Laying 4 inch quarry tiles in fireplace hearth

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ElectronicFur
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Laying 4 inch quarry tiles in fireplace hearth

Post by ElectronicFur » Mon 16th Nov, 2020 3:04 pm

What is the best way to lay 4 inch quarry tiles in a fireplace hearth?

The existing hearth has 4 inch tiles already, laid with minimal gaps. I need to replace these, as some are cracked and also an odd colour which detracts from the lovely marble fireplace surround.

I've been busy breaking open the fireplace, which had a wood/coal insert, with the rest bricked up. I'm installing a wood burner instead, as all the heat just went up the chimney. So I've opened up the fireplace enough to fit the stove in.

I have lime mortar and plaster ready to neaten up the opening back and side walls, as the remaining bricked up part is pretty messy.

And am going to replace the existing 4 inch tiles, and carry on the tiles into the opening. But wondering what to use to fix and grout the tiles.

Flyfisher
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Re: Laying 4 inch quarry tiles in fireplace hearth

Post by Flyfisher » Mon 16th Nov, 2020 5:01 pm

Much depends on the material of the existing hearth and whether the end result needs to be breathable. If the hearth material underneath the existing tiles is of a cement/concrete construction then it won't be breathable and pretty much any standard tile adhesive should be ok. If the hearth is intended to be breathable then lime mortar would be my choice. In fact, breathable hearth or not, lime mortar should be fine as long as the underlying hearth is sound. It's not as if a hearth is a 'high traffic' area.

Back in 2014, I laid a new limecrete hearth and finished it with clay pamments bedded into NHL2 lime mortar and grouted with the same mix. It has given no problems so far and after six years I'm not expecting any!
fireplace4.JPG
fireplace4.JPG (157.96 KiB) Viewed 373 times

Zebra
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Re: Laying 4 inch quarry tiles in fireplace hearth

Post by Zebra » Tue 17th Nov, 2020 9:06 am

Depends on the substrate. I laid a slate hearth with NHL3.5, pointing with the same mix like Flyfisher did, but underneath was a concrete slab, so no stability issues.

RBailey
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Re: Laying 4 inch quarry tiles in fireplace hearth

Post by RBailey » Tue 17th Nov, 2020 9:53 am

Flyfisher wrote:
Mon 16th Nov, 2020 5:01 pm
Back in 2014,
Stunning "brick" work in the fire place by the way.

ElectronicFur
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Re: Laying 4 inch quarry tiles in fireplace hearth

Post by ElectronicFur » Tue 17th Nov, 2020 11:52 am

I had no idea what the existing substrate was, so I got my vinegar out :)

The substrate appears to be lime. The chimney's also been filled in with brick using two types of lime mortar. One light and the other looks like Blaenavon dark lime. Quite crumbly when I took the bricks out that I needed to fit the stove in.

Image

I'm replacing the quarry tiles with black ones, so from what you're saying I could use a Blaenavon dark lime mortar to lay them?

I'm thinking I might render the side and back of the opening in that dark lime mortar, then I don't have to paint it either. Stove is going in there anyway, so might get away without the lime plaster.

The lime mortar I have is a light Cumbrian colour, I actually bought that and the plaster for another job I haven't started yet in the kitchen. With there being no heating in the downstairs apart from the Aga, the missus prioritised the wood stove :D

Flyfisher
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Re: Laying 4 inch quarry tiles in fireplace hearth

Post by Flyfisher » Tue 17th Nov, 2020 3:55 pm

RBailey wrote:
Tue 17th Nov, 2020 9:53 am
Flyfisher wrote:
Mon 16th Nov, 2020 5:01 pm
Back in 2014,
Stunning "brick" work in the fire place by the way.
Yes, something of a surprise considering we started with this . . . .
fireplace.jpg
fireplace.jpg (96.07 KiB) Viewed 324 times

We were pretty sure there was a far larger fireplace behind it and it turned out there were three different ones before we got back to the original fireplace. Although the above fireplace was built with horrible hard cement and was a pig to remove, the earlier ones were constructed from very soft lime mortar and could be deconstructed pretty much by hand using only a pry bar to loosen up the brickwork. The end result was that the original fireplace brickwork shown in the first photo was completely undamaged. In fact, the only thing we did was to brush down the brickwork and didn't even bother with any repointing, so what you see is exactly as it was bricked up a few hundred years ago.

This was the end result (the Christmas tree gives away the completion deadline - a fairly common one I suspect :wink: )

fireplace-finished.jpg
fireplace-finished.jpg (168.34 KiB) Viewed 324 times

ElectronicFur
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Re: Laying 4 inch quarry tiles in fireplace hearth

Post by ElectronicFur » Tue 17th Nov, 2020 5:14 pm

Wow that is great find considering what you started with Flyfisher. Lovely brickwork.

