How to lay ceramic tile for a wood burning stove

A wood-burning stove often provides much-needed heat to a room and one of the simplest platforms on which to mount it is one covered with ceramic tile. Ceramic tile comes in many sizes and colours so it will be easy to find some to match the interior decor of your home. Once you build a platform, laying the tile is the same as any other tile project.

Measure off the area where you will place the woodstove hearth. Add enough space so that the stove will have at least 18 inches of space in front of it for the floor pad and at least 8 inches on the sides and back. Position the stove so that it has 36 inches of space in all directions from any combustible materials.

Drop a 1-inch thick section of plywood as the first level of your hearth platform, cut with a circular saw to fit your measurements. Screw it into your existing floor, if it is wood, removing any carpet. Glue it down with non-combustible construction adhesive to a concrete surface.

Cut a piece of 29-gauge sheet metal to fit the platform, using a pair of tin snips, to make sure that no embers will ever reach the floor below. Glue it in place over the plywood, using a non-combustible construction adhesive.

Spread thin-set over a small area of the platform, starting at one corner using a notched trowel. Butter the back of the v-capped tile to use on the outside edge, using the same notched trowel and press the tile in place. Give it a good thump with the side of your fist to set it in position. Set the tile around the outside edge and corners of the platform.

Place a couple of spacers on the sides of the tiles as you set them in place to keep the tiles correctly spaced.

Continue to set the tile in place until you have covered the entire surface of the hearth, including any pieces you had to cut on a wet saw to fit around the edges.

Let the thin-set dry for at least 24 hours or according to the directions on the manufacturer's packaging.

Smear grout into the spaces between the tiles using a float to push it well into the cracks. Wipe any extra grout off the surface of the tile with a damp sponge. Rinse the sponge often in clear water to reduce the haze left after the water evaporates.

Dry the grout for another 24 hours or longer, polishing off the surface of the tiles with a very slightly dampened cloth.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • 1-inch thick plywood sheet
  • Non-combustible construction adhesive
  • Circular saw
  • Electric drill
  • Wood screws
  • Tin snips
  • 29-gauge sheet stainless steel
  • ¼-inch notched trowel
  • Tile
  • Spacers
  • Thin-set
  • Float
  • Grout
  • Sponge
  • Cotton rag
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About the Author

Maryland resident Heide Braley is a professional writer who contributes to a variety of websites. She has focused more than 10 years of research on botanical and garden articles and was awarded a membership to the Society of Professional Journalists. Braley has studied at Pennsylvania State University and Villanova University.