Using Glass Mosaic Tiles to Update an Old Fireplace
If you have a fireplace that looks old and outdated, adding a striking fleur de lis wall hanging above the fireplace can add appeal. However, new wall art and décor can only do so much for a tired, dated fireplace. One of the best ways and easiest ways to spruce up an old fireplace is to use glass mosaic tiles. These tiles look great, and can add a lot of design appeal to your fireplace area. When complete, your whole room will look modern and updated, especially since a fireplace is usually the focal point of any room.
Deciding Where to Tile
If you have a fireplace that has a smooth surface such as existing stone or ceramic tile, installing sheets of mosaic tile can actually be quite easy. However, you might also wish to consider tiling the mantle area. Glass mosaic tile makes a very decorative and beautiful mantle surface, which can be a great way of adding an updated look without tiling the entire front surface of your fireplace. You might also choose to simply tile the floor in front of the fireplace opening.
Choosing Your Tile
Although glass tile is generally more expensive than ceramic tile, it is very beautiful and can create a great-looking fireplace. Sheets of small mosaic tiles are much easier to install than individual tiles. When choosing your tile, most times you will want to select mesh mounted sheets for ease of installation. Shop around for your tile until you find a color that you like for a good price. Since you won't need a lot of tile for a fireplace, you might even be able to find smaller amounts of tile at a clearance price. Just be sure to carefully measure so you know how much tile you need, and purchase about five percent more than you need in case you need extra or make a mistake. You will also need thin-set mortar and grout, spacers of the right size for between the mosaic tile sheet, a notched trowel and a grout float.
Preparing the Surface
If the existing fireplace surface is smooth and solid, you might be able to install the glass mosaic tile right over top of the existing surface. However, many people prefer to remove the existing stone or ceramic tiles before adding the new glass tiles. If you remove the tile, break it up carefully with a sledgehammer, wearing eye protection and taking care not to damage the wall. If you remove the tile, you will also want to remove the previous mortar with a hammer and scraper. Before you begin tiling, make sure the surface is in good repair. If there are chips or holes in the existing surface, fill them with spackling compound combined with fiberglass tape so that you have a smooth surface to work with. Remove all dust and loose dirt carefully before proceeding.
Installing the Tile
Once you have the surface prepared, apply the mortar to a small area with the notched trowel. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when using mortar. Then, install the first sheet of mosaic tile, measuring to make sure it is placed straight. Use spacers to maintain the proper spacing between tiles in between the sheets. Once the mortar is completely dry, wipe the surface and remove any mortar that came through the cracks. Then, follow the manufacturer's directions to apply the grout with the float. After the grout has dried for about 20 minutes, or according to directions, wipe with a soft cloth then with a sponge and water. When dry, wipe to remove any haze left from the grout, and enjoy your new glass tile surface.
This article is written by Maria Harris, who writes for Metal Wall Art.