Day 8: Fireplace Rework

home reno

The fireplace in our living room is the focal point in the room.  We decided to not put a TV in our living room and to make it a more formal space.


The fireplace had a beautiful mantel but it really needed some loving attention.  It was painted cream with nasty yellow tiles and of course some were missing.

We first painted the mantel and the large tile that surrounded it white.  I used Valspar trim paint to do so.  Just by painting everything white, it made a considerable difference!


Then we took down the the old tile that was put on the actual fireplace with a crowbar.


I had an old picture frame originally from Home Goods that had a mother of pearl look.  I wanted to find tile that matched my favorite picture frame to put around the fireplace.  I found this Floriana oyster glazed porcelain mosaic square wall tile at Lowes (where else would I shop for home improvement projects???).  I loved the random mother of pearl oyster tiles it had scattered in it.

IMG_4680(Not pictured: white sanded grout caulk and grout sponge)

All of our supplies ended up costing us $60 from Lowes. Things we had to purchase for the project:  tile (we needed 5 12×12 sheets), a grout trowel with notches, a putty knife, rubber grout float, grout sponge, sanded grout, sanded grout caulk, and Mastic.


The tile sheets I picked out were 12 x 12. The height of the two horizontal areas we were covering were only 6 inches high so we had to cut them in half.


Next we had to stick the tile to the fireplace.  We used Type 1 Mastic for fire and stone as an adhesive.  It is a no mix needed and ready to use right out of the container adhesive.  When you put it up, apply enough adhesive for a tile sheet or two.  We put enough for one and an half tile sheets at a time.  If you apply too much adhesive at once, it will start to dry before you get your tile up there.  So, just do a little at a time.  Use the side of your trowel to make lines in the Mastic before you put your tile up.  When deciding where to start laying your tile, you generally should start where your eye will be drawn first.  That meant the middle for us and then we worked our way out to each side.


Next we used our Grout Float to apply even pressure to the tiles.  Press pretty firmly but not too much or you’ll squeeze all the adhesive out.  If you are stacking rows of tile on top of each other, you might need to get tile spacers because they tend to slide down a little when you put them up.


Jamie worked with his uncle a few summers doing stucco and stone work so he knew a lot about the grout.  I had to Google and Youtube to get an idea as to what we were doing.  He mixed white sanded grout with water outside as it rained.  The consistency was just a little thinner than peanut butter.


Then, Jamie grabbed a blob of grout with his Grout Float and started from the bottom and pushed it into all the cracks as he slid it upwards.  After it was up there, he wiped away the excess with the Grout Float at a 45 degree angle.  This made sure that the grout filled every nook and cranny.


After putting up the grout, we used a wet sponge to wipe away any excess grout from the tiles and the surfaces surrounding it.  You have to rinse your sponge and repeat a few times.  And you have to make sure to replace your water with fresh water once your bucket gets too clouded and mucky.


Lastly, we caulked all around the edges to make clean seams.

What do you think?  I love it.


Our little helper Bumbo Olivia seems to like it too.  She was fascinated with the bright white tile.


My favorite purchase for the mantel so far is this little guy from Home Goods.  He was on sale for less than $10!

I will be reworking whats on our mantel this week and will post more later.  Check out our other renovations here:




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