Year: 2019

How To Choose The Best Fireplace Tiles

Fireplaces were traditionally decorated ornately with tiles. As interior design fashions and fads have changed over the years, often these fireplaces were buried behind smooth plastered walls.

Interestingly, particularly as wood and other fuel burners are becoming more popular, fireplaces with tiles are seeing the light again. From traditional Georgian designs to more modern decorative patterns, fireplace tiles are, once again, becoming popular.

As well as adding aesthetic value, tiles can form a fireproof barrier between the fire and the rest of the house.


So if a customer is looking for new tiles to be installed around their fireplace, how can you best advise them?

Here are some tile around fireplace ideas from UK Pro Tiling Training on how to choose the best fireplace tiles:

Consider using a fireplace tile set

Fireplace tile sets feature ornately painted feature tiles, as well as a band of long trim tiles. Depending on the type of tile set chosen by the customer, a fireplace tile set can offer a classic, retro or chic modern look. You may use one complete tile set or fit a couple together- just be sure to guarantee a perfect match if you are fitting multiple sets together.

Suggest a modern touch

Even when working on an ornate, moulded fire surround, a modern flavour can be used as a contrast. A modern look can consist of a large, smooth finish, or the area between the fire and surround could be filled with high-gloss mosaics.

The customer may not be aware of all the tiling options that can be applied to the fireplace. It may be a good idea for you to put together a portfolio that includes various options so that the customer can see the variation available to them.

Use appropriate tiles

What type of tile should go in front of my fireplace?

Tiles which are suitable for a fireplace surround include:

  • Ceramic
  • Porcelain
  • Glass
  • Marble
  • Terracotta
  • Granite
  • Other natural stones


Consider the project- Is it a new installation or revamp?

If the fire, or wood burner is being installed into a new location, this increases the options for tiling designs. Presented with a blank canvas, you have the opportunity to dream up designs to suggest to the customer, whether simple and neat- or extravagant and outlandish.

Can I use tiles around my wood burner?

Fires can be recessed into the wall with a flue inside a chimney. Or a fireplace could be free-standing, with an encased flue taking another route out of the building.

Tiles could become the focal point in a room or a plain design may be used to allow the fireplace itself to be the star of the show.

A whole wall could be tiled to frame a fire. A brick pattern tile design which repeats onto the hearth could bring the whole feature into the room.

Where a free standing wood (or multi-fuel burner) is being used, there are even more tiling options to think about. Unlike an open fire, the back of a fireplace could also be tiled. With the sides and back tiled, a burner could be subtly framed by decorative tiling.

Whatever the choice of design, make sure that you are tiling onto a non-combustible board surface.

Where is the home? Is there a more suitable tile for the location?

Natural stones work well in country settings, maybe in a barn conversion. The textured finish of granite is rugged in appearance and durable- and should last as long as the house.

New-build houses may be better off with a ceramic tile.

Will the fire consist of floor tiles?

Sitting on the floor, tiles will be more vulnerable to damage. Confirm that the chosen tiles are suitable for laying on the floor before purchasing. All of the same tile materials used on the wall can also feature on the hearth.

Would you like some advice on tiling around a fireplace?

If you would like to learn how to tile around a fireplace and some gather some more information about which tiles are best for fireplaces, then contact us at UK Pro Tiling Training.

The Best Tiles For Kitchen Floors

The kitchen is often thought of as the heart and soul of a home. Often a “meeting room” for families- whether that be in the morning over breakfast or sharing the day’s events as an evening meal is prepared.apartment-ceiling-chairs-280232

Kitchen floors take some heavy duty wear. From boots and shoes, animals, food spillages and frequent mopping, all contribute to testing the durability of whichever type of flooring is chosen.

The kitchen is commonly the first room to have a makeover and, generally, a lot of financial investment tends to go into the kitchen.

When planning the kitchen, time should be taken into considering the floor too. The floor can be as much of a feature as the worktops and cupboards as well as being functional and ready for everyday use.

And if a tiled floor is required, what is the most durable tile for a kitchen?

Porcelain Tiles – Porcelain tiles are widely championed as the toughest tiles and are likely to withstand the treatment dished out to them in a kitchen. Fired at high temperatures, porcelain tiles are strong. Colour is added to porcelain tiles during the glazing process and this colour will remain for the lifetime of the tiles. Almost completely resistant to water penetration, porcelain tiles are certainly a tough choice of kitchen flooring.

How to choose the best kitchen tiles – a well prepared kitchen floor with expertly laid tiles can give the wow factor to any home. Porcelain tiles aren’t the only tile option, other materials should be considered before making a final choice.

