Glass tiles, with their depth, color and light reflecting qualities, are a popular choice for many home tiling jobs, including fireplaces. Installing glass tiles around a fireplace surround can help make the fireplace a focal point of the room, while reflecting and increasing the room's light.
Glass tiles should be sized and laid properly around the fireplace surround to give the best installation and design possible.
Things You'll Need
- Straight edge
- Measuring tape
- Tile saw with diamond-tipped glass saw blade
- White, latex additive thinset
- Wooden mallet
- Sanded grout
- Grout float
- Sanded caulk
Measure the area to be tiled by breaking the fireplace surround into three segments. The top of the surround and each leg of the surround to the top of the firebox should each be their own area, while lining up together.
Lay the tiles in a dry layout in an area equal to the three areas just measured. Lay the tiles so that the first tile is centered above the firebox, and lay the adjacent tiles out to the sides equally, moving downwards in full tiles on each leg of the surround. Bury the tiles to be cut on the bottoms and edges of the surround.
Mark the tiles to be cut with the straight edge and pencil. Cut the tiles on the tile saw with a diamond-tipped, glass-cutting blade by placing the tiles on the saw upside down and moving them quickly through the saw to minimize chipping of the tiles' faces.
Spread a thin layer of white, latex additive thinset on the area of the surround to be tiled, working in small sections at a time. Smooth out the trowel marks in the thinset with the flat edge of the tile so that the shadows the marks could cast are not apparent through the tile.
Lay each tile in the same layout already achieved in the dry layout by first "back-buttering" each tile and spreading a thin layer of white, latex additive thinset on the back of each tile and then pressing it firmly into place. Tap each tile with a wooden mallet to ensure its tight bond.
Leaving a minimum of 1/8 inch grout joint between each tile, continue laying the tiles in the same pattern determined by the dry layout, smoothing out the trowel marks and back-buttering each tile for a smooth fit.
Grout the tiles once the thinset has been allowed to cure for 24 hours by packing sanded grout between the tiles with the grout float. Where the tiles meet the hearth of the fireplace, insert a bead of sanded caulk to act as an expansion joint.
Tips & Warnings
- If color backed glass tiles are chipped during the cutting process, use acrylic paint in the same color as the tile to paint the chips and mask their appearance.
- Do not butt the edges of the tiles together; glass tiles are unable to flex and will crack if a sufficient grout joint is not laid between them.
- Photo Credit PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
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