tenisha_y_evans

Did I make a mistake on my fireplace tile??

New Home
2 months ago

I just recently took out the tile on my fireplace bc it was outdated. we got a contractor to send down all the mortar (which was a horrible mess) and installed backerboard for re-tiling. Our contractor suggested that we look at granite for the fireplace since we were getting new kitchen countertops. I somewhat dismissed the idea thinking that would be far too expensive. I asked my granite consultant today how much it would be to granite the fireplace surround and hearth and she said $500-$1000. We paid $400 for our tile installation and $200 in materials. Now I'm wishing we would've just got the granite! I'm hoping tiled fireplaces aren't outdated altogether bc when I look online I mostly see fireplace surround with one smooth piece not individual pieces. I've included a pic of our fireplace before (with the tan tiles and arch mantel) and the tile we just got installed. it hasnt been grouted yet so it's not done. my question is should I eat the $600 we've spent on tile installation and get the granite surround to match our kitchen countertops. if they have to sand against wont be worth it since it created way too much dust. but if they're able to granite over the tile we may consider it.

Comments (44)

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    well, the problem I see is the size of the tile and the way it was laid out. I mean, it's ok, but why use a large format tile if you're going to have to cut it to fit?? Look at your old fireplace. they used large tiles, but they fit because they were square.

    see? like this marble tile. see how the grout lines are almost non visible? and the tiles fit correctly?


    I don't like large tiles on the hearth unless they fit exactly to the depth. I would have used a solid piece of stone for that.

    do you want an honest opinion? I don't like it. the color is ok, but I don't like the tile choice. Sorry. I don't think your tile guy is all that great either.

    You don't have to use granite, from your kitchen (which isn't a great choice unless it's a really good looking type of granite) Lets see the granite you picked.


    you could have used a nice marble mosaic (this is the one I thin suits your fireplace and room. and look at the mantle. you need one similar w/a bit of height)


    or 12x12 marble tiles, or remnants, or 4x12 subways, or cement tiles, or 2x2's or 4x4's ceramics,

    What look were you going for?








    I like both of these for your room too. top one you could do w/a 1/4 slab of marble or stone, maybe a large remnant. bottom is marble mosaic sheets. but look at both mantles. beautiful


  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.

    You also need to eliminate the top row of tile and put a wood board there- the proportions are all off. I understand why you ditched the arch but you can’t just remove the whole board- look at beths first picture. I think the tile will be fine otherwise. If you go with granite that piece still has to go back...

  • ShadyWillowFarm

    The scale of the tiles does not fit the scale of the mantle. You can see if a beefier mantle helps.

  • New Home

    Thanks Beth for your honest opinion! we are trying to go for a nice modern look but need guidance lol (but seriously). We knew the tile were too big but really liked the color of the tile and was hoping it would work. in the end I just dont know if I like it either:-(

    He hasnt grouted yet and I hate to have him pull up all the tile he just spent so much time cutting but I think getting the granite slab will be the best choice.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    lets see the granite first.

    better he removes it now then after he grouts. you may be able to save a little money if you don't have him grout it.


    if you don't like it now, you certainly won't like it later. remove it now while it's still easy enough to pull them off.

  • New Home

    Thanks Hallet & Co.! Yes, we thought maybe we should replace the wood but then saw mantels that were just thin pieces of wood like the attached photo on the sides ike ours and thought we could keep it as is.

  • New Home

    Here's our granite slabs

  • PRO
    Hansen Wholesale

    The problem is the mantel.


    Here's how it would look if you keep the tile, fix the mantel and add a nice looking fireplace door.



    Shown with Design Specialties Essex Fireplace Door in Venetian Bronze


    See more Fireplace Glass Doors at Hansen Wholesale

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    hansen, nice mantle,,,tile still sucks

    NewHome,,,that granite isn't terrible for the fireplace. if you like it and it works w/your decor, it's fine. I would prob use a solid black piece for the hearth though. I think it would look way better and offer a bit of contrast. and I don't mean a glossy black. a honed black. even a black slate would work.


    this is honed black granite. all around. I like this too


    in a pinch you could use 24x24" basalt tiles. (seal the tops first) for the hearth.

    I used this in my bathroom. stuff is super dense and completely fireproof.



    Your other option is ask your fabricator if he has any other cool remnants lying around his shop

  • New Home

    Yes, I see exactly what you're saying. That wood piece makes a big difference.

  • rnonwheels

    I think it looks ok, maybe a little deeper, beefier mantle but it's a huge improvement!


  • cat_ky

    I am not fond of the tile you picked, but, it is the lack of the board that goes across that looks bad. It looks much nicer in the pictures where it was photo shopped back in. I do think once the piece of wood is put back in and the tiles are all grouted, it will look pretty nice.

  • Design Girl

    It's not the tile, it's the fact that you need another piece of wood for the mantle like Hansen said above.

  • A Foster

    The tile looks better with a complete mantel as shown with photo shop. I’m with Beth in not liking the large tiles but that individual taste. Im no designer but I think your granite would look good for fireplace

  • PRO
    Hansen Wholesale

    Here's how it would look with your granite. If you do the granite, you would make the board on the mantel a little less wide so the top marble piece is about the same width as the sides. I made the board wider on the tile version so that there was only one tile on the top and no grout line. This is more proportional.



    Shown with FLD-1 Frameless Fireplace Door in Satin Nickel with Gray Glass



    Shown with Polished Chrome Free Standing Fireplace Screen with Mesh Curtains and Bottom Mesh Panel. This provides a more proportional look of the opening by creating the illusion that the fireplace opening starts at the hearth.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER

    That's your cocktail table in the before photo? Why do you need a mantel and surround at all, if the look you want is MODERN? Tear the whole thing off. Granite isn't all that modern either, unless honed. : ) Maybe a soapstone ? It can be done one piece and a flush hearth. Add a mantel only.....if you like.


    lake home · More Info




  • New Home

    Thanks so much for the visuals Hansen Wholesale! This helps me alot with my decision making. Do you know where I could get the wood piece? Would it be Home Depot or a specialty fireplace store?

