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How to put tile around a wood burning stove

Updated November 21, 2016

People often use wood-burning stoves as inserts in a fireplace because the stove is kept out of the way and in a location that is fireproof. However, the stove insert isn't always an attractive feature in the room. To improve the looks from basic black to something interesting, install tile around the stove on the fireplace surround.

Spread thinset over the fireplace surface surrounding the wood stove. Mix the thinset according to the directions on the package. Apply the thinset with a notched trowel. If you are working with a wood surface around the stove, measure the fireplace edge and cut out cement board to the dimensions with a masonry blade. The cement board will help the tiles adhere better. Drill 7.5 cm (3 inch) screws through the board and into the wood. Let the thinset dry for a day.

Drill a wood strip across the wood stove so the top of the strip is even with the top edge of the stove's outer metal shield. A level helps ensure it is straight.

Spread a new batch of thinset mortar above the wood strip. Place the tiles you select along the top of the strip. Leave a 3 mm (1/8 inch) gap between the tiles by inserting spacers. Start at the centre point of the stove, setting one tile on either side of the centre. Continue placing tiles outward on both sides to complete the row.

Apply tiles to the second row, placing the first one on the centre mark to stagger the seams.

Cut tiles with a tile cutter or circular saw. Measure and mark the tiles to fit the ends and cut along the lines. Let the tiles dry for a day and remove the wood strip.

Tile the sides of the stove in a similar way. Cut out tiles to fit the edges along the metal shield. The shield is there to cover any gap between the stove insert and the fireplace wall. Let the tile dry for a day.

Grout the tile. Spread the grout into the gaps with a float. Wipe the tiles with a damp rag as you apply the grout so it doesn't dry on the surface. Let the grout dry for two days.

Seal the grout with a tube of grout sealant. Squeeze the tube over the grout. Let the sealant dry for several hours.

Things You'll Need

  • Mortar
  • Trowel
  • Cement board
  • Circular saw
  • 7.5 cm (3 inch) screws
  • Wood strip
  • Notched trowel
  • Tile cutter
  • Grout
  • Rubber float
  • Rags
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About the Author

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.