Replacing tiles involves removing what is already there, and then installing new tiles of your choice. The simpler part of replacing fireplace tile is the first stage, which is the removal of the old tiles. The second stage is more complicated, but need not be overly daunting or challenging when you know how to install tile. Sprucing up your old fireplace can be an stimulating and enjoyable project to undertake, and you'll even feel a sense of accomplishment after you remove the old tile and put up the new ones.
Cover the surrounding area of the fireplace with cloth or plastic sheets. This will protect the space from damages as you replace the tiles on the fireplace.
Score out the grout between the tiles of the fireplace using a utility knife.
Place your chisel around the back of each tile at about a 45-degree angle. Wedge the chisel into the area where the grout was scrapped away for leverage. Tap the chisel with the hammer. This will cause the tiles to come off. Do this with the rest of the tiles until all of the tiles have been detached from the fireplace.
Sand off any remaining deposits such as grout, using the sanding block. This will create a smooth surface on which to apply the replacement fireplace tile.
Measure with a tape measure the area of the fireplace where tiles will be installed. Measure the width, height and length.
Create a cardboard template of the fireplace tile design. This will assist in evenly spacing out the tiles and to ensure that the measurements and tile cuts are accurate.
Install a piece of wood below the top edge of the fireplace opening to provide support for the new tiles as they set above it. Ensure that the wood is level and screw it in to the fireplace surround.
Mix the thinset according to the manufacturer's directions. Apply a coat of thinset above the support ledge on the fireplace, using a notched trowel.
Position one tile on the center of the fireplace surround, above the support ledge, and work your way to the far edges and to the top of the fireplace. Install tile spacers in between the tiles as you position them on the fireplace. Stagger the tile joints and wiggle each tile in place to ensure a sturdy set.
Use a damp sponge to remove excess thinset and leave the tile to set overnight.
Remove the support ledge that you screwed on top of the fireplace opening and screw it to the bottom of the fireplace surround. You will use to support the tiles for the sides/legs of the fireplace.
Apply thinset to one side or leg of the fireplace, and tile it from bottom to top. Repeat the process for the other side. Remove the excess thinset with a damp sponge. Then leave the tiles to set for 4 to 5 hours.
Mix the grout according to the manufacturers instructions. Apply the grout onto the installed tile at an angle using a grout float. Leave the grout to dry overnight, then wipe over the tiles with a damp cloth to remove any excess grout.
Allow the fireplace tile to set for 5 days before making a fire.