How to Build a Fireplace Heart

Building a fireplace hearth yourself is not difficult if you have a good plan and know what you are doing. The first thing that you need to decide is if you want the hearth to be freestanding or attached to your home. If it is going to be freestanding then you will need to choose the right tile to use on your backer board. There are several types of tile that you can use including ceramic, porcelain, stainless steel and limestone.

Ceramic tile is usually used on the outside of a fireplace hearth. Although this type of tile is available in many different colors and designs, the most popular color is white. This is because it will not show any marks or scuff marks like other tiles do. If you have a thick wall then you can also opt for a thin-set of tile and glue it directly to the wall.

Porcelain tile is also popular and although it can crack and break when it is exposed to fire, the beauty of the design is not lost. You will need to choose your backer board according to the thickness of the tile. If your fireplace hearth is made from thick tile then you will want a thicker backer board scoring tool. This is especially necessary if the hearth is to be attached to your wall. If you do not have a thick wall then you can choose a thinner tile.

Before you use a scoring tool you will first need to prepare your work area by covering your floor with a heavy bag. It is best to use old clothes hangers because they will not scratch or mark the tile. Use masking tape to cover any exposed edges on the tile. Place the scoring tool against the backer that you are going to use and then score along the perimeter to hold the tile in place.

Once the backer board is in place to attach it to the rear of your fireplace hearth. Lay your thin-set on top of the backer board making sure that the color of the tile is evident. For best results lay the thin-set directly on top of the tile. If you must lay it over a darker tile then cut the pattern a little smaller. Cover the entire area that you just scored with masking tape and then let it dry.

Once you have completed this step you will want to use the stored pattern to fill in any gaps that are left between the heart and the back of the hearth. The next step in how to build a fireplace heart is to line the inside of the hearth with mortar. You should work in small steps. The idea is to get as much mortar in place as possible without overdoing it. Be careful when lifting the hearth because any pieces of mortar that fall can injure you or your family. Be careful not to put too much mortar in place or else it will not stay in place and will start to crumble.

This content is contributed by Guestomatic

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