How to install travertine around a fireplace

Written by kimberly johnson
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How to install travertine around a fireplace
Travertine enhances fireplace surounds. (David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Travertine tile is a type of natural stone that closely resembles marble and typically comes in larger pieces than ceramic tiles. The tiles are heat resistant and durable, making them a good option for fireplace surrounds. Installing travertine tiles around the opening of a fireplace is very similar to installing a tile wall elsewhere in the home. After installation make sure the grout is properly cured before lighting a fire.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • White craft paper
  • Pencil
  • Travertine tile
  • Tile cutter
  • Pre-mixed thinset mortar
  • Notched trowel
  • 1-inch by 3-inch board
  • Hand saw
  • 2-inch masonry screws
  • Power driver
  • Tile spacers
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Sponge
  • Water

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  1. 1

    Tape a large sheet of white craft paper over the fireplace opening and trace the interior hole and the exterior perimeter of the fireplace onto it with a pencil to create a template for where the tiles will go. Lay the template on the floor and lay the travertine tiles on it just as you want them installed.

  2. 2

    Mark the edges of any tiles that must be cut using a pencil. Cut the tiles by placing them into a tile cutter tool and lowering the blade to split them.

  3. 3

    Open a tub of premixed thinset mortar and scoop up 1 cup with a trowel. Smooth the mortar onto the surface of the fireplace until the existing bricks or stone are completely covered. Allow the mortar to dry for 24 hours.

  4. 4

    Cut a 1-inch by 3-inch board to the same width as the fireplace using a hand saw. Position it at the top edge of the fireplace opening so that the ends extend over either side of the opening. Secure it to the fireplace using a power driver and 2-inch masonry screws. This provides a brace to support the upper travertine tiles.

  5. 5

    Open the thinset mortar tub and insert a notched trowel into it to scoop up 1/2 cup. Start at the upper centre of the fireplace and smooth the mortar onto it in a 1/4-inch-thick layer.

  6. 6

    Pick up a travertine tile from the template, choosing one that is located above the fireplace opening. Place it onto the fireplace just above the support brace, pushing it into the mortar until it sticks.

  7. 7

    Insert a plastic tile spacer on either side of the tile and install additional tiles in the same manner until all the travertine is removed from the template and the fireplace is covered.

  8. 8

    Allow the mortar to dry and pull out each of the spacers. Use the power driver to remove the screws from the support brace and then install any missing tiles in the area where the brace was located. Allow the new tiles to dry overnight.

  9. 9

    Open a tub of pre-mixed mortar and apply it to the top of the travertine tiles using a grout float. Press it into the grooves and then scrape off any excess. Wipe the surface of the travertine with a damp sponge to prevent a haze.

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