When the marble becomes discolored, cracked or outdated, however, it can also detract from the rest of the room. There are several ways you can update or redo a marble fireplace, depending on how much money, time and effort you want to put into the project. Tile Over Tile If your marble fireplace is tile and the original tile is in good condition with no loose tiles or cracks, you can put new tile over the old. Install new marble or use another type of tile to completely change the look.
Clean the marble of any soot and run a belt sander over it to roughen the surface, particularly if the original marble is polished. Apply a cement-based mortar to both the existing marble tiles and to the backs of the new tiles.
Tap the new tiles into place, using a rubber mallet. Level the new tiles and allow the mortar to dry for 24 hours. If you are installing new marble, seal it well before you grout it. Paint the Fireplace Because the fireplace is a dry area not subjected to moisture or foot traffic, it is possible to paint over the existing marble -- whether it is tile or a slab. Clean the surface of the marble well. Use urethane-based primer and topcoat to seal the paint job.
Paint the fireplace surround a single, flat color. Alternatively, use a faux-marbling technique by rolling on two colors. Allow the base coat to dry, then paint in veins to give the fireplace a new "marble" appearance. Marble Slabs Fireplace surrounds done in marble can utilize either marble tiles or marble slabs -- large pieces of marble cut to fit the firebox opening. One way to redo a marble fireplace is to replace the existing marble with new marble slabs.
The slabs can be made out of any marble, which can be viewed and selected at a stone yard. The surround can be cut into one large slab that has no seams when installed. Alternatively, purchase slabs that are cut into three pieces that combine to form a top and two "legs. New Tiles If you have a marble surround that is cracked or loose, the best way to redo it is to remove the old marble and install new tiles of marble or another material.
Break off a section of the old marble, using a hammer and chisel, then pry off the rest with a pry bar inserted beneath the edges of each tile. Depending on what the original tiles were installed on, you may be able to install the new ones immediately. Alternatively, you may need to hang new cement backerboard before installing the new tiles.