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I have a Heat & Glo direct vent fireplace. Unfortunately, when the tile was installed a year ago, the installer didn't leave room at the top for the front of the fireplace to be removed for servicing.

What I would like to know is how can I cleanly cut the tile around the unit? I have a Dremel™ tool if it helps.

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  • Did someone tell the tiler that space was needed? ie show the tiler how the front had to come off?
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 28, 2022 at 17:21
  • It's off-topic for this discussion, but the tile installer is liable for complying with the fireplace manufacturer's instructions, in my opinion. Any installer worth his trowel should've asked for literature.
    – isherwood
    Sep 28, 2022 at 18:12
  • Please edit your question to let us know if this is a new install or a new-to-you place. there seems to be a lot of concern about it being the former, and that does significantly change the answer.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 28, 2022 at 18:39
  • You want to cut what where? how have you determined that the tiles need to be cut?
    – Jasen
    Sep 29, 2022 at 8:51
  • @ALL OP indicated in a comment on an answer down below that the tile install was > 1 year ago, so calling the installer back isn't an option. I've edited that into the question itself, since it was causing so much confusion.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 29, 2022 at 12:01

3 Answers 3

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Generally, you'd want a diamond coated blade installed into almost any sort of tool designed for cutting in a straight line.

  • A circular saw, given enough clearance for the shoe, would do a nice job.
  • A "flush cutter" or "oscillating multi cutter" would do an OK job, but it might be difficult to maintain a straight line. However, with a steady hand you'd do OK.
  • An angle grinder would make quick work of it, but may also have issues with a straight line.
  • The Dremel tool, if you have/can buy an appropriate tile cutting bit would work, but would probably be the most difficult to maintain a neat, straight line.

If the goal is to cut right along the edge of the black surround, I'd actually think the flush cutter might work the best - you'll get a 2-3" straight section from each cut, and you'll have the trim to guide you in a straight line. You would have to be very careful to ensure you don't scrape up the black finish, assuming you're keeping that surround.


However, I'd suggest that there has to be some way to remove that cover other than cutting it away from the tile. Have you thoroughly investigated the inside of the insert looking for screws or tabs or something to release it?

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  • The service technician said that the front cover must slide up and out and the current tile level is prohibiting it from moving.
    – Kermit
    Sep 28, 2022 at 17:59
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I would use a diamond wheel in a 4" angle grinder. It's the tool with the best mobility and cutting power, while still allowing precision. Be sure to install the T-handle if you have one.

I'd also use double-stick foam tape to attach a straightedge on the tile surface, such as a 1x4 board. You can then make the cut with confidence, and the straightedge will protect the remaining tile from damage. By riding your grip hand along its face you'll maintain stability.

Be sure to plan for a lot of dust. Seal the room, set up window exhaust fans, and have a helper hold a shop vacuum nozzle very close to the grinding wheel on the output side. If you have extra vacuum hose, run the exhaust out the window.

Use eye, ear, and respiration protection. This is messy business and angle grinders are loud.

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Best option - have your tile contractor return to correct their mistake (with a diamond blade, typically.)

DIY - get a shop vac (preferably with HEPA filter) to go with your Dremel and the dry diamond blade you buy for your Dremel, and cut carefully. You might want to tape a straightedge to the tiles to follow.

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  • If it's a fresh install, then yeah, definitely get the installer back, assuming that leaving a gap was in the specs.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 28, 2022 at 18:28
  • This was almost a year ago :(
    – Kermit
    Sep 28, 2022 at 19:17
  • I don't consider that to be outside of a reasonable support/warranty window.
    – isherwood
    Sep 29, 2022 at 13:21

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