I noticed one of the tiles above my gas fireplace had cracked and two large pieces were about to fall off, so I carefully removed them. This fireplace has not been used in several years so the cracks most likely developed/propagated due to wind or vibrations. We got a lot of wind here and now I can feel cold air coming in from behind the tile.

spot where the tile pieces were removed

the back of one of the tile pieces that were removed

My questions:

  1. What type of adhesive does it look like was previously used here to attach the tiles to the metal enclosure of this gas fireplace?

  2. After scraping off the previous dried adhesive, what type of adhesive should I use to reattach these pieces?

    I see recommendations here for "thin set with an admix", "moose milk" and refractory cement", but I'm not sure which to pursue. Ideally I'd like to be able to buy a small quantity of something (rather than a large bucket) online (and avoid having to go to a store).

  3. After the pieces have been reattached and have settled, if the cracks between the pieces are still visible and/or have air coming through, what could I use to apply into the crevice to ensure a seal? Preferably something clear or black to match the color of the tile.

  • 1
    It's actually "moose milk", which is slang for latex admixture. Ed's not known for his spelling. :)
    – isherwood
    May 16, 2020 at 21:00
  • I would just say that I doubt that wind vibration had anything to do with it. My chimney had water damage all around the drywall and I got the mortar cap re-done twice, and put a cap on the flues. Still the marble surround cracked in several places due to the chimney structure itself settling in our clay soil. It happens, and those tiles are not structural.
    – DaveM
    May 17, 2020 at 5:08

2 Answers 2


I've had a similar situation and I found Liquid Nails for Marble and granite to work very well. It's also rated for use on metal. You can purchase it in single tubes and it's great for spot repairs on tile and granite. Just make sure the surface is cleaned and follow directions. Be sure to secure the tile in place until it dries.
I couldn't tell if there is grout between your tiles. Grout is prone to crack with vibration but I'm sure you'll want to match whatever is there. If you change what's between the tiles it may not match. If there is a gap, be sure to use spacers for a uniform gap on each side before you grout. Then all you do is match the grout color.
You can also use the Liquid Nails to join the pieces of tile before you mount them but if they are large pieces and the surface you're mounting it to is even you may not have to do that. Good luck. enter image description here

  • Yes, +1- what was originally used looks like construction adhesive, and Liquid Nails is one brand of that type of adhesive. May 17, 2020 at 0:27
  • The way that old glue is discolored, it must have gotten really hot, do you guys think that it will hold up under that extreme condition? I see it is heat resistant to 300 degrees, but....
    – Jack
    May 17, 2020 at 2:24
  • I ended up applying Liquid Nails and using a support bar to keep the pieces in place during the curing process, and it's held perfectly. As for whether it will withstand the heat from fireplace use, we don't actually use this fireplace ever. If a future homeowner decides to use it then they may want to find a different solution.
    – Employee
    Jun 13, 2020 at 16:11

They definitely have their place, but I am not a big fan of silicone adhesives. This is one place where I would use it. It can handle heat up to 400 degrees for typical silicone, and I believe RTV silicone is good for 500 degrees. It will need to be held in place securely while it cures, but once it does it can handle the expansion and contraction of the metal it is adhered to.

It is always advisable to clear the old adhesive off the surfaces of the metal and stone before resetting the stone.

This is not the way I have done this before, but since it was set in glue, this should give you your best chance of staying. I have used wire lath, screwed to the metal, and set the stone with thinset, in the past.

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