Building Our Fireplace: Installing the Slate Split-Face Tile – Our DIY House

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This has GOT to be one of my most favourite features of our new, DIY home: this gorgeous, custom fireplace that we designed and built. It was a ton of work, but I think it totally sets the stage for our living room and I’m so very proud of it.

Our DIY Fireplace - Installing the Slate Splite-Face Tile - The DIY Mommy

In case you missed it, here is the post explaining how we designed and built our custom mantel. The finishing touch to our “rustic glam” fireplace, was the installation of these beautiful slate split-face tiles made by TruStone that we found from our friends at Lowes.

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Thank you, TruStone and Lowes for making our beautiful fireplace possible! It was a joy to work with you and with this product… truly.

Our DIY Fireplace - Installing the Slate Splite-Face Tile - The DIY Mommy

We chose to use the TruStone split-face quartzite slate look tile in Forest Brown. We loved the rustic look of this colourway, and it ties right into our beautiful flooring in similar tones! This tile comes in pieces that are about 6 x 24″ with staggered ends. It can be easily cut with a tile saw and it’s not too tricky to install because of its rough look and changes in thickness – it makes it relatively fool proof!

Our DIY Fireplace - Installing the Slate Splite-Face Tile - The DIY Mommy

First, my husband covered the cement board on our fireplace surround with a troweled layer of thin-set. After this dried, he screwed wire mesh onto the entire surround. He then trowled another layer of thin-set over the mesh.

Our DIY Fireplace - Installing the Slate Splite-Face Tile - The DIY Mommy

Hubby cut the pieces of tile to size with a regular tile saw.

Our DIY Fireplace - Installing the Slate Splite-Face Tile - The DIY Mommy

Starting at the bottom of our fireplace surround, he applied another layer of thin-set, then pushed a tile into place.

We installed the tile on the sides of our surround first, and then the front (starting from the bottom). We debated for a while over how we’d approach the corner finishing on the fireplace tile, and ultimately we decided to do blunt cuts (instead of attempting 45 degree angles or chipping at the edges). I’m happy with this look!

Our DIY Fireplace - Installing the Slate Splite-Face Tile - The DIY Mommy 

The tile installation took a couple of days (in bits and spurts), and then after about a month I finally scrubbed the tiles free of excess thin-set. I do have a slate sealing spray that I can apply to the tile, but I decided that I’m too tired and pregnant to do that anytime soon, so I’m leaving that for another day!

Our DIY Fireplace - Installing the Slate Splite-Face Tile - The DIY Mommy

The stone on our fireplace has given me exactly the “rustic glam” look I was going for. The crisp, white mantel contrasts so beautifully with the dark ruggedness of the split-face tile.

Our DIY Fireplace - Installing the Slate Splite-Face Tile - The DIY Mommy

I’d recommend this tile to anyone looking for a pretty way to update their fireplace. I bet if you had a flat tile already on your fireplace surround, this tile could easily be installed with a similar method we used.

Our DIY Fireplace - Installing the Slate Splite-Face Tile - The DIY Mommy

As for decorating our lovely new fireplace, I’ve used some things I had on hand (and found for great prices!) so far. Our pretty & unique centerpiece – this quatrefoil mirror – was also found at Lowes!

Now that our fireplace is finally done, I’m determined to finish the rest of the room and finally have a relatively complete room in our new house to “reveal” here on my blog. I can’t wait to share the rest of our living room with you!

(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lowe’s Canada and TruStone. The views and opinions expressed here are purely my own.)

Linked to: Make it Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House, From Dream to Reality at The DIY Dreamer, That DIY Party at DIY Show Off

Our DIY House by The DIY MommyThis post is part of my “Our DIY House” series where I’ll share with you my most exciting DIY ever – building a country house from the foundation up with my talented hubby!

28 Comments

  1. Hi, I would like some advice if possible regarding your split face chimney breast you blogged about. I am going to do exactly the same using oyster sate split face tiles. I noticed in your pictures that you have a mesh wire on the chimney breast that you are adding the slates to. Is this something that you have added yourself? If so, why and how did you add this on. My fireplace is a brock construction that has beed plastered over. I am wondering if I need to remove all the plaster down to the brickwork and then add the mesh or would it be possible to add the slate either right onto the brick or easy still the plaster. Thanks in advance.

  2. We’re preparing to do the same project. Did you place the mantel first and stone around it? Or mount the mantel on top of the stone? We can’t decide which would work best.

  3. I have the same set up and am fretting about the corners. I have seen some pretty awful corners on fireplaces. What were your thought?

  4. My husband and I want to use this exact tile around our fireplace, but we’re unsure what to put on the floor. Can you please send a picture of your floor in front of your fireplace? Thanks!

  5. I have been looking at this for some time, and I am ready to give it a try. Looks so wonderful. My questions is how did your husband build the cement board out from the wall? I assume nothing combustible like metal studs, and then screwing the cement board to them (that was what I was going to try). Thanks

  6. This is some really good information about getting a new fireplace installed. I liked that you pointed out that it would be smart to think about the feel you want from the stone. That does seem like a good thing for me to know that because I want to get a new fireplace installed soon.

  7. Tile works well in kitchens and bathrooms because it’s one of the easiest floor materials to maintain. Additionally, tile is extremely versatile aesthetically as well and can can work for a variety of interior designs styles

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