What Kind of Tile to Use Around My Fireplace Surround?

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A fireplace is an ideal focal point for your living room, family room, dining room or even bedroom, but when it starts to show its age, a face-lift may be in order. Tiling your fireplace surround is an easy way to add color, pattern or texture to the space and transform the look of the entire room. You can choose one of several options when it comes to fireplace tile, so you should be able to find a tile that fits your design vision.

Ceramic

  • Ceramic tile is a durable, budget-friendly option for your fireplace surround. The tile is made from clay baked in a kiln at extremely high temperatures, so it is very hard. Ceramic tile is usually glazed, which provides a smooth, shiny finish. You can choose from a variety of colors and shapes to create a custom look for your fireplace surround. However, ceramic tile can chip rather easily, so avoid banging fireplace tools against the surround.

Stone

  • For a natural look, stone tile is an attractive option for your fireplace surround. You can choose from a variety of materials for stone tile, including granite, marble, limestone and slate. Polished granite and marble provide an elegant, sophisticated look, while slate and limestone are ideal for creating a rustic feel for your fireplace. To preserve the look of a stone fireplace surround, seal the tile to provide a protective coating that prevents stains and moisture damage.

Glass

  • For a truly eye-catching look, consider glass tile for your fireplace surround. It is available in a wide range of colors, shapes and textures and is ideal for creating a mosaic pattern. Some glass tile is translucent, while other types are opaque. Glass tiles have a shiny finish that catches the light and draws attention to the fireplace. If you plan to create a mosaic, you can use sheets of glass tile that are specifically designed for this type of pattern. Before installing glass tile, verify that it is heat-safe by consulting the manufacturer's instructions.

Terracotta

  • Like ceramic tile, terracotta tile is made from clay. However, while ceramic tile bakes in a kiln in a two-stage process, terracotta tile is only fired once. As a result, the tile has a natural, textured surface that gives it a rustic appearance. It also retains the natural coloring from the red clay used to make it. However, terracotta tile is extremely porous, which makes it prone to stains. To protect its appearance, seal the terracotta tile around your fireplace surround. You can usually purchase presealed tile to make the process easier.

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