Skip to content
Sample Request!
Sample Request!
Fireplace Tiles: Types and Designs

Fireplace Tiles: Types and Designs

A fireplace is a structure made with metal, brick or stone to contain a fire. It soothes the cold surroundings thereby creating coziness in the area. Modern fireplaces vary in heat efficiency depending on the design. A well designed fireplace is the perfect focal point of the room to catch the eye of the guests. It can be designed in any style varying from traditional, contemporary, Victorian to modern etc. It should be emphasized in the room because of its beauty and elegance. There are lots of materials available in the market to design and decorate the fireplace, one of which is tile. Tiles are strong, heat resistant and durable. They also add style to the fireplace surround. They add beauty and sophistication as well as they give an elegant and magnificent look to the entire room.

Important Considerations for Fireplace:

The surroundings of the fireplace are more than an attractive frame. It works as a barrier to protect the house from heat, sparks and flame in the fire pit. It is important to know and understand the safety rules when renovating, installing or redecorating a fireplace to avoid any personal injury, loss of life or property damage. Here are some rules for installing a fireplace in your house:

  • Each locality and state has its own fire safety rules which the people of that locality or state has to follow. The local codes vary nationwide and they always come before any other regulations. If your locality doesn’t have fire safety code then follow National Standard Building code or National Fire Code.
  • Always include the installation and safety instructions based on national standards in the owner’s manual and it must be followed by the installer.

The distance between the firebox and the surroundings must be minimum of 6 inches. Always pay attention to flammable objects. They mustn’t be near the fireplace area. Always hang the stockings or garlands away from the fireplace as well as never place the combustible tree near it. These things must be far away from heat and flames.

How To Tile A Fireplace Surround:

Fireplace tiling is an elegant and beautiful upgrade which is worth the effort. Family holidays and dinner parties are more likely to celebrate or organize in front of the hearth. In old times, bricks and paint were used around the fireplace but nowadays there are several modern and decorative options and materials available to surround the fireplace. One of the most common materials used is tile. Tile gives an elegant, beautiful and modern look to the hearth and the room. Tiling a fireplace isn’t a quick task but it becomes a magnificent, eye catchy as well as an entertainment spot of the room to impress others.

  • Make a Design Draft

First of all select a design for the fireplace by choosing the style that is simple or decorative like contemporary, traditional, modern, Victorian, minimalist etc. Now choose the tiles according to color, texture, design and style of your choice. Make a cardboard template on the floor before inserting the tiles on the fireplace so you can arrange and space the tiles evenly and appropriately.

  • Create a Smooth Surface

Remove the mantel if possible or use a painter’s tape to secure the edges where it meets the surrounds. If the tiles are going to be installed on an uneven surface like bricks etc then create a smooth base for tiles before starting. Follow the instructions on the packet and prepare the mixture and apply the layer of thinset on the bricks. Cover them and fill the grout lines. Now smooth the surface and let it dry overnight.

  • Install a Temporary Support Ledge

Mark the center of the top of the firebox opening. Draw a plumb line at that mark that extends from the firebox to the top of the surround using a level. Use this centerline as a starting point to ensure a balanced design.



  • Set the Top Surface Tiles

Start by placing the row of tiles on top of the firebox. Begin with the center line and work outward from there. This is because you can see if any tile adjustment is needed to avoid cutting any slivers at the ends. Mix up the new batch of thinset and additive. Use a trowel and apply thinset across the center line above the support ledge. Place the first tile at the center line, its bottom edge should rest on the support ledge. Tip it into place and wiggle it to properly set it in place. Continue placing tiles on either sides of the center according to the design. Periodically check the tile for level and plumb. When necessary, adjust the spacing between tiles to keep them even.

  • Lay the Rest of the Field

Work your way up the center line course by course. Place the tiles according to your design and pattern. Use spaces between the tiles so that they must be evenly laid. Let the tiles set overnight.

  • Tile the Legs

Remove the support ledge. Measure the height of each tile plus the grout line to get the estimated size of the cut tiles at the bottom. Lay the tiles along the legs according to the design, working from the bottom of the leg to upwards. Tile the other leg in the same way. Wait a few hours until all the tiles are firmly set.

