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How to Build a Fireplace Hearth Pad [8-Step Procedure]

It can be pretty frustrating to see cracked or broken tiles in your fire pad. Building a new fireplace hearth is even more troublesome and time consuming. 

How to build a fireplace hearth pad?

To begin, measure the whole surrounding area where you’ll place your hearth pad. Remove the old rusty floor and level the ground to add plywood. Once the plywood is placed, prepare the tiles,mortars and tile the floor with mortars. Follow it up by tilling the floor and applying grout.

You must still be in the dark about the situation. Worry not! We’ve prepared this detailed guide to help you sort things out. 

Let’s get going!

8 Steps to Build a Fireplace Hearth Pad 

The hearth pad protects the surrounding area beside a fireplace or stove. But it can also add some specially designed beauty to your house decorations. It enhances the beauty of your house by working as a decoration piece.

There are some ready-made fireplace hearth pads you can buy. But these hearth pads are gloomy and could look bad in the center of the house. You can easily build a fireplace hearth place by yourself. 

Before building any hearth pad you need to follow the hearth pad requirements about size. 

The size recommendations are usually outlined in the manual of the stove. If you have a wooden fireplace then you might need a larger fireplace hearth pad. 

Building a fireplace hearth pad can be an easy, yet time-consuming job. You need to gather up all the necessary instruments for the operation in your disposal.

Tools You Will Need 

You won’t need anything fancy to build the fireplace hearth pad. All you need are a few handy tools. That’s all!

Most of the tools are easily attainable from the nearest hardware stores. Here’s what you will need:

  • Self-leveling floor patch 
  • Tile trowel 
  • Level 
  • Wire brush 
  • Cement backer board 
  • Plywood 
  • Measuring tool
  • Marking pen
  • Handsaw, jigsaw
  • Backer board scoring tool 
  • Thin-set mortar 
  • Backer board seam tape 
  • Backer board screw 

With these tools you will easily get the job done. But also you will need step-by-step guidelines to do the job. Don’t worry. It’s not going to cost you an arm and leg.  

Here’s the step-by-step procedure for building your own fireplace hearth pad: 

Step 1: Measuring the Surrounding Space 

Measure the space around the fireplace first in order to proceed with the operation.  

This is where you will set up your hearth pad.

Think about it as measuring a corner cabinet. Try to follow the instruction manual while measuring the spacel. 

Make an exact measurement across the plywood surface you are going to use. Mark the whole place and plywoods with a marker pen. 

Step 2: Removing the Old Floor 

After measuring the space, you have to remove the old flood beneath and around the fireplace. If you have wooden flooring then cut the exact size and shape of the floor. 

Step 3: Applying Self-Leveling Floor Patch 

After removing the old floor, your floor will be uneven and bumpy. That’s why you need to level the ground before tilling. Somewhat similar to leveling ground for a set pool or garden.  

Apply some self-leveling floor patches to your ground. This will level the ground and help you to place the tile. 

There are several self-leveling floor patches available. As a result, you can become somewhat perplexed when deciding which one to pick. 

I’ve compiled a list of some of the best self-leveling floor patches available:

Product 01 
Product 02 

These products cure easily and take less time overall. That means you don’t need to spend a day to level your ground before tilling. 

Step 4: Adding Plywood 

Place the plywood on the floor where you wish to place the hearth pad. Then you need to secure it in place. To fasten the plywood, drive 2-inch galvanized screws every 5 inches around its circumference. 

Using two sheets of backer board, repeat the process. For your brick hearth pad, this is the starting point. You may also need to sand your plywood surface to get a smoother painting surface.

Step 5: Cutting Tiles 

Measure the tiles to figure out how many tiles you need for covering the whole area. To cover up the curves and edges you will need to cut some tiles.

You may design your hearth pad by cutting different shapes of tiles. Or you may add different color tiles. It will make your house decorations more beautiful. 

Step 6: Applying Mortars 

Use a notched trowel to apply thin-set mortar to the cleaned area of the fire pit. Spread a thin layer of thin-set with the notched trowel at an angle. The notched edge of the trowel may be used to make straight lines in the thinset.

Step 7: Tilling the Floor 

The backs of fresh mosaic tiles should be coated with a thin coating of thin-set. While the thinset is still wet, press the mosaic tiles firmly onto the prepared fireplace. 

Let the thin-set dry on the front of the tiles before removing it with a sponge. 

Step 8: Applying Grout 

New mosaic tiles need to be grouted in the gaps between them. Using a grout brush, spread the grout evenly on the gaps. A sponge can be used to remove any excess grout. Afterward, apply grout sealer and wait for it to cure before utilizing the fire pit.

Then you can call it a day. Your fireplace hearth pad is ready with its new look. If you can remove your fireplace yourself, then you can do this too. It’s all about being careful and following the steps.


Question: How thick does a heart pad need to be?

Answer: The thickness of the heart pad depends on the materials used to build it. Usually it’s about  ⅜” or 8mm thick. For a wood stove you may require a 48″ large heart pad. It would protect the falling embers. 

Question:  Can wood be used to make a fireplace?

Answer: No, a fireplace can’t be made from wood.  Because wood is considered a highly flammable material. And it won’t be able to save your home from fire embers. 

Question: How large should a hearth pad be for a wood-burning fireplace?

Answer: The hearth pad should be at least 300 mm to the front. And 150 mm on both sides. To save your house from wood embers, you need a bigger than regular hearth.

Bottom Line 

That’s all for now, folks. Thanks for checking in with us. I trust you now have a better understanding of how to build a fireplace hearth pad. 

If you don’t feel comfortable handling heavy tools, consider calling a professional. 

Best of luck!