Winter is on its way and the weather will get more and more chilly as we hurtle towards the end of the year, which is why many of you may be thinking of installing a log burner or stove as part of your next interior revamp. The trend is one that shows no signs of slowing down and tiles have established themselves as the natural choice of material for hearths, fireplaces and surrounds. However, it’s not just a case of choosing your tiles, sticking them down then plonking your stove or log burner on top – there are certain considerations to be made when installing tiles so close to a heat source. Here are our top five things to consider when choosing tiles for use with wood burners and stoves…
Choose Your Tile Material Wisely
All tiles are fired at temperatures in excess of 1300°C during production, so they are perfectly capable of standing up to the heat levels being kicked out by a log burner or stove. However, whilst some ceramic tiles can be subjected to heat without being affected, it’s advisable to opt for more hardwearing porcelain tiles (the material most prominently used for floor tiles) as they’re likely to better withstand constant heating and cooling across the life of the tile. Porcelain tiles – especially full-bodied porcelain tiles which have glaze running all the way through the tile – are more hardwearing and if chipped by say, a poker or tongs, will not show up the damage as readily as a standard tile with a surface glaze.
Make Sure The Tile Finish Is Suitable
As mentioned, 99.9% of porcelain tiles are suitable for use in fire surrounds, hearths and fireplaces and there are no restrictions on the size or design you go for. However, given that wood burners and stoves are prone to creating ash and soot, it’s probably a good idea to opt for tiles that feature a satin or matt glazed surface so as to minimise the risk of stains and scratches from accessories such as ash pans, pokers and tongs. Tiles with these types of finish are a bit more hardy than those with a high-gloss polished finish and the tougher surface layer will require much less effort when it comes to cleaning and upkeep.
Seal Where Required
If you’ve opted to use tiles with a polished finish in your fire surround then do ensure that you seal them if required. The manufacturers instructions will stipulate whether the tiles need sealing or not – tiles with this kind of finish often require such an action so as to prevent them from staining. Whilst most porcelain tiles are impervious to organic matter, those with highly polished surfaces and porous tiles such as those constructed from natural stone like limestone and slate will be susceptible to staining by ash, soot or damage from an errant ember, so please do seal them. We recommend Fila MP90 for the job.
Use Heat Resistant Adhesive & Grout
Most standard grout and adhesive is suitable for use with Underfloor Heating Systems and as such, is durable enough to withstand intermittent radiant heat from log burners and stoves. However, you may want to ensure the performance of your installation by opting for specially formulated heat resistant adhesive and grout, especially if your tiles form the housing for a heat source that is in constant use. Check out our comprehensive Mapei Grout Quick Guide and Mapei Adhesive Quick Guide for further information on which type of grout and adhesives to use with different types of tile.
Protect Your Grout
As with tile surfaces, your grout joints are at risk of becoming stained and discoloured by ash and other detritus associated with open fires, so it’s always a good idea to protect them. Grout joints within natural stone and polished tile installations will be sealed just along with the tiles themselves if you’ve gone down the sealing route, however, you can protect just the grout even those installations that don’t require sealing. We recommend Fila FugaProof Grout Protector – a water-based solution that prevents the absorption of stains and is suitable for use with all types of grout.
Hopefully we’ve answered any burning questions you may have had about tiles and fireplaces/stove enclosures here but if not, you can always call our friendly customer services guys on 01782 223 822 for some free, impartial advice. Please do check out our Help Centre section too – it’s packed full of useful advice on all manner of tiling installation tasks!
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