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How to build a fireplace hearth

Updated February 21, 2017

A hearth can be used to raise a fireplace for practical and aesthetic reasons. It's easy to build a hearth and simply requires the right materials, basic carpentry skills and some time. The most important point to consider when building a fireplace hearth is to make sure you're using non-combustible materials. Learn how to build a fireplace hearth and enjoy creating a part of your home decor.

Check your local building codes to find out what your jurisdiction requires regarding the thickness of the non-combustible material that's to go just under the fireplace. Then make sure you buy enough material to meet those requirements. Usually it's necessary to have at least 1/2 an inch of non-combustible material.

Build the platform for the hearth out of MDF or plywood. You can also use wood, but often it's cheaper using the other options. It needs to extend at least 16 inches from the front of the fireplace and a minimum of 10 inches beyond each side, according to most local building codes.

Add cement board over the top of the platform you've made for the hearth. Attach it according to local building codes. You may need to get a license and, for safety reasons, have the hearth examined by a professional.

Grab the ceramic tile you used and place the ceramic tile over the cement board. Carefully grout the tile. Grout is typically non-combustible, so it's acceptable to use. You can also grout with cement, but the finished product may not look as polished.

Tip

Consider other options than tile. If you are looking for unique look, then cast stone, granite, plaster or even slate can also be an option.

Things You'll Need

  • 2-by-4 plywood or wood
  • 3/4-inch MDF or wood
  • Ceramic tiles
  • Grout
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Saw
  • Tile cutter
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