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SeminoleMike 01-30-2009 05:26 PM

Granite Hearth/Saltillo tile transtion help
I ripped out an old fireplace and installed a direct vent gas fireplace. The old fireplace had a raised hearth which was also ripped out. The new fireplace is sitting on top of 1/2 plywood. The plywood is on top of a concrete slab, thus I left room for play for the height of the hearth I will install.

The flooring in the room is Saltillo tile, I hate it but I have to live with it. I would like to surrond the new fireplace with black granite and also use granite for the hearth. My questions concern the hearth.

Three questions:
1 - Can I spread thinset on the concrete slab and put down the granite hearth into the thinset bed or do I need to put backerboard on the concrete slab and thinset and/or epoxy the granite hearth to the backerboard?

2 - What is the best way to transition the granite hearth to the saltillo tile? Do I frame the granite with a thin railing of wood and grout the tile up to this wood frame? Or should I have no frame and grout directly into the granite hearth?

3 - If I use a frame obviously I wouldnt finish the edge of the granite (I'd keep it at a 90 degree cut......but if I dont use a frame, should I put an edge on the granite? If so what profile, half bullnose? And should the top of the granite slab be approxamately the same average height of the saltillo tile or should it be a little higher and let the edge profile tranition "down" to the tile?

Thanks so much

SeminoleMike 01-31-2009 01:51 PM

After calling a few granite shops I am being advised to thinset the granite hearth onto the concrete slab. They are also advising that I put a heavy bevel edge on the hearth, surround the hearth with caulk and then grout up to it.

cee2ski 02-08-2009 11:49 AM

A couple of questions about your question
Hi Mike-
I think that the granite hearth & fireplace surround will look great with the Saltillo- might even make the saltillo look better ;- )

A couple of questions: Will the finished height of the hearth be higher than the present height of the tile? If so, by how much?

Also, are you planning on using countertop-thickness granite, or granite tiles?

If the hearth will be higher than the floor, and you will be using counter-top thickness granite (5/8" or 3/4"), this should be pretty straight-forward and having the shop that cuts the tile put a bevel on it will look pretty nice. I think using thinset on top of the concrete will be fine-- just use a good grade thinset and enough of it (I like the pre-mix even though it's more expensive, because it comes in the correct consistency, and if you're not familiar with what the consistency SHOULD be, it takes that error out of the process)- check with a tile shop about what size of a "comb" you should use to lay the thinset.

If you're using tile and it will be higher than the present tile floor, you can frame it with wood, or another option is to cut the tiles to fit, then take them to the granite shop and have them grind & polish an edge on them. They just clamp the tiles to the table and get out the grinders. I had a shop do this for my bathroom (tub surround) a couple of years ago-- they charged me about $7/linear ft. and it looked great.

Finally, regarding the transition between the granite and saltillo-- another option is caulk. If you look on the shelf where they have grout at Home Depot or whatever, they have color-matched caulk (can't remember the brand off-hand).

this is easy and quick, easy to clean up, and won't crack if there is any flexing between the two edges.

good luck!

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