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How to lay ceramic tile {tutorial}

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Last summer we removed our gas stove in our family room and replaced it with a pellet stove. Economically, the best decision we ever made.  When we purchased the pellet stove we needed to extend the ceramic tile another foot in order to obtain the necessary permit. A friend of my dad’s actually did the tile installation as we needed it done quickly but “yours truley” learned how to lay ceramic tile that day.

how to lay ceramic tile

Some of these pictures were taken with my cell phone so they are not the best quality.

First, we removed the carpet from the area that needed to be tiled. You can see below the existing tile where the gas Vermont Casting stove was. In order to obtain a permit in our town for a pellet stove, our stove needed to be on a cement or tile surface and needed to extend 12 inches beyond the stove. The pellet stove is much larger and the existing tile didn’t extend out enough so we need to add to the tile that was already there.

how to lay ceramic tile

We applied the (mortar) thin-set to the existing plywood floor with a Vnotch trowel and then added 1/4″ HardiBacker cement board on top of the thin-set. You can purchase the HardieBacker board and thin-set at any home improvement store.

how to lay ceramic tile

Press the cement board firmly in order to secure properly and nail into place. I used the HardiBacker cement board when I installed our kitchen backsplash last year and it’s very easy to work with.

how to lay ceramic tile

Notice how we nailed in an alternating pattern (bottom and top row). This ensures that the HardiBacker board is secured evenly.

how to lay ceramic tile

Note the nail pattern.

how to lay ceramic tile

Next, we added a metal tile edging at the end (on top of) of the HardiBacker board which we secured with nails.

how to lay ceramic tile

Our tile needed to be cut on an angle because of the circular space. We used a ceramic tile cuter to cut along the circular lines we drew on the tile.

Note, we left the existing metal trim edging and just extended the new tile from that. We used another piece of metal tile edging to cap off the end where the new tile was layed.

how to lay ceramic tile

Before you apply your thin-set on top of the HardiBacker board, be sure to cut and measure your tiles prior. This will ensure that you have measured your tiles properly.

We used a table wet saw to cut some of our tiles and the handheld ceramic tile cutter for the others. Cutting round angles with a wet saw is very difficult, this is where the handheld cutter saw works great!

how to lay ceramic tile

how to lay ceramic tile

Apply a layer of thin-set using a Vnotch trowel on top of the HardiBacker board.

how to lay ceramic tile

Then add your ceramic tile.

how to lay ceramic tile

We used silver gray grout. Once the carpet was pulled back to the new tile, we simply cut the carpet to fit around the circular tiled area and tacked it back in place.

How to lay ceramic tile

I haven’t quite figured out a “mantel” for the fireplace yet as the top lid opens but I really like how the wide pine paneling looks behind the stove.

how to lay ceramic tile

We decided to lay the new tile at a different angle in order to create a contrast with the existing tile. I think the alternating pattern creates visual interest.

how to lay ceramic tile

I was pretty excited during the installation that I got to learn how to lay ceramic tile from a professional. Sometimes these types of projects are so intimidating but I am here to tell you, they really are doable. I will do a post soon on the economic benefits of a pellet stove vs. a gas stove. The cost savings is amazing! If you are interested in other DIY tiling projects, be sure to check out our subway tile kitchen backsplash tiling project and our mosaic tile bathroom project.

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