Fireplace hearth tile

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Old 02-27-16, 12:43 PM
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Fireplace hearth tile

I've got an old fireplace, and the hearth in terrible shape. I pulled up what looked partially like tile and partially like patio pavers. They were about an inch thick, and inbedded in sand. Beneath them is concrete.

I think the concrete is a couple inches thick. It's not cracked, but it's not level and there's lots of voids in it, so it isn't smooth. This concrete is between 1.5" and 2" lower than the surrounding floor.

I'd like to put in a new tiled hearth, but not sure of best method. I need to smooth out the existing concrete, and raise it about an inch so that the tile is flush with the surrounding floor.

Should I pour some new concrete on top of the old, and tile onto that? Not sure how I feel about tiling over an inch of new concrete poured over old.

Self leveling concrete?

Raise it up with some concrete, then plywood on top?

It's not going to get a lot of foot traffic and nothing heavy will be set on it, so part of me just wants to make it relatively smooth with some concrete and then anchor some plywood to it, maybe some backerboard, and throw the tiles on top of that....
 
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Old 03-04-16, 06:45 PM
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Uh oh, no replies.

Is what I'm proposing that ugly? Or just boneheaded
 
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Old 03-04-16, 07:06 PM
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Don't be too impatient, sometimes it takes a day or two before you get a proper response. remember, we are all volunteers here.

I am NOT a tile person but I would probably use either a layer of sand mix (concrete without gravel) or self-leveling compound to bring the old concrete level up to where you could lay the new tile in a bed of thinset. Of course you need to follow all the rules concerning adding to a old concrete, cleaning and using a bonding material, and I would opt to scarifying the old concrete as well.
 
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Old 03-05-16, 08:26 AM
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I didn't mean to sound impatient. I understand everybody is a volunteer, and I love this site. I was just kidding around. Honestly I've sat and stared at this thing myself for awhile, and I can't think of a decent way to do it.
 
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Old 03-05-16, 08:35 AM
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Give us a picture of what you are looking at that better explains to us how you described it in your initial post. Also give us the max thickness given the fireplace bricks or surround.

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html

Keep in mind that pictures need to be resized to web quality and upload one at a time.
 
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Old 03-05-16, 09:22 AM
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I'm not a tile guy, but I would use a self leveling cement and tile directly on top of it.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 05:00 AM
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Personally, I would like to see the adjacent flooring before I would advise a self leveling compound.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 09:15 AM
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The floors are hardwood around the hearth. The height between the existing concrete and the surrounding floors varies from about 1.5" to 2".

So I guess whatever I do, if I want the tile to be flush, or slightly above the surrounding floor, I need to add an 1" to 1.5" on top of the existing.

I saw online where some people actually lay the tile BELOW the surrounding floor, and then use wood or another transition around the edges.

Either way, I need to put something on top of the existing concrete.

Thanks!

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Old 03-06-16, 10:08 AM
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The problem with self leveling compounds in this situation is multi-fold. One, you can not make a single pour to the thickness you need. It would have to be done in multiple pours (full cure and re-prime between pours) and is predicated on the specific SLC you decide to use. All are not created equal as they say. Secondly, SLC is also difficult to control, it will seep everywhere. You will need to protect a buffer zone around the wood to help maintain what ever expansion gap was present. The nature of SLC is that it slouches and acts like pancake batter as it will not hold a peak and can not be contained easily. If you just pour, it will lock tight to the wood and may cause buckling down the road.

Part of me is inclined to re-install the original hearth stones and then tile on top of them. It would at least get you in the general height relatively easily. A second thought is to install what would be similar to a thick set mortar bed such as you would do in a shower and screed it to the desired thickness. You could use strips of wood to space the flooring from the concrete and remove after the screed to maintain a small expansion gap.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 10:27 AM
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I used this product to repair/level the concrete pad for my deck steps. I built a dam around the pad, mixed the stuff and poured it. The product label says that you can pour up to 1 1/2" in one step.

In your case you would probably have to dam the perimeter. Caulk or duct tape might do.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 04:30 PM
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I'll look into that product, thanks cwbuff.

czizzi, if I went your route, poured a thickset mortar and used a screed to get it where I needed it, what type of product would I want to use?

Also, I meticulously measured again today. Looks like there are spots that are higher, where I only need to raise up about 1/2".

So, would I be able to tile over the thickset, if it was as thin as 1/2" and thick as 1 1/2"?
 
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Old 03-06-16, 04:54 PM
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Somewhere under what you have there is the original slab. I think you have to chisel a couple of furrows lengthwise such that you end up with at least a consistent trench that you can lay a level piece of lumber, pipe, dowel or whatever you have that is of the correct thickness for your job. Then you can use bed mortar (at big orange), or sand topping (available in cement isle). Pack it around the pipe, and then screed it off to the level you need. You then remove the pipe and fill in the voids left by the pipe. Don't forget to mask off with lattice the wood floor to give some expansion space.

You can review the sand topping install on a bathroom shower install here at this website. Do what he does except don't slope it. How to Create a Shower Floor – Part 1

The existing mortar should come up easier than when you hit the slab so you will know when you reach pay dirt.
 
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