Fireplace Project

19 Jul

Yay!  We worked for a long time on this project (ok, 2 weekends), and I am proud to say that we are officially finished!  So, here is the before:

Ok, so I really like the stone around the fireplace, but I hate the black part.  I felt like it was an eyesore, and from the minute we bought the house I knew I wanted to tile it.  I just didn’t know what that involved.  So, I started researching and found out that you can’t attach tile to metal.  Damn.  But, I wasn’t deterred, I kept researching and found out that you can attach tile to concrete and concrete to metal.  We were getting somewhere! 

We spent an afternoon at Home Depot talking to some of the workers there and getting all the supplies we needed.  We picked up the following items:

  • Hardibacker board (concrete slab that looks like plywood, only its concrete)
  • Circular saw 
  • Blade for saw that can cut concrete
  • Tile
  • Grout
  • Floater
  • Metal screws
  • PL Adhesive (industrial strength glue to attach the concrete to the metal)
  • SimpleMat (tile adhesive)

Once we had everything we needed, we went home to cut the hardibacker (sidenote: I asked if they could cut it for us so we could avoid purchasing the circular saw, but they said no, it’s against OSHA regulations since cutting concrete creates a health hazard.  Great, so we’re going home to cut concrete even though it’s hazardous.  Don’t worry, we wore masks). 

Here we are cutting the hardibacker:

Once we had everything cut to size, we started drilling dummy holes through the concrete and the metal to attach screws.  We read that the glue had to sit for 24 hours, and we didn’t have any way to hold everything in place for 24 hours without screwing it in. 

Then, we added the glue:

Stuck it on the fireplace and screwed everything in:

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

We let that sit overnight.  Then, the next day we removed all the screws (to keep the surface flat), and we cut the SimpleMat to size and started to attach it:

In case you’re wondering what SimpleMat looks like, here it is, it’s basically like heavy duty double-sided tape:

We did this around the entire thing:

Then we started to lay the tile on top of this, which was so simple.  I highly recommend this method of tiling:

It’s coming together!  Now we were ready for the grout. 

After this, we used a sponge to wipe off all of the excess grout.  I don’t have any pictures of this because I was the one doing this step, and Sean doesn’t usually take pictures.  But, I will say if your husband says that you don’t need to buy a sponge from Home Depot because you have plenty of sponges at home, make him buy one.  The 1 minute Sean worked on this part, he used a kitchen sponge and there were blue traces of the sponge everywhere.  I told him to just take a break and I would use the correct sponge. 

So, ready to see how it all turned out?

And a side by side:

The total cost of this project was $202.  But, we had to buy the saw and blade, which ended up adding at least $80 to our total cost.  So without that, the project would have been so cheap!  And, the hardest part by far was any step involving the hardibacker board–the cutting, the gluing, the drilling of holes, etc.  If you don’t have to do that step, tiling would be so easy.

The last step that we need to do is wipe down all the tile with some cheesecloth to boost the shine.  I didn’t have any at our house, so I’ll have to get some, but I am so happy with how it turned out.  Now, I want to do something about that gold and those wood handles.  Suggestions??

11 Responses to “Fireplace Project”

  1. Serena 07/19/2010 at 9:48 pm #

    Wow, it looks SO much better!

  2. Cathleya 07/19/2010 at 9:50 pm #

    I’m AMAZED by this tiling business. You make it sound as if we could do this but I really don’t think we could!!! 🙂 I’d love to tile our kitchen walls (well the tiny amt of space we have of “walls” in there). You’re giving me strength to think maybe we can do it!

    • kelsey@mintedlife 07/20/2010 at 6:34 am #

      You should!! It was not bad at all. The hardest part was the concrete stuff and you shouldn’t even have to do it. Buy that simple mat stuff, it’s amazing!!

    • kelsey@mintedlife 07/20/2010 at 9:43 am #

      Oh, and I forgot to say, the tile with the mesh back makes it even easier!

  3. Mina 07/19/2010 at 11:08 pm #

    oh wow, hardibacker, circular saw, what is all this stuff? amazing! i’m so impressed, and the fireplace looks fantastic!

  4. Liz 07/20/2010 at 8:19 am #

    Wow, you make it looks so easy- it looks great! You could spray paint the gold/wood to match the black frame. That would be an easy/cheap/quick solution.

    • kelsey@mintedlife 07/20/2010 at 9:42 am #

      That’s a really good idea! I kept thinking white, but I thought it would look too retro. I think you’re right about the black….

  5. Morgan 07/20/2010 at 1:51 pm #

    Wow, that turned out fantastic! And I’m sure you’ll be able to find another use for your new saw to make that purchase worthwhile! 🙂

  6. Creature Gorgeous 07/21/2010 at 9:02 pm #

    FANTASTIC, Kelsey!!! That is just fantastic!!! You guys are very skilled. I think the saw will bring on more projects. Buy it and they will come! Look forward to seeing more!

  7. Jody 07/22/2010 at 12:19 pm #

    That turned out so nice! I love it!


  1. More about the Fireplace « Minted Life - 07/25/2010

    […] Jul I know, I know.  I just talked about the fireplace.  But, I have more to say.  See, the doors were bothering me.  Here’s what they looked […]

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