Build a Beautiful Hearth

Protect your floor with recycled materials.

| January/February 2009

  • Finished hearth
    For a fraction of the price of a store-bought hearth, you can come up with your own design and construct it yourself.
    Nate Skow
  • Clean the haze off
    Make sure to remove all the haze; it's much tougher after the grout cures.
    Nate Skow
  • Grouting the surface
    You'll develop a feel for applying the grout with the sponge rubber float. Just remember to wipe across the edges of the joints, rather than along them.
    Nate Skow
  • Photographing your layout
    Photographing your layout (Step 8) before placing the pieces into the wet mortar may prevent serious head scratching.
    Nate Skow

  • Finished hearth
  • Clean the haze off
  • Grouting the surface
  • Photographing your layout
Stove Installment Precautions 

We had just finished painting our living room. With winter fast approaching and temperatures dropping every night, our woodstove lay on a hand-truck in the corner. The hearth was not yet built, and we had run out of money for this remodeling job.

I knew the look I wanted – a mosaic of black slate and shiny red tile. I doubted, however, that I could create the image I had in my mind. But since a trip to our local home improvement store proved we could afford nothing else, my husband encouraged me to try.

Thinking we could use them for crafts, our boys had collected roofing slates from around old, abandoned houses over the years. A friend offered a box of stained-glass pieces someone had given her. We also had a bag of grout left in the house from the previous owner.

We only needed to purchase a bag of thin-set mortar, a can of grout sealer, a notched trowel, some long, razor blade knives and a sponge rubber float. The cost of these items totaled $38.

To create your own beautiful hearth for practically nothing, follow these steps:

Step 1 – Educate yourself. I asked my second son to help me because he had at least watched someone lay tile before. I had no previous experience. We read a book on installing floor coverings. We also asked every possible question of both the flooring manager at our home improvement store and a friend with tiling experience.

1/28/2009 3:36:12 PM

This looks wonderful and I have loads of broken tile. The instructions are very clear and detailed too, thanks. The photos, however, look like computer images....or am I seeing things?



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