A fireplace surrounded by tile is simple, efficient and easy to clean. However, many people neglect their fireplaces. Maybe it is because there are just too many options for tiling a fireplace that scares some people away. Whatever it is, tiles are perfect for the hearth. Ceramic is an excellent insulator and heat-resistant because it is blast-fired in a kiln, and stone tiles are a natural, beautiful complement to your hearth.
There are good reasons to use small tiles in your fireplace. Small tiles give a modern look and they also work well on a wall. Small tiles that are about 1 or 2 inches square, will be ideal for a fireplace hearth because you can create extraordinary patterns with them. You can use small tiles that are all one colour to give a simple, modern look. If you choose darker colours, it will help hide smoke and char build up. If you're doing the tiling yourself, small tiles can be easier to fit, but harder to cut.
Mosaic tiles are small tiles that can be arranged in a picture or pattern and are excellent for a fireplace. They work well for an outdoor fire pit or indoor hearth. Mosaic tiles can placed to form any pattern you choose. An assortment of cream, orange and blue tiles is perfect for a decorative, cheery theme. Alternating white and black tiles will add an artistic touch to your most lively rooms. For a real show-stopper, use graph paper and a pencil to create a picture of coloured tiles. Use each square as one tile, and then colour the squares in to create your design. You can extend or repeat the pattern across the hearth.
Larger tiles continue to be popular. They are faster to install and are generally long-lasting. If a tile cracks or is damaged, you can simply chisel out the grout and replace it. Sometimes, smaller tiles have a tendency to crack or shatter, since they are generally thinner. Large tiles give a fireplace a dramatic look and add texture to the room. The patterns they make tend to be bolder, while smaller tiles are more exciting to the eye.
Natural stone tiles like granite, soapstone, jade and slate work well for a traditional-looking hearth. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are popular and inexpensive, and come in many colours, shapes and sizes. The best ceramic tiles for a fireplace are heat-fired with a glaze that is tempered by high-temperature kilns. Porcelain tiles must be rated for high heat environments, so ask a salesperson about this before you buy them.