Finally I can check this project off my list! Yipee!! It took sooooo much longer than I expected, because of a few issues that I’ll explain later, but thanks be to the diy fairies, it’s DONE!
It all started because one day at the end of summer, I got a wild hair up my parts, and said to the boys, Hey wanna rip out the fireplace?? They were THRILLED. Like, ran to the garage for hammers and all kinds of dangerous stuff thrilled – and I actually let them (and at some dire parts, welcomed them) in on the action.
I couldn’t believe how long they lasted… Like if demo were a subject in school, my boys would be A++++ students! We bonded, we got HELLA dirty and got all cut up and bruised. It was a good two afternoons. I think they even thought I was cool for about 2 seconds.
Trouble for me set in once I realized that the bottom was never level!! The back was actually 0.5 inch lower than the front. This really left me with two options – to either scrape the front down or raise the rear up… I think you know which option I choose!! Ha!
I ended up using this premixed tile adhesive to build up the back of the fireplace and get the whole thing level. It was a messy endeavor. I figured that I’d get it perfect when I went to set the tiles, which is what I ended up doing, but it was super tricky! In hindsight, I should have gotten it perfectly level first… especially with the tile I selected. I think with larger tiles it would have been a slam dunk, but with these smaller pieces it wasn’t fun getting them perfectly set on an uneven surface.
For the edges I decided to use a metal tile edge trim! I wanted the bottom to have rounded corners for safety reasons, so I simply cut the weaved portion and used a 90 degree table corner to bend it into place! I think it turned out GREAT! And since I painted it with spray paint (with primer built in) I was able to buy the cheaper trim pieces. For the top of the fireplace (where one trim piece wasn’t long enough to cover the whole area), I used a hand saw to cut and then join them together at 90 degree angles. To secure them in place I grabbed my air pressure machine and staple gun. You could probably use a hand stapler or nail in a few screws but, tools.
For Mother’s Day, I got this super fun Tile Wet/Dry Saw, which worked really well! I was able to set it up in about 5 min and get right to cutting! Just make sure you put the center piece down or you will get sprayed!! Other than that, I had a trowel and grout float already, but I grabbed these tile cutters because A. I’m building an arsenal and B. they were great for those onsie twosie pieces in corners.
I didn’t use tile spacers – but they would have come in handy. I just dirtied up some perfectly good nickels.
After the rigor of the bottom, the sides were a breeze and the underside, a bit more challenging, but still not bad. I was SCARED all the tiles would fall off, but alas, I kinda did ok. (SHOCKED that it worked the first time!!)
I grouted with an unsanded mix that I stirred up myself. After all that cleaning and wiping, the only thing left was to fix up the small space between the fireplace wall and tile edge. I used some paintable black caulk for that.
All in all, not too shabby!!
I think the trim gives it just that something extra and the tile is beautiful in person!!
I wish my photography skills were on point, but hey, at least I’m ready for some cozy nights by the fireplace!
How about a before and after for funsies?
Now to repaint the sucker.