A new hearth

With all the difficult decision-making around the fireplace done, it remains only to rebuild the hearth.

To build our 6mm slate tiles up to the level of the 19mm floorboards, we used two layers of ceramic underlay. For the bit going over the concrete, we used a drill-and-plug technique, with tile adhesive, to keep the underlay down.

drill-and-plug

Gaps are sealed with duct tape. The tiles are sealed with Feast and Watson Paving and Sandstone sealer – it was the only one we could find locally that promised a matt finish. We’re not particularly interested in the wet look you get from gloss sealers.

The real trick was finding the right trim. We eventually found brass angle of the right height and at the right price at George White & Co. after a tip-off from Ang.

tile-trim

The trim did not come with nail holes, which complicated things just a little. We got it down and straight using a combination of flat-head nails, bullet head nails, string and tile adhesive.

tile-trim-down

Then we cut 1 tile in half to start the brick-stagger pattern:

tile-ready-to-cut

And we’re off!

tiled-hearth-one-third

The tile under the propping-post isn’t stuck down straight away. We didn’t want the weight to squeeze out the adhesive.

We’re thinking the effort is going to be worth it:

heart-tiles-ungrouted

Probably the trickiest bit is that the tiles aren’t uniform size or thickness. Most of them aren’t even square. That gives a bit of a rustic-y feel to to layout, but means each one has to be carefully selected to ensure it fits in with the ones around it. Just one of those fiddly things you can do yourself, with a little patience, but which you wouldn’t want to be paying someone for.