Tiled stoves and fireplaces: features, advantages and selection criteria

Clas­sic tiles are thick-walled ceram­ic tiles of a spe­cial shape: their back side is equipped with a con­toured rim — rumpa. The box-shaped form allows you to secure­ly attach the tile to the brick­work with pieces of wire passed through the holes in the side.

Tiled stoves: historical background

Tiled stoves were wide­spread in EU already in the 17th cen­tu­ry. Alas, most of them have sur­vived to this day in a destroyed or repeat­ed­ly rebuilt form, so it is extreme­ly dif­fi­cult to restore the orig­i­nal appear­ance; one can only assume that all such stoves were heat­ed in white.

The few sur­viv­ing exam­ples (in the house of the mer­chant Shu­milo­va in Gorokhovets, in the house of the mer­chant Shara­pov in Toropets, in the Novode­vichy Con­vent, the Trin­i­ty-Sergius Lavra, etc.) are rec­tan­gu­lar struc­tures with a smoke cir­cu­la­tion, but with­out bench­es, ovens and burn­ers. That is, they served exclu­sive­ly for heat­ing. Such stoves were installed in the cor­ner of the room or in a spe­cial­ly equipped open­ing (to heat two adja­cent rooms). Some­times the struc­ture was equipped with a fuel chan­nel, which made it pos­si­ble to heat from the vestibule.

But the tiles them­selves have been pre­served in abun­dance. In the XVI cen­tu­ry. they were dec­o­rat­ed with a relief pat­tern with­out paint­ing and glaze coat­ing and had the col­or of baked clay. In the next cen­tu­ry, relief paint­ed and green glazed (“tsenin­ny” and “antled”) tiles dom­i­nat­ed, and under Peter I, smooth white tiles with a blue pat­tern (“Delft tiles”) became wide­spread.

Tiled stoves today

Today, tiled stoves are built accord­ing to indi­vid­ual projects by sev­er­al Euro­pean com­pa­nies — Guild of Mas­ters, Ves­ta-Kerami­ka, Ceram­ics Decor, Euro­pean Majoli­ca, etc. In addi­tion, you can order fac­ing kits for steel and cast iron fur­naces, as well as pre­fab­ri­cat­ed (mod­u­lar) fire­clay stoves. And final­ly, tiled cladding is present on some mod­els of fin­ished met­al stoves-fire­places.

Con­tem­po­rary artists and crafts­men are suc­cess­ful­ly recre­at­ing old tiles and recon­struct­ing stoves that used to be in roy­al cham­bers and monas­ter­ies.

Benefits of tiled stoves and fireplaces

First, let’s talk about the prac­ti­cal advan­tages of a “cas­ing” made of glazed ceram­ics.

The main func­tion of tiles is dec­o­ra­tive, but oth­er qual­i­ties of ceram­ic cladding have always been val­ued, in par­tic­u­lar, dura­bil­i­ty and ease of main­te­nance. With a smooth glazed sur­face, it is very easy to remove dust and oth­er con­t­a­m­i­nants, thanks to which the oven always looks neat and nev­er smells of burn­ing from it.

Fac­ing from ware­house scrap tiles will be made in 2–3 weeks. An indi­vid­ual project is imple­ment­ed up to 3 months.

In addi­tion, due to its micro­p­orous struc­ture, thick-walled ceram­ics tend to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly insu­late and accu­mu­late heat, that is, the walls of the device do not heat up to a dan­ger­ous tem­per­a­ture, and after the end of the fur­nace they slow­ly cool down dur­ing the night, which great­ly increas­es the com­fort of fur­nace heat­ing. In this case, the iner­tia of the fur­nace depends on the width (height) of the tiller and the lin­ing tech­nol­o­gy.

Details of a prefabricated fireplace with ceramic cladding

How tiles are made

Artis­tic tiles for the imple­men­ta­tion of indi­vid­ual projects today, as in the old days, are made by hand. The cladding set, in addi­tion to ordi­nary (wall) tiles, usu­al­ly includes base­ment, waist, cor­nice, cor­ner and shelf ele­ments, and some­times also rosettes, balus­ters, semi-columns with cap­i­tals and arch­es.

There is no size stan­dard in tiling — it all depends on the size and shape of the stove, as well as the artis­tic design of the cladding; the wall thick­ness of tiles is usu­al­ly 7–10 mm.

The process of work­ing on a set of tiles (stove set) begins with the cre­ation of sketch­es and mod­els, usu­al­ly plas­ticine. Casts are made from the mod­els and a set of plas­ter molds is obtained. They are dried, then filled with clay, often with the addi­tion of ceram­ic chips, fine grav­el or sand. In this form, the blanks are kept in an oven for at least a week so that the clay does not crack dur­ing fir­ing. Next, the tiles are sub­ject­ed to the first (“scrap”) fir­ing in a spe­cial kiln at a pre­cise­ly set tem­per­a­ture, then they are paint­ed, coat­ed with a pro­tec­tive glaze and fired a sec­ond time; up to five fir­ings may be required, depend­ing on the num­ber of lay­ers of enam­el and glaze.