  • Set the Cut Tiles

Remove the spacers and support ledges. Measure the distance between the hearth and the bottom of the tiles. Subtract the width of the two grout lines. Using a wet, cutting tile saw, trim a tile to this measurement. Spread the thinset on the back of the tile and push it into place and wiggle it holds the wall. Repeat it for the other cut tiles on the bottom of the legs and allow it to set overnight.

  • Grout the Tile

Use a putty knife to clear away any pieces of thinset struck between the tiles. Place the painter’s tape over art tiles that have irregularly shaped surfaces to prepare them for grouting. Now mix the grout according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Hold the grout float at an angle, pull the grout across the face of the tiles to pack it into the joints. Remove the excess grout from the face of the tiles.

  • Grout the Art Tiles

To grout the art tiles, load the mixture into a grout bag and squeeze it into the joints. Let it dry for about 30 to 60 minutes or until firm to touch. Damp a grout sponge and wipe the tiles in circular motion to clean off the excess. Let it dry overnight.

Use a clean cloth, buff and polish the face of the tiles to remove the white haze. Reinstall the mantel and use a caulk gun to caulk between the outer edge of the tile and the mantel’s inner edge. Allow the tiles to set for another two to three days before building a fire.


  • Use whole tiles on the entire fireplace and leave the cut tiles for bottom of the fireplace legs.
  • When dealing with the art tiles that have irregular edges, use pieces of cardboard as spacers.
  • As you proceed, clean the tiles and the joints periodically, with damp cloth to remove excess thinset before it becomes hard.
  • Occasionally mist the grout with a spray bottle to keep it safe from cracking as it dries.


The hearth is a place where you can emphasize the clear look and feel of the room. The culture of fireplace has been evolved through the ages. There are different design styles that are transformed nowadays that are contemporary, traditional, rustic, and modern. The materials used for contemporary designs are marble, granite, porcelain. In rustic style, use of faux wood tiles, natural stones or pebbled textures are common. Focus on sleek and simple designs to create a modern look these days to give a minimalist look with straight lines and simple forms. In traditional designs, the use of decorative tiles is best that can add a style in the decor.

There is a vast variety of tile options available for the fireplace these days. You can choose any option or material according to your taste and style. Use of different tiles give different looks to the room. For instance, as for an antique look, use encaustic cement tiles. For a classy look use natural stones. To achieve a modern look, use monochromatic designs. To add luxury use the marble. These different looks create unique and sophisticated styles in your living room.

Tiles For Fireplace:

Whether you are renovating or designing your living room, bedroom or outdoor space, your fireplace is a great place to start. Fireplace is considered as the focal point of any room. So a tiled fireplace can add light, style and dimension to your space and complete the look of the entire room. Renovating the fireplace with tiles give a modern and updated look. With a lot of tile options and colors available, you’ll be able to create a unique and beautiful design that reflects your taste, style and personality. A fireplace surround should be as durable as it is beautiful. Choosing the right tile is the foundation to build a great looking fireplace. Some of the tile choices of tiles are listed below

  • Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles can be used as fireplace tiles. These tiles come in a wide variety of colors with a huge range of designs and they are very budget friendly. Due to these reasons, many people choose them for the fireplace surrounds. They can be used on hearth but only the floor tiles can do the job.

  • Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain is denser and more durable than ceramic. It is an outstanding and magnificent fireplace tile choice for surround and hearth. The tiles for hearth will need to be made for floor use with a PEI rating. They are a little bit more expensive than ceramic tiles. They are one of the top tiles available for fireplace use. It is also available in a wide range of colors and designs. They are easy to maintain and some of them are made to have stone like textures too.

  • Marble Tiles

Marble gives a classy and high end look to the entire room rather than just the fireplace. You can always count on marble for the elegance and beauty. The gorgeous veining in the marble make the surround and hearth look like the natural art work. Mostly seen or used marble colors are white, black, off-white and gray but it is also available in different colors like red, green and pink. You can use these colors to make an outstanding fireplace. These tiles come in finishes that can make them appear glossy.



