The hearth is often the heart of the living room. This functional and timeless architectural element can be the showcase of the space when you know how to choose hearth tiles for your fireplace.
What is a Hearth?
The hearth is the space that buffers the interior of the fireplace from the flooring of the room. This transition or buffer space is often a different material than the surrounding flooring because of the additional heat requirements the area faces. Hearth tiles have a few key requirements. They need to be resistant to heat, complement the fireplace and surrounding mantel, and create a chic pairing for the surrounding flooring. Once you add a hearth, it will be there for many years to come so make sure to select a style that will stand up to the test of time.
If this is an entirely new construction process or you are adding a fireplace where it has never been before, start by deciding what type of fireplace you want to feature in the room.
Hearth Tiles Delivering Timeless Sophistication
With so many different hearth tile options to choose from, narrowing it down to your favorite can be a challenge. Start by learning which materials make a suitable option for the hearth. Our favorite choices include:
Slate: When you are looking for something with a rustic touch, slate tile makes a fantastic option.
- Marble: When you’re looking for elegance, marble is a classic choice. This natural stone features natural tone variations and can come in very monochromatic or very variegated looks, depending on which look you prefer.
- Granite: When you want something that is built to last, granite is the way to go because it is the strongest of all the stone tiles.
- Porcelain: Porcelain tile comes in a range of different grades. When it comes to tiling a fireplace hearth, choosing a glazed porcelain tile makes the best choice because they are denser and more durable that non-glazed or non-porcelaln tiles.
- Travertine: One of the great things about travertine is that it can be used for both the heart and the floor of the living space, much like marble or other durable natural stone tiles.
- Terra-Cotta: Lend a little southwestern flair into your home decor by using terra cotta tiles to create a rustic and casual hearth surround.
Choosing the Best Hearth Tiles for Your Project
Before you can make a final selection, take a few key factors into consideration:
- Overall Color Scheme: Hearth tiles need to coordinate with the overall color scheme of your home. They are an opportunity to bring a bold contrast to the space or introduce a neutral that blends in with the surrounding areas. While it can be fun to add color to the room with hearth tiles, it is always a good idea to choose something timeless and versatile, so it stays constant even when the room decor changes.
- Style of the Space: The color scheme is only the beginning. The finish of the tile also needs to coordinate with the overall design aesthetic of the space. Matte tiles with a little texture provide a rustic look. High-gloss tiles with a sleek finish provide more elegance. Evaluate the style of the space and choose a tile in keeping with that aesthetic. You can even achieve the look of hardwood with wood-look porcelain tiles.
- Budget: Every project has a budget, whether you’re simply refreshing the hearth or completely redesigning the living space. Consider the budget for the hearth and choose tiles that fit within that budget. Make sure to take into consideration any labor and installation material costs that are required to complete the project.
- Consider Scale: When it comes to choosing the right tiles for your hearth, scale plays a major factor. Large tiles are great for grand spaces because they provide a clean and minimal look. The smaller the tiles get, the more intricate the designs can become. Keep all your tiles the same scale or feature larger tiles in the middle and small tiles as a decorative border around the perimeter. Rectangular and square tiles keep the look classic while round or hexagonal tiles keep the look contemporary.
- Measurements: To know exactly how much tile you need; it is imperative to take careful measurements of the area. Those measurement and the measurements of the tiles can be used to help determine just how many tiles are needed to complete the installation. Make sure to take into account the small spaces between the tiles that will receive grout.
Installing Your New Hearth Tiles
A hearth is a relatively small project in scale, making it a great project for learning how to install tiles. There are many resources that will walk you through the steps of installing hearth tiles in your own home. If a weekend warrior project isn’t going to make it onto your schedule or if the hearth installation is part of a bigger renovation, call up the professionals to get the job done for you.
The hearth is only the beginning. Completing the fireplace design includes installing a fireplace surround and mantel as well. Traditionally, the surround extends from the hearth up to the mantel. When you want to keep the look more modern, take the same large-scale tiles and install them from the ceiling down to the hearth. Once the fireplace design is complete, style the area with fireplace tools and mantel decorations that express your personal style.