# Posted: 1 Mar 2018 10:48
One of the last (if not THE last) puzzle piece for my cabin interior is what to do with the hearth for the fireplace.
I wanted something that fit the aesthetic of 'modern rustic'. That means polished white marble was out, lol. I kinda screwed myself by not raising the actual fireplace box up when I framed everything up, so I really needed something thinner. I wanted to get natural stone from around the property to finish it out, but I think it would have wound up too thick. Ditto with a cast-in-place concrete one. I really thought long and hard about that, but anything more than about 3/4 inch would block the grate that hides the controls for the fireplace.
While knocking about at Menard's one day, I came across these outdoor porcelain tiles.
They have the look and feel of sandstone, but are way stronger. At only 3/4" in thickness, they are just what the doctor ordered.
I even got them on sale. I need 4 but bought 6 just to make sure. They are heavy, and it took a bit to man-handle them through the tile saw, but I got 3 cut down to 14" (which is what I needed). I just laid them in place to see how they look. The colors work very well with the rock in the fireplace. They have a nice texture too. Not flat, but not uncomfortable to sit on if you want to. Below is a picture of two of them in place. They are not cleaned off, but you can see how they pick up the tones in the fireplace stone nicely.
After I got the first 3 set out, I needed to cut the wedges for the ends. The first wedge went nicely, but while cutting the second wedge, it all came off the rails. The tile saw blade (admittedly way past its prime) cracked and wedged in the kerf so tight, I had to get out prybars to get them apart. I was about 1/2 way through the cut, and the tile saw was done. I thought that maybe my ceramic blade in my hand grinder might finish it, but the tile just laughed at it. You could actual watch the disc shrinking. I used up an entire new disc, hoping to score it deep enough to snap it off. Nope. It broke in the worst way, ruining the piece I was cutting and causing very bad language. That was enough for me. I'll have to get a new tile-saw blade to finish up next time I go down.
I'm pretty pleased with them. The only thing is I might do something to darken the edges a bit. They lack the coloration of the tops, and that draws the eye to them. I got enough tile to play with to see what stain/dye works best. Of course, pictures and a blog update when I finish.