Freezing February: Tiles To Use With Fireplaces & Woodburners

The temperature and weather is a bit up and down at this time of year – but so far, not quite as extreme as in recent times. Nevertheless, we thought this was as good a time as any to give you some cold-weather advice for choosing tiles to surround your fireplace or log-burner.

We’re big fans of the look in this gorgeous home (above), pulled together by the use of brick-style slate tiles behind the stove, a simple black hearth, and parquet-style flooring. The Stanford S23 from Nestor Martin at Eurostove is a freestanding multi-fuel model that even has a remote control. We’re imagining one of these would look just as good in a cosy cottage setting as a spacious mountain-top villa! Take a look at our Ribera porcelain tiles for a similar spectacular look.

We love the idea of including textured finishes and contemporary styling ideas for the surrounding wall and hearth area for stoves – look at styles that will contrast with the design of the stove. For example, a sleek modern stove can look fabulous when set against traditional, rugged stone looks and vice-versa, a very traditional stove, perhaps in coloured enamel, can look very appealing when teamed with sleek modern tiles.

For a rustic aesthetic, try this Charnwood Arc 7 stove from Ludlow Stoves. Keep the look understated with plain painted walls and dark floor tiles – our large format 300mm x 600mm Stone Tierra porcelain tiles would look amazing in this kind of setting! Regardless, there are a couple of things to think about if you want to add new tiles to your fireplace surround, stove surround or hearth area.

Porcelain, natural stone, quarry and granite are suitable, and if you’re installing a new fire ‘appliance’ as they’re referred to, it should be installed by an appropriately qualified person. It’s imperative that you seek advice from the company or retailer that has supplied the new stove or fire, and get the job done properly. The supplier will specify ventilation gaps required either side and back/top of any new stove. The rules are for safety. Don’t forget, that the point of a hearth isn’t just that it’s somewhere for the new stove or fire basket to sit on and look pretty, it’s to stop the heat from spreading through to the floor and causing damage. Surrounding wall tiles should be porcelain or natural stone; it’s worth remembering that any tile that is described as ‘wall-only’ use is likely to be ceramic and therefore isn’t ideal for use next to a heat source.

If you’re replacing tiles in an existing fire-surround or fireplace, take note of what has been used previously – for example, if you’re renewing traditional-style decorative Victorian tiles or strips adjacent to an open fire, those tiles will have survived many years because they aren’t in direct contact with flames, and there will have been an appropriate surround, basket and fire back used as well. Installing a new hearth-mounted-fire is a big project, there are so many options available, from simple gas or electric models to multi-fuel or wood-burning models, that professional installer advice is a must.

There are different installation regulations and requirements for differently-fuelled fires, of course, and the main bodies to seek advice from (apart from the supplier of a new appliance) are as follows: Gas Safe Register is the Gas Safe Register; HETAS is the Heating Equipment Testing & Approval Scheme;  OFTEC is the Oil Firing Technical Association;, previously known as Corgi; and NACS is the National Association of Chimney Sweeps – which you will need to contact to get your existing chimney/flue cleaned and swept and checked to see if it’s up to standard before getting ready for the new fire or stove.

Dark colours and natural stone surfaces can be brightened by warm colours, shades and textures. Here are some taster ideas… from left; Vibe furnishing fabric in Marrakesh colourway by Ian Sanderson, from the Poppinjay Collection. Suitable for blinds, curtains, cushions and upholstery. Centre; A warming orange shade, Moroccan Flame from Dulux. An amazing shade that would look fabulous against a black or ivory stove, or as a chimney-breast wall colour. And right; our Riga Patchwork ceramic wall tiles will add a warm, rustic look to a kitchen.

As far as grout and adhesives are concerned, we have an informative guide here. Our experts recommend Mapei Ultracolour, available in all manner of colours, so the perfect match is guaranteed. As far as adhesive is concerned, that of course, also needs to be suitable for use near a heat source – we always recommend Mapei Keraquick, which is suited to pretty much all substrates and is heat resistant upto 90°C.

If all this talk of fires and stoves and freezing temperatures makes you want to curl up on a large sofa, we suggest taking a look at the Millie Deep Buttoned Sofa from Sweetpea & Willow. Add a glowing stove or roaring fire and a huge mug of hot chocolate for February bliss!

If you have any pics of your tiled fires, hearths and surrounds, we would love to see them – tag us @tilemountainuk on Instagram. And don’t forget, our expert advisers can help with any heat and tile-related queries you may have, so hit us up on Facebook or Twitter or call our customer services on 01782 223822.

You might also enjoy these posts on the Tile Mountain blog…

How To Cosify Your Interiors for Autumn

How to Create an Outdoor Kitchen

Tiled Kitchen Worktops: Pros & Cons

Linda has worked as a freelance interiors writer and blogger for many years; she has written for most of the major home and design magazines, including KBB Magazine, Grand Designs, Homes & Gardens, House Beautiful, Period Homes and Good Homes. She made the break and moved from London back to her home town of Shrewsbury three years ago and has just finished renovating her house. She also works in an interior design studio, produces copy for brochures and website, tries to tame her garden, aims to finish all the home furnishing projects she has on the go … and loves walking.