  • Ceramic tiles are easier to install than porcelain but are more porous and will need periodic treating to maintain the glazed finish.
  • Stone floor tiles are great for a more ‘real’ finish. Careful cutting and laying of the textured finish of stone can give spectacular results.This floor will require regular maintenance.
  • Marble tiles offer a sleek, elegant look, perfect for a contemporary kitchen design. Highly polished marble can really grab attention as its vibrant colours stand out. There may be practicality issues as marble can be extremely slippery when wet and in some cases even when it is dry.

Sandstone, granite, quartzite and even glass are other tiling options.

Whatever style of kitchen tile is chosen, the floor should only be laid on a perfectly prepared base which has allowed for the weight the tiles are adding to the floor. Precision cutting equipment is essential to avoid unsightly ‘nibbled’ edges to any cut tiles.

While there are other types of flooring available for kitchens (real wood, wood effect vinyls, wooden tiles, click together flooring), tiles, whichever style is chosen, are generally considered to be the best option. They will last longer and with proper care and maintenance will maintain their appearance throughout their life. Damage to a tile can be fixed by replacing a single tile as opposed to a locked together or one piece flooring system.

If the look of wood really is the only choice, why not use porcelain faux wood tiles?

If you would like to learn how to tile a kitchen floor and some more information about why tiles are best for kitchen floors, then contact us at UK Pro Tiling Training.

How To Install Mosaic Tiles

While mosaic tiles may be tricky to work with, they look fantastic when they’re applied.

Mosaic tiles tend to be supplied as sheets already fixed to a soft mesh backing. Ordinarily, these sheets are 300mm square, enabling large areas to be tiled without worrying about spacers between the individual mosaics.


When you first discover these sheets, you’ll probably breathe a huge sigh of relief! However, just because you don’t have to juggle thousands of mosaic tile pieces all the time, it doesn’t mean that installing mosaic tiles is always a simple task.

There are advantages and disadvantages to applying mosaic tiles both individually and on a backed sheet.

One downside to applying mosaic tiles using a backed sheet is that it can be challenging to apply even pressure across the whole sheet. The result could be that some tiles sink too deeply into the adhesive, whilst others are falling away.

Professional tilers will, no doubt, have accumulated methods of avoiding this issue, however, that is not to say all tilers (no matter what their experience) shouldn’t bear potential issues with mosaic tiling projects in mind.

Some tips for overcoming a sinking backed sheet (aside from having enormous, flat and extremely steady hands!) may be to invest in some rigid mesh backing sheets. These sheets are usually self-adhesive and applied straight to the back of the sheet of tiles. They can then be handled like a larger tile and will have a flat, professional look.

Putting some time into the preparation of the walls, starting with a completely flat surface will save a lot of work and time as you start to apply the mosaics.

If you are not used to working with mosaic tiles, don’t be daunted or put off!

Here are some exclusive tips for mosaic tiling:

  • Turn the sheets over to cut them – if sheets of tiles need trimming, turn them over and trim with a sharp utility knife.
  • Avoid cutting tiles – think ahead and spread the gaps, or squeeze them, to ensure a full mosaic tile fits the final gap.
  • Use professional equipment – if tiles do need cutting then aim to use the best cutter you can afford to buy or hire.
  • Clean as you go – adhesive lumps protruding through the grout spaces may end up being visible. As the adhesive starts to harden it is worth going over the gaps with an old toothbrush before grouting.
  • Go easy on the grout – with potentially hundreds of edges to be cleaned after grouting, it is worth taking more time grouting the mosaics than might be the case with larger tiles.

Mosaic tiles are commonly found used as a decorative feature, often breaking up a wall of plain tiles in a bathroom. When planning a bathroom or kitchen it might also be worth considering a mosaic splashback.

Above a sink, behind a cooking hob or kitchen worktop, a mosaic splashback can transform a room. As well as boosting the aesthetics of a home, mosaic tiles create a washable surface where water or food could stain a plain wall.

It’s not just walls that would benefit from mosaics. Consider adding a glamorous touch to the bathroom by tiling the shower floor with glass mosaic tiles. Whilst large glass tiles might be too slippery for floors, the network of grout lines on a mosaic floor will provide substantial grip.

A bathroom designer could create endless patterns with mosaics by laying them individually, maybe have a sea life scene on your shower floor.

The challenges of tiling with mosaics are almost certainly out weighed by the potential impact on your home’s charisma.

If you’d like to master your skills when it comes to tiling with mosaics, UK Pro Tiling Training can help.