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Directions on How to Make a Hearth Pad

Updated July 20, 2017

When installing a hearth in your home, you need to place a non-flammable layer between the floor and the bottom of the hearth. This allows the heat to distribute and disperse so that nothing catches on fire. You can easily make a hearth pad out of everyday materials, but remember to include certain elements. You can make a decorative top layer of tile, but you need a non-flammable item like cement to diffuse the flammability of the ceramic masonry.

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  1. Cut a square piece of ¾-inch plywood the size that you want the hearth pad, using a table saw. Cut the ½-inch cement backer board the same size as your plywood square.

  2. Attach the plywood to the cement backer board with a power drill and masonry screws. Fit your drill with a masonry bit to penetrate the cement.

  3. Spread a layer of mortar over the cement backer board with a trowel.

  4. Arrange ceramic tiles over the mortar and press them into place.

  5. Fill the gaps between the tiles with more mortar and wipe away any excess with a damp cloth. Let the mortar set for 12 hours.

  6. Wrap the exposed edges of the pad with wood trim. Secure the trim in place by nailing through the trim into the plywood base of the pad with a hammer and nails.

  7. Tip

    Use thin tiles to make the hearth pad as light as possible for portability.


    Make your pad as big as the requirements of your hearth manufacturer.

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Things You'll Need

  • ¾-inch thick plywood
  • ½-inch thick cement backer board
  • Table saw
  • Power drill
  • Masonry screws
  • Masonry bit
  • Mortar
  • Trowel
  • Ceramic tiles
  • Damp cloth
  • Wood trim
  • Hammer
  • Nails

About the Author

Based in New Jersey, Michelle Raphael has been writing computer and technology articles since 1997. Her work has appeared in “Mac World” magazine and “PC Connections” magazine. Raphael received the George M. Lilly Literary Award in 2000. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from California State University.

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