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How to Tile an Arch Design Around a Fireplace

Updated on March 6, 2012


A fireplace commands focal-point attention in whatever room it occupies, but if its current style clashes with the room's d├ęcor and design, it only functions as a big eyesore in the space. Changing that is just a matter of changing its facade, and the design and material options are numerous. One such way to give an existing fireplace a new look is to make it looked arched -- softening its appearance with interesting curves where it used to only have straight lines. Prep the fireplace with the backing and tile mortar it needs, and tile it over with an arched design.

Tiled arches and arch designs are very common in Islamic architecture.
Tiled arches and arch designs are very common in Islamic architecture. | Source

Materials Needed

Tile mortar
Transfer paper
Tile saw or rotary cutter with tile blade
Stucco or textured wall finish

Transferring the Arch From One Side to the Next

Step 1

Make the outline for the arch using a starting midpoint and two endpoints that mark where the curve of the arch ends. This is a freestyle approach that custom fits the arch to the size and profile of the fireplace's facade.

Mark the midpoint of the arch a few inches above the center of the fireplace's opening with a marker. Come down on the two side edges of the fireplace's facade 8 to 12 inches from the level of the midpoint mark, and mark the endpoint of the curve on one side with a marker. The endpoint of the curve is where the curve ends and the vertical line continues downward to the base of the fireplace.

Step 2

Sketch the outline of the arch from the midpoint to the endpoint with a marker. Follow the design of an arch -- come down with a marker at a 45-degree angle from the midpoint, curve the mark down and to the right towards the endpoint on the side, level it off horizontally, and then curve it down to the endpoint.

Step 3

Lay a large sheet of transfer paper over the arch, and trace the outline of the arch through the paper.

Step 4

Cut the arch shape from the midpoint to the endpoint with a pair of scissors.

Step 5

Flip the transfer paper over, and align the midpoint of the paper to the midpoint of the arch, but with the curve of the arch on the other side. Trace the outline of the arch on the other side of the fireplace. Follow this guide for installing the tiles.

Diamond-Oriented Square Tiles

Step 1

Select 5-inch or smaller tiles to work with.

Step 2

Start at the fireplace's midpoint. Orient the first tile like a diamond with its corners pointed in a north-south-east-west orientation. Apply the mortar and affix the tile to the fireplace's facade.

Step 3

Install the next tiles -- one on each side of the middle tile -- just below the east and west corners of the first tile.

Step 4

Install the rest of the tiles following the arched outline on the fireplace, on both sides. Install the last tiles vertically downward until they reach the base of the fireplace.

Step 5

Finish the tile with grout, and complete the rest of the fireplace's facade with a wall-textured finish, such as stucco.


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