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How to Install Tile Behind a Wood Stove

Installing tile behind a wood stove is a moderately simple process. While any type of tile makes a decent background for the stove, certain kinds offer additional benefits. Clay and ceramic tiles suit the installation best. They resist heat and install just like any other tile. Choose a darker color to match your stove, or pattern the tiles in mosaic. The choice is yours and yours alone. Just make sure to follow proper clearance distances.

Wood stoves require proper clearance.

Step 1

Measure from the wall to the stove with a tape measure to determine the proper installation distance.  If the label on your stove indicates that the stove is "registered," the typical clearance from your tiled wall must be at least 36 inches.

If not, the clearance distance must be at least 48 inches.  Allow an additional inch of clearance for the tile.


Step 2

Install a 1/2-inch backer board to the wall where the tile will be installed.  The backer board must cover the entire installation area.

Use 3-inch wood screws and a power drill. 


Step 3

Dry-fit the tiles in place.  Mark and cut tiles to fit evenly on the backer board.

Include a 1/8-inch spacer between tiles when lining them up along the bottom.  Mark overlapping tiles with a marker.

Score and break enough tiles (with a tile cutter) to line the entire trim area of your installation. 


Step 4

Mix grout mortar and water in a 5-gallon bucket with the hand trowel until the mix is thick and pudding-like in consistency.  Spread a 1/4-inch-thick layer over 3 square feet along the bottom of the backer board, using the grout spreadeer.

Press your tile into the grout.  Insert a spacer next to the tile and press another into place beside it.

Continue to tile the backer board in this manner until the backer board is covered. 


Step 5

Empty the 5-gallon bucket.  Mix grout compound and water in the bucket with the hand trowel.

Apply a generous layer to the surface of the tile.  Wipe a hand float (rubber-edged grout tool) across the tile, spreading grout into the tile gaps.


Step 6

Scrape the remaining grout from surface of the tile with the float.  Rinse excess grout from the tile with water and a sponge.

Things You Will Need

  • Wood stove label or product manual
  • Tape measure
  • Backer board
  • 3-inch wood screws
  • Power drill
  • Marker
  • Tile spacers
  • Tile cutter
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Hand trowel
  • Mortar compound
  • Grout
  • Grout spreader
  • Hand float
  • Sponge

About the Author

Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.

Photo Credits

  • wood burning stove image by Paula Gent from Fotolia.com