Each com­pa­ny has a cat­a­log of works and typ­i­cal orna­ments, but noth­ing pre­vents the cus­tomer from offer­ing their own sketch­es or sim­ply express­ing ideas regard­ing the style or plot of future draw­ings. Here you can give com­plete free­dom of imag­i­na­tion — for exam­ple, try to com­bine the clas­sic “Delft” tech­nique with mod­ern themes, copy the style of the Impres­sion­ists or rethink the plots of Euro­pean fairy tales.

Advan­tages Flaws
Increased safe­ty: ceram­ic lin­ing nev­er heats up to tem­per­a­tures above 60 ° C, it is impos­si­ble to burn your­self on the fur­nace wall. High cost (com­pared to sim­ple brick, and even more so bud­getary steel fur­naces).
heat stor­age prop­er­ties. When using a met­al fire­box, the lin­ing serves as a bar­ri­er to “hard” infrared radi­a­tion, accu­mu­lates heat and slow­ly releas­es it. A sig­nif­i­cant mass, often pre­vent­ing the instal­la­tion of a fur­nace with­out a foun­da­tion or floor rein­force­ment.
Ease of main­te­nance. Any con­t­a­m­i­na­tion is eas­i­ly removed from the sur­face of ceram­ic prod­ucts. They are resis­tant to acids and sol­vents. Rel­a­tive­ly low resis­tance to mechan­i­cal dam­age and the com­plex­i­ty of repair­ing the cladding.
Unusu­al pos­si­bil­i­ties for inte­ri­or design in a vari­ety of styles.

Construction technology

The pecu­liar­i­ty of the con­struc­tion of a clas­sic tiled stove is that brick­work and cladding are car­ried out simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. At the same time, the rows of tiles are con­nect­ed to each oth­er with pins (crutch­es) and sta­ples and fixed on the walls of the fur­nace with twist­ed pieces of steel wire, which are walled up in the seams of the brick­work. The tile is laid emp­ty, how­ev­er, the cav­i­ty of the ramp and the space between the ramps of neigh­bor­ing tiles are filled with clay mor­tar with the addi­tion of brick chips or grus (spe­cial fine grav­el).

There are tech­nolo­gies that allow you to dec­o­rate with tiles and an already built stove. You can, for exam­ple, use mason­ry or road mesh for this pur­pose, which is attached to the stove with steel anchors, and tiles are already knit­ted to it. Or, hav­ing cut the tiller, sim­ply glue the cladding ele­ments with a heat-resis­tant adhe­sive, such as Uni­ver­sal HKM (Wolf­shöher Ton­werke) or Scan­mix Fire (Scan­mix). The glue method is cheap­er than the clas­si­cal one and allows you to reduce the num­ber of shaped ele­ments, but it does not achieve a good heat stor­age effect.

If the stove or fire­place is based on a cast-iron or steel fire­box, then there are sev­er­al ways of lin­ing it. Most often, the fire­box is lined with bricks or blocks of light­weight con­crete, and then tiles are glued.

Anoth­er option involves the man­u­fac­ture of a con­tour met­al frame (for exam­ple, from a cor­ner) — inde­pen­dent or weld­ed to the walls of the fur­nace. To attach the tiles to the frame, wire knit­ting, plates and sta­ples are used.

Final­ly, the cladding can be self-sup­port­ing: tiles with a high ramp are laid, like bricks, at a dis­tance from the walls of the fire­box, not con­nect­ed to it in any way, but rein­forc­ing the mason­ry with wire, rods, and in some places with steel pro­files.

Today, per­haps the most pop­u­lar wood-burn­ing heat­ing device is a fire­place stove. Com­pact fac­to­ry prod­ucts made of boil­er steel or cast iron are easy to trans­port and install and are quite durable: their actu­al ser­vice life is 20–40 years.

It is pos­si­ble to tile with tiles any type of fire­box — wall, cor­ner and even tun­nel. It is impor­tant to choose the right way to fix the tiles.

For­eign com­pa­nies ABX, La Nordi­ca, Enbra and oth­ers pro­duce ceram­ic-lined fire­place stoves. Of course, these are not exact­ly tiles, but rather an imi­ta­tion, but out­ward­ly they accu­rate­ly repro­duce tra­di­tion­al prod­ucts, and in terms of prop­er­ties they dif­fer lit­tle from them. At the same time, most ceram­ic fire­place stoves not only look ele­gant, but also have an impres­sive range of func­tions, includ­ing flue gas after­burn­ing, self-clean­ing door glass, and even a built-in heat exchang­er for con­nect­ing a water cir­cuit.

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