In the UK, it’s important to adhere to regulations for hearth or fireplace tiling for an open fire or stove. The purpose of the hearth is to protect any combustible materials near the fire or stove from heat or burning fuel. At the time of writing, the regulations state that the hearth should extend a minimum of 300mm (12 inches) in front of the fire or stove and 150mm (6 inches) to the side. Depending on certain circumstances, the minimum depth of the hearth plate may be 12mm. Additionally, the regulations require that the hearth be set at a different level than the surrounding floor to clearly define a safe area. You can achieve this by setting the hearth at a higher level than the floor.
The standards for fireplace tiling are regulated by Building Regulations, which cover fire safety requirements for dwellings, commercial, and industrial buildings. The purpose of these regulations is to ensure that the installation of a fireplace hearth meets the minimum safety requirements for the protection of building occupants and the structure itself.
One of the key requirements for a fireplace hearth is that it must be constructed of a non-combustible material. This means that the hearth should not be made of any material that is likely to burn or char. The most commonly used materials for fireplace hearths include concrete, brick, stone, and tiles.
Selecting the correct tiles and materials
When selecting tiles for a fireplace hearth, you should ensure that they are resistant to high temperatures. Porcelain, natural stone, and ceramic tiles are all suitable options for a fireplace hearth, provided they meet the relevant British Standards.
Another crucial element to consider when tiling a fireplace hearth is the adhesive. The adhesive used should be suitable for use with high-temperature tiles, ensuring that they adhere firmly to the non-combustible material underneath. The adhesive should also be able to withstand exposure to moisture and the high temperatures produced by the fire.
Similarly, the grout used should be able to withstand high temperatures and exposure to moisture. When selecting grout, you should ensure that it has the correct water-to-cement ratio to ensure that it sets correctly and is durable.
Considerations when tiling the hearth
It’s also essential to ensure that the hearth is level to ensure that the tiles sit flat and even. The gap between the tiles should be consistent and not exceed the maximum recommended gap size. Spacers can be used to ensure that the tiles are evenly spaced and have a consistent gap.
Once the tiles are in place, it’s essential to ensure that they are securely fixed to prevent them from becoming loose or falling off. A finished surface should be smooth, level, and free from lippage to ensure that the surface is easy to clean and maintain.
In summary, tiling a fireplace hearth requires careful consideration of the materials used, the adhesive and grout, and the standards set out in the relevant British Regulations. Hiring a professional tiler who will ensure that the hearth is constructed from a non-combustible material and that the tiles, adhesive, and grout are all able to withstand high temperatures and exposure to moisture is essential to ensure the safety and durability of the installation.
Image courtesy of Renditions Tiles