How to Prep a Brick Fireplace for Tile

For this next step in my fireplace remodel series, I'm preparing my crumbling brick fireplace for a mosaic tile installation.
Demolition of the old tile had damaged the brick hidden underneath. The mortar was crumbling between the bricks, but luckily the bricks themselves were still firmly in place.
Demolition of the old tile damaged some of the brick that was hidden underneath. The mortar was crumbling away in a few spots, but luckily the brick itself was still firmly in place.
Before I could install the new mosaic tile, I needed to smooth out the surface of the brick. Otherwise, these small pieces of tile would sink into the grooves and holes, creating an uneven tile surface.
I gave the entire brick surface a scrub with a wire brush, followed by a thorough vacuuming.
Then I mixed up a batch of thin-set mortar. You want the consistency to resemble smooth peanut butter.
I worked the mortar into all the cracks and grooves, smoothing it down with a small trowel.
When a large section was coated, I smoothed it out further using the flat side of a large tile trowel.
Looking at the surface of the fireplace from above made it easier to see where the high and low points were. Once everything was flat, I let it dry overnight. Now it's ready for tile!
To get more details on how I prepared my fireplace for its makeover, including how I fixed the crumbling drywall surround, check out my website at The Handyman's Daughter!
Vineta @ The Handyman's Daughter
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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  • Rebecca Jarvela Rebecca Jarvela on Feb 11, 2017
    the bricks have mortar coming out instead of flat I have tried chipping it off but this is a really ugly job. any suggestions on how to smooth the brick so I can have it tiled
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