I’ve wanted a fireplace makeover since the moment we walked into our house. The spot was brimming with unused potential. Why no mantle? No wall treatment up to the ceiling? Why just box it in and call it a day? Such a waste! Thankfully, I found Slate-ish, and my fireplace dreams came true.
Friends . . . I’d like to introduce you to my new and improved fireplace using Slate-ish tile and a wood beam from a 100-year-old barn.
Are you swooning? Because I am. This Slate-ish treatment finishes the space, making it look intentional and inviting. No longer an afterthought, it’s ready to welcome guests and ask them to relax and enjoy their visit.
Do you want to know how we did it?
Well that, my friends, is super easy to explain.
What is Slate-ish?
Slateish is made from scrap paper-composite materials. The solid core laminates are made from paper and resin, which are heated and pressed together. Normal uses for products like this are countertops and furniture in commercial projects. Slateish sources scrap materials from those vendors, limiting waste, and creating something beautiful in the process!
Is it strong? Durable?
Yes! Working with it first hand, it held up well to being banged around. If you’ve been here a while, you know I’m anything but gentle on things. If it can’t take me installing it, it doesn’t belong in my home. Slate-ish is incredibly durable, many more times stronger than natural stone in fact!
Does it come in other colors?
Yep! 20 in all! I used the color Chalk, but they have more, very colorful options, as well as natural-looking stone colors.
Removing the existing tile and prepping the wall
This could not be more simple! If you have a wall with little to no texture, you’re set to go! For us, it was a little more prep because we were removing the existing fireplace tile from the wall.
Here’s how we did it!
First, we removed the molding. To do that, start by cutting around the boards where they touch the wall with a box knife. This releases the wall paint front the boards. Trust me, don’t skip that step. Paint is like glue and if you don’t release it from the boards when you pry them off it will pull the paint off the walls, making jagged edges you’ll have to fix.
Once that was done, we gently pried the boards off with a crowbar and hammer. I was hoping the tile would come off that easy, saving all the drywall, but that was a pipe dream. It was on there good! We knew we’d have to re-install drywall on that area. To make it easy we cut the damaged drywall out in a square, and puzzle fit a new piece in its place. We didn’t have studs on the ends to nail it to which would have been ideal. Since that wasn’t an option, we used drywall clips to attach it to the existing drywall, screwed it into place, mudded the seams, sanded it down, painted so the glue for the slate-ish would adhere well, and we were set to go!
Before, messy middle, and after, ready for the wall treatment!
Why I’m in love with Slate-ish wall treatment: It’s natural-looking
The Slate-ish comes in different sizes, thicknesses, and lengths. This is to keep your wall treatment looking natural and real. This was one of the main draws to using their product for me. I’m not into harsh lines or perfection. I love real, raw, and treatments that flow together. Slate-ish hits all those points for me.
I wanted the Slate-ish to be as wide as the old trim and tile was, going the whole way up the wall to the ceiling. To do that, we measured out from each side of the fireplace evenly, and used a blue chalk line to snap a line from top to bottom.
I used a table saw to make end cuts.
You read that right. Me. I did the cutting, which is the first time in all our DIY projects!
This felt doable, so Travis showed me the ropes, and I did the cuts. They were so easy! If I can do it, you can! Just make sure to follow the safety instructions included with your saw and use eye protection.
Attaching to the wall
Starting at the bottom, glue your first piece to the wall. I used a leveler to make sure I was going straight and not a bit crooked. Heaven forbid I start applying them to the wall, then step back and see the whole fireplace slanting in one direction.
To apply Slate-ish, the recommend either a double sided wall tape, or a silicone option. Since I had some unevenness and my walls were lightly textured, I went with the silicone. It worked well. Almost too well. There was one piece I needed to move after leaving it for about fifteen minutes, and it tore off the sheetrock top with it. Moral of the story, make sure your pieces are where you truly want them. Because it’s going to be hard or next to impossible, depending on the time it’s set, to get it off your wall!
You can see in the photo above, I used a wave pattern to apply the glue to the tile. Once pressed to the wall the silicone dispersed evenly.
And so it starts!
Things to avoid
Make sure to stager the Slate-ish tile ends, so you’re not having every other row lining up to the ones below it. This will create a pattern you’re not intending, and draw the eye to certain points instead of the overall wall. Also, make sure to use thick and thin pieces interchangeably. Don’t use several thick, then several thin, as it will again cause the eye to search for the unintended pattern you’ve created.
Once you’ve got it, keep going
After a few rows, you’ll start to feel like you’ve got a rhythm going. Good! Just keep plugging along and you’ll be done before you know it!
Now again, for us, we had to make things a little more complicated. We decided to add a mantle to our fireplace. Because really, what’s a fireplace without a mantle?!
The mantle of our dreams
Originally we were going to make a faux mantle out of boards since we couldn’t find a large piece of wood at a decent price.
But then . . .
Our neighbor’s 100-year-old barn was falling down, so he took it apart and the pieces of wood that were salvageable he was giving away for free!
You read that correctly. Free. What a score right?!
We saw him taking it down over a couple of weeks, and when he put the free wood sign out we stopped immediately to check what he had. I saw this piece of wood in the pile and knew immediately that was our new mantle. It had 100 years of charm and character and was the perfect size. With it and the Slate-ish, our fireplace would be complete!
We wanted it to look floating, but because of the weight, we needed to use some sturdy brackets to hold it up. After thinking it over, we cut out the sheetrock over the studs in the shape of the brackets, attached them to the walls, making them flush. I then applied the Slate-ish over the top! it worked out perfectly and looks absolutely stunning!
Once we put the brackets in and placed the beam on to make sure it was level and lined up, we removed it until the Slate-ish was complete. To avoid having to cut the Slate-ish at the top, I decided to meet from the bottom and from the top behind the beam, so any difference in size would be hidden behind the beam.
I wouldn’t recommend tiling from top to bottom unless it was an absolute necessity. The thicker pieces of Slate-ish slipped a bit, and I had to use painters tape to hold them to the tile above until the silicone set, usually around 15 minutes. For us, this worked best, but avoid it unless you don’t have another option!
Overall, this product is very forgiving and easy to work with. Anyone from the novice DIYer to the experienced home renovator will love working with Slate-ish!
The end result is just perfect.
I couldn’t be happier.
Would you try this in your own home? What color Slate-ish would you use?