Our house was built in 1979/1981 with an old brick fireplace that both of us didn’t like. We decided to give it a face lift with natural slate tiles from Lowes/Homedepot. The total cost is about $150 & 3 days of work. The original brick fireplace.
We painted the wall with warm color. Get multi-color natural slate tiles and the some smooth tiles for the bottom. I bought a 7″ wet tile cutter from Harbor Tools Freight for $59.00 when it’s on sale since we will use it a lot around the house. Home Depot and Lowes would charge 1 cut for 25 cents. It’s amazing to have one.
We started with the bottom bricks first, cut & lay out the tiles to make sure they fit nicely.
We use the already mixed mortar in a big bucket at Home Depot ($28) and 1/4 trowel for tiles 8-12″ ($4). Spread mortar evenly at 45 degree angle across the back of the tile and place them over the bricks, twist a little to place the tile well to the brick surface. Put spacer in between tiles to make them fit to the size of the brick area. I use 1/4″ and less since they fit perfectly with my 18″ tiles.
When the bottom bricks are covered, we measured and layout the 12″ slate tile to determine what type of spacers we need to fit them across. 1/4″ or less was the correct spacers for our project. We start from both ends of the fireplace and up. We use blocks to support the tiles from drifting downward due to weight over the adhesive.
We stopped here and wait for the mortar to cure over night before we starts to pile all the other tiles on the top.
We did change the layout of the tiles after we placed them, the best way is to design the look with different pattern of tiles before starting to place mortar and tiles.
After all tiles are placed, we cut the tiles to fit both sides of brick wall ~ 4.5″ wide. The tile cutter cut them perfectly straight. My $59 well spent. We use grout with dark brown color to blend in with the slate tiles, a little box ($7.44) and a grout floater. We wait for 1 day before we applied the grout. We have not bought the grout sealer yet, we don’t think the fireplace will have any moisture, but we will apply in a few days anyhow.
Finally, a simple transformation is done and we do like it.
On a cold winter night, when the spare the air alert is off, we get the fire going, the kids are playing, it’s beautiful and worth all our efforts.