Do I need to grout fireplace tiles?
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/470 (shows the top part of fireplace #1, but the hearth is not the final version)
http://xiard.shutterfly.com/480 (this is the final hearth layout for fireplace #1)
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. He says he wants to just butt the tiles up against each other and not grout.
Certainly in fireplaces I've looked at from that era the grout lines are very small, and I like that look. But are they really ever laid without any grout at all? I'm also worried that he suggested this after laying the first hearth:
...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. My gut tells me that not grouting is a shortcut rather than a design decision, but I'm a novice so I'm not sure.
They should be grouted!
I've seen them both ways. I would think the hearth would fill with dirt, grime and the like if not grouted. My fireplace is slate and not grouted, doesn't seem to be a problem. Bob, if you believe the fireplace "needs" to be grouted, then please explain why.
For the same reason the flue joints are by code made with very smooth joints. You cannot have areas where creosote can build up to start fires. If these tiles are on the outside of the fireplace I would grout so again they can be kept clean. An open joint will allow combustible materials to collect.
without support under the tiles (thinset) your tiles will crack, without edge support (grout) your tiles will chip and crack on the edges and near the corners.
Thanks for the replies. I talked to another friend and he said that as the house shifts and settles, having the tiles butt right up next to each other with no grout is likely to lead to them chipping or popping out.
I believe I've decided that the safer approach is to grout. If anyone has any more thoughts on the subject I'd love to hear them.
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