Whether a functional heat source or a structural souvenir from years past, a fireplace gives a room character, warmth and beauty, and provides a focal point which all design must be centered around. A crackling fire or a beautiful mantelpiece will draw all the attention no matter how beautiful the sofa or how exquisite the end tables.When designing for a room with a fireplace, careful attention must be given to how the space will be used to complement the other elements in the room. Incorporating glass tiles around a fireplace hearth or behind wood stoves is perfect way to use materials that take advantage of the abundance of light and warmth provided by the fire itself.
Iridescent glass tiles are the ideal design choice for any space dominated by light. Tiling a fireplace hearth is the obvious choice from both a design and a functional perspective. Light produced by the dancing flames flows through tiles, illuminating them and making them sparkle with each crack of light. The natural light of the fire is amplified by the surrounding tiles, both underscoring and adding a feeling of warmth and intimacy created by the fire.
The beauty of glass tiles—in simple monochromatic schemes or in extravagant designs—is also the perfect compliment to a beautiful mantelpiece. A mosaic glass tile border creates an eye-catching centerpiece while using a single blend of dark iridescent tiles will provide an understated backdrop for nearby artwork or antiques. Whether working with a century old, traditional Victorian hearth or a 20th century modern electric model, versatile glass tiles will fit seamlessly into your design ideas.
Glass tiles are also the functional choice for resurfacing fireplace hearths. Durable and able to withstand frequent changes in temperature; glass tiles won’t warp or break when exposed to the intense heat of a roaring fire or the rapid cooling of dying embers. Further, glass tiles are easy to clean and maintain; soot buildup on the surface of tiles can easily be removed with a bit of glass cleaner and a sponge or paper towels.
When planning to install glass tiles around a fireplace, it’s important to properly prepare installation surfaces. Metal and drywall cool at different rates and tiling over these two surfaces—as is common when working around a metal-framed fireplace and the surrounding wall—can cause long-term problems if additional steps aren’t taken during the installation. The varied rate of cooling can put excess pressure on the tiles, causing the thinset and grout to weaken and, in some cases, causing the tiles themselves to crack. For this reason tiles must be installed on a smooth, single-material surface. If it is not possible to resurface the wall, you should consider altering your design—tiling just the concrete is a quick solution to this common problem.
Similar to a fire-place, tiling around a woodstove is both a practical and a functional-design-minded option for home renovations. While covered stoves generally produce less light than fireplaces (lessening the impact of the strong light-manipulating characteristics of glass tiles) tiling the floor around and wall behind a wood stove is a great way to bring the elegance and warmth of glass tiles into a stove-heated room. This installation especially benefits from the ease of maintenance of glass tiles, as dirt and soot are frequently tracked in from outdoor woodpiles.
Visit our Amazing Glass Mosaic Tile Gallery to see how clients have used Susan Jablon Mosaics' glass tiles to illuminate their fireplace hearths and add warmth and elegance to their rooms with our tiles.