How to Install a Stacked Stone Tile Fireplace

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Stacked stone tiles are a three-dimensional veneer created from cut stone pieces. These are attached to a backing and are installed in panels like tile. For the best effect, the tiles must be staggered. This will prevent vertical seams from showing and enhance the look of a seamless wall. The installation method depends on whether you have an existing fireplace surround or must build the surface.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2-inch notch trowel
  • Sponge
  • Thinset mortar
  • Level
  • Stiff wire brush
  • Masonry brush

Surface Preparation

  • Clean the surface of an existing brick fireplace with the wire brush. This will dislodge any dust or loose mortar from the brick. You can now apply thinset directly to the brick and attach the stacked stone panels.

  • Remove stone or tile veneers if you have a stone or tile fireplace. New tile will not adhere correctly, particularly if the surface is not level. Cover the surround with cement board to provide a level surface to attach the new tiles.

  • Build a fireplace from scratch by framing the fireplace surround with 3/4-inch plywood. Screw metal lath to the plywood, then cover this with a rough coat of mortar. This is also known as a scratch coat.

Tile Application

  • Mix masonry thinset to the consistency of peanut butter. Dampen the back of the stacked stone tile with water and the sponge. Apply a 1/2-inch layer of the thinset mortar to the back of a stacked stone panel. Apply thinset to the fireplace surround. Push the stacked stone tile panel into the thinset. Wiggle it to maximize the amount of tile surface that comes into contact with the thinset. Then ensure the tile is level. Install the first row of panels using this method. Do not grout between the panels.

  • Cut one of the panels in half using a wet saw. Install the cut panel at the beginning of the second row. Then continue installing whole panels until you are almost at the end of the row. Use the other half of the cut panel to finish the row. Alternate between starting the row with a whole panel or a half panel until you have covered the area to be tiled.

  • Remove any thinset spilled on the tile with the wire brush. Sweep away any loose mortar with the masonry brush. Let dry for 24 hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • Dampen the back of stone tiles to prevent the tile from absorbing water from the thinset before it has a chance to set. This will give you a stronger bond.
  • Always wiggle the tile when attaching it to a surface. The more tile surface that comes into contact with the thinset, the better the adhesion.
  • Natural stone tiles are heavy. Do not install them over drywall or sheetrock.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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