Porcelain tiles are always a welcome addition. From the range of patterns and colors available to how visually pleasing they look, you can’t help but wonder how they’d look on your fireplace.
There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a material for your fireplace. However, the main concern of this post is, can you use porcelain tile on the fireplace?
Let’s find out!
Are Porcelain Tiles Suitable For A Fireplace?
Porcelain tiles are perfect for decorating a fireplace. They’re heat-resistant, fire-resistant, and wear-resistant.
Let’s break down each of these characteristics.
Porcelain tiles can withstand high temperatures because of how they’re designed. Using clay, they’re molded and cured before getting fired in a kiln. This process makes porcelain durable.
Porcelain tiles also don’t crack even when under extreme heat for a long period of time. They can tolerate heat between temperatures of 1,200 to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although they’re heat-resistant, it’s best to create a buffer zone between your porcelain tiles and the fire. The buffer zone should be about 5.5-8 inches away from the heat source.
Direct heat on porcelain tiles can greatly reduce their quality and lifespan. In some cases, they may even melt or explode.
Not to be confused with heat resistance, fire-resistant means a material won’t catch fire when in contact with it. Porcelain is one of the materials that are fire-resistant.
Porcelain tiles are made under extreme temperatures. So, when they get in contact with direct fire, they won’t burn. They won’t even exhaust smoke or chemical fumes.
Porcelain tiles simply absorb heat from the fire, making them a perfect material for a fireplace. This also means that heat from the fireplace won’t transfer to your floor or anywhere else.
Porcelain tiles have higher densities than most tiles. They contain fewer air pockets. This makes them more rigid and sturdier.
As a result, they can tolerate more wear and hold up well for years. This makes them a popular choice for most constructions.
Things To Consider When Using Porcelain Tiles For Fireplaces
Aside from the design of the tiles, there are a few other factors that you need to consider, which are:
Glazed Porcelain Tiles
Glazed porcelain tiles are better for your fireplace than unglazed tiles. What’s the difference between them, you ask?
Glazed tiles undergo an additional process where they get a coating of liquid glass. As a result, they have a shiny surface which makes them easy to clean. Not only that, but they’re also less prone to staining and retaining bacteria.
If you also like a wider variety of designs, glazed tiles offer more. Because of their glass coating, they’re available in more patterns made by inkjet technology.
Distance Between Fire and Tiles
As a rule of thumb, your porcelain tiles should be at least 5.5 inches away from the fire. This distance ensures that the tiles absorb the heat like bricks do.
If your tiles are too close to the fire, they may lose quality over time. It’s ideal to preserve your porcelain tiles for as long as you can to avoid frequent replacements.
Fire-Resistant Adhesive and Grout
Using fire-resistant adhesive and grout is another thing you must consider when tiling. Normal adhesives aren’t heat resistant and will crumble when in contact with heat.
A fireplace can reach temperatures between 700 and 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This amount of heat requires an adhesive and grout that won’t easily burn.
Typically, you can use a cement mix adhesive and heat-resistant grout. Combine these with your porcelain tiles, and you’ll have a durable fireplace.
Where To Put Porcelain Tiles On Your Fireplace
There are three parts to a fireplace. Each part receives different amounts of heat from the fire. So, it’s important to know which parts you can tile and which ones you can’t.
The firebox is the center of the fireplace. This is where you light the fire and keep it burning. Because of the proximity to the heat source, it’s not ideal to tile this area.
Even a heat-resistant tile like porcelain can’t withstand the extreme temperature changes inside the firebox.
A common rule is to use firebricks or refractory bricks in the firebox. National building codes also prohibit using other materials for fireboxes other than bricks.
A fireplace surround is the most visible part of the fireplace. In most fireplace designs, the surround wraps around the fireplace like an ornate border.
The surround also requires a durable material that can withstand heat. Porcelain tiles are ideal for this. Not only will your porcelain tiles handle the heat, but they’ll also look stunning.
The hearth is essentially the floor of a fireplace. It can either be raised or leveled with your floor. Choosing porcelain tiles to decorate this part is a great option.
Your fireplace may expel sparks and embers from time to time. So, it’s even more important to build your heart with porcelain tiles if you have wooden or carpeted floors.
Alternatives To Porcelain Tiles
Aside from porcelain tiles, you can also choose from ceramic tiles, granite, and marble for your fireplace.
Ceramic tiles are the next popular choice after porcelain tiles for a fireplace.
Just like porcelain tiles, they’re also durable and heat resistant. However, they’re more prone to cracking and staining if they’re not maintained properly.
Granite is a form of stone made from cooling magma. Because of this, it holds well against heat. Granite is resistant to scratches, making them extremely durable as well.
Marble is another beautiful alternative to porcelain tiles. It adds a dash of sophistication to your fireplace’s design.
Marbles are made of natural stone, making them highly resistant to high temperatures. The only drawback is that they’re easily stained.
If you choose marbles as your alternative, it’s important to regularly clean their surface.
Can you use porcelain tiles on your fireplace? The answer is yes. Porcelain tiles can withstand heat, fire, and wear. They also help your fireplace look impressive with little effort.
So, if you’re looking for a long-lasting material that boasts flexible designs, you can’t go wrong with porcelain tiles.