How To Plan Your Fireplace Tile

by Josh Blanc and Carrie Carlson
Clay Squared to Infinity, LLC

1.  The presence of the fireplace

Besides being the heart of the home, the fireplace is considered one of a home’s major interior architectural features and can set both the mood and the style of the room.  With that in mind, there are many things to consider when selecting handmade tile for your fireplace.  Whether starting from scratch or modifying an existing fireplace, taking the time to learn about fireplaces, both past and present, will give you the guidance to determine what style will best fit your home and you.

2.  Fireplace codes

Fireplaces have codes that determine what materials can be applied to the both front face and the hearth.  Handmade ceramic tile is a non-combustible material and therefore can be used on both the hearth and fireplace face, right up to the opening.  If you are planning to use other materials along with handmade tiles in these locations, please be sure to check the current International Residential Codes (IRC) or your city hall to make sure your project is up to code. 

3.  Fire resistant qualities of ceramic tile

Handmade ceramic tiles are one of the best products to use for your fireplace surround or hearth.  These two surfaces contain areas that must be non-combustible.  Ceramic tile is completely fireproof at any temperature.  It will not burn or feed a fire.  It does not give off toxic gases, smoke or fumes during a fire.  Ceramic handmade tile even provides protection for structural surfaces    during fires.

4.  Do I need a designer or architect to plan my fireplace?

Designers and architects are people who understand space, design and color.  They typically cost 15% of a project but when you have large projects, their insights and knowledge can save you more than their fees.

5. Determining your fireplace style 

Given the architectural importance of the fireplace, there are 3 distinct styles that you can follow:  historic, regional or  your personal expression of creativity. In the historic category you would be looking at the style of the home. Some styles to consider are: Victorian, Tudor, Colonial, Arts & Crafts, Cape Cod, Mid-Century, Modern or Contemporary. Finally, the style of your fireplace can also be a forum for expressing your own personality.  Ask yourself if there are colors, shapes or patterns that you relate to?  Is there a theme throughout your home that can be applied to your fireplace to reinforce that personal statement?

Handmade Tile Association
34 Thirteenth Avenue NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

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