Open Fireplace Improvement

Introduction: Open Fireplace Improvement

About: From cooking to renovating to gardening, I will give anything a go. Love to try new things and am passionate about sustainable living and waste minimisation!

Like many old homes mine has a disused open fire place in its centre. What would have started as a nice open wood burning fire place has at some point in the homes history had its firebrick removed to make way for a gas heater. Ripping the old ugly gas heater out was one of the first jobs I did on the house!
I weighed up various ideas such as putting in a modern gas fire or wood heater but the cost proved too much so after a half hearted attempt to render tho old textured brick it has sat half finished for almost 2 years. The Covid-19 lockdown has provided the perfect opportunity to finally hook in and get it looking nice. I decided to tile the surrounds and inside the old fireplace and here is how to do it!

Step 1: Preparation

If your fire place is anything like mine was it will be pretty beaten up. I had to start by adding a section of timber to the board across the front which required filling holes and sanding.
I also had to make the brick around the opening as even as possible, this meant taking to it with a hammer and chisel!

Step 2: Framing and Sheeting

You will then want to build a frame inside the fire place which can hold cement sheet to provide a base for the tiles. Naturally all fireplaces are different sizes but mine simply required 2 posts and 2 rails at the rear. I just used 35x70mm structural pine as it is cheap and easy to get.
You will then need to cut your cement sheet to create a box inside the fire place. A top piece is optional but I chose to include one as my flue had not previously been blocked which allowed for cold draughts.

Step 3: Levelling

The floor of my fire place was fairly rough so I poured a layer of cement floor leveller. Yours may already be flat and this will not be required

Step 4: Tiling

It is now time to tile over the cement sheet with your choice of tile. I chose a basic white subway tile as it matches other areas in my home but you could really use any tiles you like.

Step 5: Clean and Complete

You are just about done. Tidy up any areas that still look messy such as the floor. I painted mine black to tie in with my grout.
Now stand back and admire your handy work!

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    2 years ago

    Do you mind sharing the cost of project? Also, is the new fireplace just for decor or could it be functional? Wondering what fire and smoke would do to the white tile?

    Give-it-a-Go Gus
    Give-it-a-Go Gus

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi Steve,
    I don’t have an accurate cost as I had most of the materials lying around from other projects but I would say it could be done for well under $100(AUD).
    I don’t plan to light a fire in it as I have capped off the chiminey but with the right tile adhesive and tiles I’m sure it could possibly be done but the tiles would very quickly blacken with soot I would imagine.


    2 years ago

    This is a clean, modern update. Nice work!