trying to find a good sketching program where I could just draw to scale the fireplace and 12"x12" tiles and just play with them on my laptop, instead of trying to draw stuff by hand. I've also thought of cutting out cardboard tiles and trying to pin them to the fireplace to see the effect but I thought that would take a long time and won't give me much visual help.

Quote:
- presume your not going to extend the tile into the fire box to cover the edges of the brick? If not now is the time to clean those bricks with TSP and a scrub brush. If you are that will change the layout some...
Actually I didn't think of this until I saw it yesterday but I would in fact want to cover those too!

Quote:
- if your not extending tile into the firebox to cover those brick edges think about (lesson learned while in a hurry one day) changing your thinset to gray (exchange it or tint it) - as it will show from under the tile edge that's going around the firebox (did I mention I'm particular - that may not bother you especially if your finishing with a light or white grout)
I'm not planning on having grout lines - just butting up tiles to each other. Is that a bad way to do things? Someone said to me that if I wasn't planning on walking on the tiles it didn't matter if they didn't have grout between them.

Quote:
Big job you taking on but not that hard - just time consuming and getting your planning right.... your room looks great by the way....
Thank you for the advice! You saw the original picture of the room, so yeah, it was quite a bit of work, starting from pulling out carpet, tearing out the wood paneling, replacing all of the 40 year old insulation with new, putting shims on joints because they were all out of line, drywalling, painting, wiring recessed lights, sanding the floor, tearing down the fireplace... hehee... it's been fun!
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Old 04-03-2009, 05:00 AM   #11
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Cutting marble tile for fireplace - unsure of layout


Even without grout lines - you'll still want to keep the joints straight in your pattern. If you go to a store (I found them at Meijers) with scrapbook supplies they have paper that is a 12 in square. I've use them as cut out templates for difficult floor tiles once in a while. That might help you visualize it...

Take a look at this also....
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/askt...065453,00.html


http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/...ad.php?t=30480
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Old 04-16-2009, 07:36 AM   #12
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Cutting marble tile for fireplace - unsure of layout


I'd like to double-check on the issue of grout lines as well. I am redoing my fireplaces in my 1935 Bungalow. I found a bunch of mismatched antique fireplace tile and came up with two layouts for the two fireplaces:

http://xiard.shutterfly.com/480
http://xiard.shutterfly.com/502

I have a guy who is installing the tile for me, and he's suggesting that I not use any grout at all. He's worried about what grout color to choose because of my mixture of dark and light tiles. He says he thinks that putting in any grout will spoil the effect of the antique tiles.

Certainly in fireplaces I've looked at from that era the grout lines are very small...but are they really non-existent? I'm also worried that he suggested this after laying the first hearth:

http://xiard.shutterfly.com/509

...and I'm worried that the spacing of the tiles in that hearth allowed for grout, and that I won't be happy if I don't put any grout at all in there.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,

David
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