I was kind of tempted to open up our one some more, but I'm not sure what I'd find.

The remaining bricked up part is another 50cm deep, and I think goes a lot wider that the marble surround too. So it would be a lot of effort, and the space would really be too large. Figured it was better to only open it up enough so the stove just fits and the heat goes out into the room. The brick will store some heat, but it's an internal wall, so that will be ok.

Flyfisher
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Re: Laying 4 inch quarry tiles in fireplace hearth

Post by Flyfisher » Wed 18th Nov, 2020 10:55 pm

Yes, a surprising and welcome original find. We also had a very similar fireplace at the other end of the house, this time with a clearly visible original bressumer, so we were very optimistic about finding something similar. Alas, when opened up we discovered that the rear of the fireplace/stack had been repaired/rebuilt, presumably from the outside, with horribly hard LBC fletton bricks and strong cement mortar. Because the work was done from the outside, the inside finish was very rough indeed and it was a horrible job to chisel off the brickwork to an approximation of a flat surface. Because of this, there is no intention to leave the brickwork exposed and it will be lime-rendered before a similar stove is fitted.

As for the fireplace being too large and limiting the heat output into the room, that's not something we've found to be a problem. The chimney itself is blocked off with a register plate so there is little or no heat loss up the chimney (other than the unavoidable loss up the stove flue of course) and the heat from the stove seems to radiate and convect into the room well enough. After all, if it cannot escape up the chimney the only other place is into the room. We also have one of those heat-driven fans when the stove is in use, which is supposed to blow warm air out into the room. I'm not entirely convinced it's particularly effective as it seems to make little difference if we use it or not, though it's a quirky thing to have as a talking point for house guests who have never seen one before.

Pennyviz
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Re: Laying 4 inch quarry tiles in fireplace hearth

Post by Pennyviz » Thu 19th Nov, 2020 9:47 am

In respect of the lime, I believe you can also add dye powder to change to the colour you want.

Penny

a twig
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Re: Laying 4 inch quarry tiles in fireplace hearth

Post by a twig » Thu 19th Nov, 2020 8:31 pm

Spot on Penny, various pigments are available such as:

https://cornishlime.co.uk/products/asso ... /pigments/

Other vendors are available obviously

Zebra
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Re: Laying 4 inch quarry tiles in fireplace hearth

Post by Zebra » Fri 20th Nov, 2020 11:23 pm

Flyfisher wrote:
Wed 18th Nov, 2020 10:55 pm
We also have one of those heat-driven fans when the stove is in use, which is supposed to blow warm air out into the room. I'm not entirely convinced it's particularly effective as it seems to make little difference if we use it or not, though it's a quirky thing to have as a talking point for house guests who have never seen one before.
I've just got one of those and I think it's brilliant. I reckon it spreads the heat around the room rather than just heating the area around the fire. But then I'm only talking about a little room, with a low ceiling.

Flyfisher
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Re: Laying 4 inch quarry tiles in fireplace hearth

Post by Flyfisher » Sat 21st Nov, 2020 1:33 am

The only reason I’m sceptical about its effectiveness is because I can’t really feel much air movement if I place my hand in front of the fan whilst it’s working. Perhaps this is because the air being moved is warm and a hand is not a good enough sensor, I’m not sure. There’s no doubt about the fan spinning though!

LadyArowana
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Re: Laying 4 inch quarry tiles in fireplace hearth

Post by LadyArowana » Sat 21st Nov, 2020 7:24 pm

Flyfisher wrote:
Sat 21st Nov, 2020 1:33 am
The only reason I’m sceptical about its effectiveness is because I can’t really feel much air movement if I place my hand in front of the fan whilst it’s working. Perhaps this is because the air being moved is warm and a hand is not a good enough sensor, I’m not sure. There’s no doubt about the fan spinning though!
Maybe some flame coloured paper streamers tied on the front ?

Zebra
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Re: Laying 4 inch quarry tiles in fireplace hearth

Post by Zebra » Sat 21st Nov, 2020 8:37 pm

Flyfisher wrote:
Sat 21st Nov, 2020 1:33 am
The only reason I’m sceptical about its effectiveness is because I can’t really feel much air movement if I place my hand in front of the fan whilst it’s working. Perhaps this is because the air being moved is warm and a hand is not a good enough sensor, I’m not sure. There’s no doubt about the fan spinning though!
Put your face in from of it and see if your hair wafts about like in a summer breeze.

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