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Using Glass Mosaic Tiles to Update an Old Fireplace

Updated on December 9, 2013

If you have a fireplace that looks old and outdated, adding a striking fleur de lis wall hanging above the fireplace can add appeal.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 d├ęcor 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.


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    • Maria Harris profile image

      Maria Harris 5 years ago from Houston

      Hi LetitiaFT - I'm glad you like it. Thank you for checking out my hub.

    • LetitiaFT profile image

      LetitiaFT 5 years ago from Paris via California

      What a wonderful idea. I'll keep that in mind.

    • Maria Harris profile image

      Maria Harris 6 years ago from Houston

      Hi Annie - Glad you found my hub useful. I'm sure the end result will look great. Just make sure to match the color of the tiles with the rest of the interior. Good luck.

    • profile image

      Annie7 6 years ago

      I am so glad to find this. I had planned to use glass mosaic to cover the lower half of an Ugly brick (the brick is hideous, not charming or pretty) but after doing the hearth have changed my mind. SO reading this, I found the confirmation that just doing the hearth with it will work (husband freaked, thought it would look crazy). I have plenty of ceramic tile, so will finish ion that--hopefully it will look as good as I picture. Thanks again for this, Very helpful! Awesome!

    • Maria Harris profile image

      Maria Harris 6 years ago from Houston

      Hi mert34 --- Thank you for reading and your positive comments.

    • profile image

      mert34 6 years ago

      Very good article! thank you to the author for it! In it interesting and useful information it is possible often times re-read it! I will advise to read it all friends. It will be very useful at writing of the article cam mozaik. Very much thankful you.

    • Maria Harris profile image

      Maria Harris 7 years ago from Houston

      Hi Dolores --- Thanks for stopping in to read my hub, and I'll see what I can do for more detailed pics.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Glass mosaic tile is beautiful almost anywhere but I've never seen it used around a fire place. I wish you had closer shots so we could see how it looks. It sounds like a great idea!