The floor tiles surrounding a fireplace are often called the hearth of the fireplace. The hearth of a fireplace is one of the most overlooked places on the fireplace. Tiling a hearth with new and fresh tiles can instantly update a fireplace and help protect the surrounding wood or carpet flooring from damage. Installing floor tile to create a functional fireplace hearth is easy when you have the proper knowledge, supplies and tools.
Protect the surrounding floors by taping plastic dust sheets to the floor with painter's tape.
Prepare the substrate of the hearth for tile. If the substrate is made of concrete, check to see if it is level. A concrete substrate that isn't level needs to be levelled with a thin-set mortar that is mixed with a latex additive. Plywood substrates should be prepared with a 1/2-inch cement backer board. Measure and cut the backer board with a utility knife and apply with construction adhesive.
Use a measuring tape to mark the centre point of the hearth. First measure the length of the hearth and mark the centre of the hearth. Repeat with the width. The cross point between the two lines should be the centre point of the hearth.
Practice laying the tile without mortar. Starting at the centre point, lay the tile like you would with thin-set mortar. This will give you an idea of how many tiles will need to be cut.
Mix the thin-set mortar with a latex additive. Once mixed, use a notched trowel to apply the mortar to the substrate. Apply the mortar with the flat side of the trowel and use the notched end of the trowel to remove the excess. Only apply a small amount of thin set at a time.
Lay the tiles in place on top of the thin set. Use tile spacers to get the correct spacing between the tiles.
Use a tile saw to cut the tiles that need to be cut. These will typically be the tiles along the edges of the fireplace hearth.
Mix the grout according to manufacturer's instructions.
Apply grout with a rubber float. Ensure that all of the tile joints are completely filled with grout.
Remove excess grout with a damp sponge. Be careful not to remove too much grout from the joints while wiping away the excess grout. Allow to dry overnight before using.