  • Granite Tiles

Granite is one of the strongest and most heat-resistant tile materials of all. It is also scratch proof as well as durable. It can be easily handled and can be used on the hearth. It is easy to clean. This is an extra luxurious choice and it can last a lifetime. It comes in a color range from white to black as well as even pink and will have small flecks of colors instead of veins.

  • Slate Tiles

If you want a rustic look in your living room then the slate tiles are one of the best options available in the market. You can also take an additional advantage from slate that it comes in a large range of colors from orange to black. It has a smooth flat surface that look quite clean and modern.

  • Travertine Tiles

Travertine is another stone that works perfectly on the fireplace, typically in light brown or cream color. It gives an antique feel. Its split faced tiles give a rougher appearance and the chiseled edges make them look aged. If you want a natural stone fireplace that looks more contemporary in style then a honed finish is a popular option.

  • Other Natural Stone Options

There are other natural stone options available for fireplace too. For pale colored stone tiles that are strong and have veining similar to that of marble, quartzite is a winning selection. Limestone in beige and tans can add a warm look to any room. Soapstone is best among heat-resistant tiles which also happens to be a timeless and maintenance free material. Pebble tiles are another beautiful option. They create a natural, unique and three-dimensional look to the fireplace. Mosaic tiles is another option available which is made from the mother of pearl, the inner lining of certain shells which can be used to add a shimmering iridescence to your fireplace surround.

  • Concrete Tiles

Concrete is an alternative to materials made by nature. It can be made into tiles that look just like stone and wood with realistic textures by using a special mold and colorant. These tiles are tough, easy to maintain and care and will cost you less than authentic natural stone and other faux options like porcelain. It can be used in so many different styles from rustic to contemporary or even ultra-modern.

  • Metal Tiles

Metal tiles are a different choice for a fireplace as it can handle heat. Those made up of stainless steel, copper and aluminum are the best for tiling purpose that can be used to decorate the surround. They come in many shapes often rectangular along with different finishes. They come in tiles as well as in sheets that are easier to install.

  • Glass Tiles

For an extra color use of glass tiles is an impressive and wonderful way to get it. They are luminous and can brighten up the area as well as the room. They can also handle high heats. They can only be installed on the surround but don’t use it as the hearth tile.

Design Ideas:

A fireplace is considered as the attractive focal point of the room. It should be emphasized by its beauty and elegance. But if it is grabbing attention in the wrong way then you have to renovate it to give it a new attractive look with tiles. There are a lot of stylish options available that will transform a dull and sad fire surrounding into an elegant and adorable feature. There are some ideas which will inspire you to create a magnificent fireplace to cozy up the room. Here are some design ideas for fireplace tiling.

  • Herringbone Tile Pattern

Herringbone is one of the best design ideas to refresh an old fireplace. This pattern gives a new look to the room. The zigzag pattern adds spice to the living room without hard work and changing a lot of things.

  • Pebble Tiles

Simply replace the plain fire hearth with the pebble tiles to give a modern and sophisticated look to the room. Pebble tiles create an earthy styled fireplace that feels like more modern and elegant rather than rustic.

  • Faux Wood Designs

As wood is flammable, it’s not a good choice to use around a fireplace. Use the faux wood tiles or porcelain wood-look tiles for the surroundings to give a wooden look to the fireplace. They are available in a variety of colors and styles and are typically shaped in planks which give a natural wooden look to the fireplace.

  • Mosaic Tile Designs

Mosaic tiles offer multiple materials together within the same tile. You can add different tile patterns and designs and install them in a mosaic pattern. They create a very interesting fireplace display. These often come in combinations of tiles such as glass, metal, stone or all three in combination.

  • Art Tiles

Use some art tiles to install in the fireplace for fun in your room. If you have a particular hobby, interest or theme that you want to emphasize then you can add art tiles on the surround that can be your canvas. They can be any hand painted or a beach scene painting or your favorite flower or animal etc. you may be able to get away with only purchasing a few and adding them as the emphasis that is evenly spaced between more plain fireplace tiles to spice up your existing surround.

Previous article Travertine Countertops: Design Ideas, Pros & Cons and Cost
Next article Kitchen Floor Tiles Ideas, Images and Tips