  • flopsycat1

    I think Hallett and Hansen have the best and most practical ( and dust free ) suggestion. Doubt that ready made pieces of wood to fit are available. Hire a carpenter to do it right, and match the grout color to the tile.

  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner

    Material selection, proportions are all problems with this FP IMO.


  • warnerreisman

    Sorry. Mantel too small and underwhelming. I had a carpenter build mine up and saved money on tile and granite for now. Not crazy about tile specially on floor. My carpenters work attached

  • New Home

    wow! how did he build it up?

  • New Home

    We decided to remove the tile and get the granite on the fireplace. My contractor says that we dont have to do alot of sanding. since he just laid the tile and didnt grout it he thinks he can get the surface pretty smooth. the only con is that the whole fireplace has mortar on it now and I dont think we can put wood over the mortor. If we get the granite the way it is now being undimensional, do you think we could visually even it out by getting a slightly bigger hearth? we have to use a full slab anyway for it to be seamless so we'll have enough available

  • warnerreisman

    Good decision. I kept the slate hearth and fireplace surround. My carpenter removed old wood mantel and built out the fireplace with wood and molding from Home Depot. Keeping the black saved me money. Any carpenter should be able to do this mantel surround for you and not expensive
    Any slab they can cut to your dimensions.

  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.

    You need to put the board back- chip off the big chunks of mortar and install the board, any good carpenter could get that done in a short amount of time, the board could even get planned thinner if needed.


    Why do you want one piece? I would advise doing the surround with joints as it will allow the stone to expand and contract with the heat- horror stories on here with stone cracking on fireplaces.



    Smith · More Info

    This is a marble surround made with four individual pieces- I assure you the top piece of stone got hot to the touch during use.

  • Gcubed

    following

  • New Home

    ok, thx for the advice!

  • cat_ky

    Do not put the granite on without adding that piece back. It wont look any better than it does right now.

  • PRO
    Hansen Wholesale

    I agree with Hallet & Co. about the granite. Use separate pieces for expansion, it will look fine just like the mockups I created. Regarding the piece for the mantel, you may be able to find a clear piece of poplar at a home center, but getting the right width may require ripping it. You will also notice that I added a piece of molding to the bottom edge to match the molding on the mantel legs. You may or may not be able to find that molding. Others have suggested having a new mantel made, which I agree with since the one you have is not really fantastic per say and could be better. But if the budget is limited, adding the board would be acceptable if done properly.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    I would not use the surround and do the tile or whatever to the ceiling , no TV above it and I would do the tile or granite without so much movement .

  • New Home

    We've decided to replace our mantel. Our contractor is charging us $3750 for labor and materials to build a new one. We are only getting the bottom half of the attached picture done, not the paneling above the fireplace. Is $3,750 a good price? It sounded quite high to us. We were expecting about $1500.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    3750 for just the white mantel part? For this fireplace? no replacement tile work, nothing else?



    I'd say it's high. is it the same guy who did the tile? and now he's going to build you the mantle? what about the granite surround? who's doing that?

    personally after seeing his work, I wouldn't let him do anything else.

  • New Home

    Ok, I thought it seemed quite high too just for the mantel only without tile or paneling above the fireplace.

  • suedonim75

    I thought your original intent was a modern look? Nothing about that new surround is modern.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    is it the same guy who did the tile? and now he's going to build you the mantle? what about the granite surround? who's doing that?

    personally after seeing his work, I wouldn't let him do anything else.

    is this the look you want?




    forgo the mantle and just do the granite


  • New Home

    We are still getting granite. Going to do a black soapstone granite on the surround. It's anew carpenter. I agree that we were definitely not letting the other tile guy do anymore work.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    ok good. and soapstone is soapstone, not granite.

    for that price, have him throw in the trim work up the wall.

    maybe like one of these





  • New Home

    Our goal is to do a modern look but the rest of our house is still traditional so we wanted to stick with having a mantel around the surround, but wanted a more updated nice looking mantel.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    i get that, I was merely saying for the price see if he could do some added trim work above the mantle like in the pictures. you need something in that large expanse. (unless you have a pice of art that's 4' high)


    this one is beautiful. it has the mantle, the trim work above the mantle and the artwork


  • New Home

    Thanks for the examples! It's helpful for us to see. Yes, we have an art piece that is really tall that we're going to hang above.

    I just texted the carpenter about the price and he reduced it down to $3,250. Still seems high to me :-)

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    all depends on the quality of his work. is he using MDF? is he painting it?

    why don't you get another quote or two for the same work and see where the price falls?

  • New Home

    He's using wood and seems to be really good. But I agree, we should get more quotes.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    what kind of wood? wood expands and contracts. You want to use MDF panels, especially if he's painting. (is he also going to paint?) There's no sense in using 'good wood' if it's going to be painted. and of course 'good wood' is also more expensive. you need to find out what he's using and what his paint protocol is

  • New Home

    Ok, good call. I assumed he was using wood but I'll double check. He said he doesn't do any painting.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    lol..so he wants over 3K to build that mantle, using pre-primed MDF or paint grade wood and he isn't even going to paint? That would be a no for me. Call in someone else. sounds like he doesn't want work.

    is this basically what you want? can't imagine this being 3200 bucks,,,and not even painting it?





    have you looked at pre made mantles? this is from Wayfair $500 for another 500 or 1000, I'm sure you could get something really nice


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