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Old 11-21-2009, 08:30 PM   #1
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Ugly tile, but I don't want to replace


I have ugly tile around my fireplace. Everything I think of to cover it seems to be a no-no: paint, plaster, tile over, concrete...
I really want a marble surround, but my budget thinks differently. Should I just give up, save my pennies, and hire a professional or is there something I can do for now to make it look better?
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Old 11-21-2009, 09:36 PM   #2
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Ugly tile, but I don't want to replace


"I'm a wanna-be woodworker, seamstress, decorative painter, interior designer, etc. "

We have things in common.

I was in a similar situation with my ugly brick fireplace. I have wanted to resurface it for a long time but kept getting discouraged from everyone who told me I couldn't do it and should hire it out. Well, the price for the experts to do the job started at $3000 for something simple and went up from there. More money than I wanted to spend. So I decided to do it myself.

I removed a raised hearth - started out chiseling by hand UGH!! Went to Harbor Freight, spent $60 for a Rotary Hammer and it was out in 40 minutes - easily. Spend the money, save your body!!

I'm just about done tiling my fireplace - cost for tile & mortar was just under $100 so very affordable. Have you checked into the marble or granite tiles? Fireplaces have less square feet than other things so you don't have to buy a ton of tiles, therefore less money spent.

Good luck!
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Old 11-22-2009, 01:12 AM   #3
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Ugly tile, but I don't want to replace


Thanks so much for your reply. I have a raised hearth as well. I have considered having it removed, but I have decided to keep it so that my mantel does not have to be extended to the floor. Although it takes up valuable floor space, it is nice to sit on to warm my back. Even here in FL we get to have some fires although I admit I have had to run my AC to do so! Especially on those 75 degree Christmas days! LOL. How did you learn to tile? Did you take a class? I have never done it before and I would not want my first try to be on the focal point of my family room! There are only 18, 12 inch tiles around the firebox and on the hearth. Do you think there is concrete below the tile on the hearth? I'm sure that should be obvious, but nothing is obvious to me as of yet. Any advice is greatly appreciated!
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Old 11-22-2009, 04:40 PM   #4
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Ugly tile, but I don't want to replace


This could get wordy - too bad I couldn't send you an email. Another forum I belong to allows sending a private message to other forum members. As concise as I can (I've been accused (rightly) of being wordy), in response to "How did you learn to tile? Did you take a class?"...

I got a book, I read every word, twice, looked at lots of tile jobs others had done and jumped in and did it -- well even! That job consisted of removing existing 2 layers of carpet,two layers of linoleum, and hardwood. Very physical work. Then I screwed down cement board - a gazillion screws - and then tiled the kitchen, adjoining hallway and foyer. I had a friend that came over and helped out by making sure I had sufficient thinset, fed me tiles so I didn't have to keep jumping up and down, and would occasionally cut a tile that needed a little tweaking.

I bought my home 7 years ago. It had Great bones, but needed help to make it what I wanted. I lived in it 2 months, made a long list of what I wanted different, what was priority, what I thought I could do, what I thought I couldn't and then called a contractor to come in and give me a price to do the priority items that I didn't think I could do. His price first shocked me and made me think I'd never get the home I had designed in my head - I just didn't have that much money to spend.

After a few hours of being bummed out, I kicked myself in the butt and took his price as inspiration to learn how to do what I didn't know how to do. I spent the next year reading every book I could get my hands on, checking the internet and asking a ton of questions and then spent a solid month planning out what I would do and each step necessary to finish it.

Money, or the lack thereof, is a great motivator!

By the way, do you have a fabrication workroom or is the seamstress work you do for yourself?
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Old 11-22-2009, 04:59 PM   #5
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Ugly tile, but I don't want to replace


Sorry, I forgot to adress your question - "Do you think there is concrete below the tile on the hearth? "

I really don't have any idea without seeing a photo of your fireplace, and even then it'd be a guess. My hearth was about 6-8" tall. I had been told that there was probably rebar in the concrete, and a whole bunch of blah, blah, blah by people who kept discouraging me from doing the work myself. I kept getting "you need to hire that job out". Telling me I can't do something is like putting fuel on a fire with me.

I tried finding anything on the internet that would discuss what I might find under the brick but never found any information or photos.

I can tell you what was under the bricks on my raised hearth. Concrete! No rebar, nothing else - just concrete.
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Old 11-27-2009, 09:43 PM   #6
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Ugly tile, but I don't want to replace


I could describe to you how to do this but you would first need to see what lies below the current tile installation. Get a crowbar and a hammer.

The amount of tile you'll need to replace it will be whatever is currently there provided you use the same size tile. Best case scenario, and fairly probable, just remove what is there, perhaps do a bit of repair to your substrate, and install the new stuff. That's simplified, of course, but if you take your time it would be fairly simple.

Let me know if I can help.
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