Installation & Cleaning and Maintenance

#TileTuesday: Dimensional Tile for Fireplace Walls

#TileTuesday: Dimensional Tile for Fireplace Walls

Settle in for a toasty #TileTuesday. In honor of cozy fall weather, David Fatula, Island Stone’s resident tile expert, gives the skinny on fireplace tile applications and ways to upgrade the hearth, including:

  • An overview of our dimensional tile types
  • Tile and textured wall options for the fireplace
  • Installation, maintenance, and cleaning



What’s the beauty of a custom fireplace wall? The sky's the limit! Unlike other tile locations (pools, showers, etc.) there are very little technical requirements for a fireplace application. One of our favorite fireplace treatments is using natural stone, and particularly, our varieties of dimensional tiles.

Commonly referred to as cladding, we’ve broken up our dimensional tile types into three categories:

  • Dimensional tile (an application relief that has varying heights of tile together in one application)
  • Textured wall tile (tile that has a varied surface to it, but is generally flat)
  • Stone field tile (Unmounted honed or natural face stone tile)

For the purpose of fireplace applications, we’ll focus on dimensional tile and texture wall tile, both of which comes in two formats: mounted and unmounted, as well as four finishes: honed, tumbled, split face, and chipped/brushed.

Island Stone Dimensional Tile, Tile Tuesday

Dimensional tile

Textured wall tile

Island Stone has spent years designing and shaping these stones for mounting, which means many of these do not have grout joints and can be installed without grout. When it comes to fireplace tile installation, there are two areas to consider: the fireplace wall and the hearth. Not all tile products are sufficient for both areas, so be sure to check the specifications of your chosen tile.

One thing to note: All Island Stone products are not recommended for inside the firebox. Most municipalities require fire brick inside the firebox (the three interior walls, floor, and chimney).

Dimensional tile is best kept for wall applications since the uneven surfaces will be troublesome for floor/hearth uses. Many of our dimensional tiles come mesh mounted, with a large portion of the back tile pane exposed to create a stronger bond. In addition, our mesh placement allows for stone pieces to move slightly, a huge help for tile installers who need to make adjustments as they lay the tile.

Island Stone dimensional tile, Island Stone fireplace, Island Stone crescent

One thing that’s important to keep in mind is to blend while installing. Working with natural stone, it’s key to open all the boxes and lay the tile out to inspect them and plan to blend for any color variations. We recommend always giving customers a 5’ x 5’ installation sample before undertaking an entire wall.

As with most applications, you should plan to seal your natural stone walls upon installation and again after five years. Clean your natural stone fireplaces with a pH neutral tile and stone cleaner or alkaline-based cleaner. Never use acidic, bleach, or ammonia cleaners. Because smoke staining may take place, invest in a nylon scrub brush as well.

For more tile tips, tune in to #TileTuesday every Tuesday at 10:30 am PST on the Island Stone IGTV. Follow us @island_stone and see you next week!