DIY Portola Paints Roman Clay Application

DIY Roman Clay Fireplace (Over Existing Tile)

I took you all by means of the method of renovating the fireside within the children playroom on instagram however I promised you a weblog submit too so right here it’s! I’ll stroll you thru all of the steps we took to create our DIY Roman Clay Fire, going proper over the present tile.

DIY Roman Clay Fireplace

From the beginning, I knew I wished a plaster sort end however wasn’t certain precisely how we had been going to attain that. I reached out to an area man who gave me some samples of his plaster which was NOT what I wished in any respect. Plaster isn’t as widespread because it was once, so it’s a bit of difficult discovering somebody to do it.

A whole lot of guys who used to do plaster have become drywall guys so you might all the time strive trying to find somebody in that speciality when you don’t wish to do it your self.

For us, I began realizing it will simply be simpler to do it ourselves, so I wanted to determine what product would give us the very best outcomes.

I had seen a bunch of different bloggers and instagrammers use Portola Paints Roman Clay to attain the graceful cloudy end so I began trying into that.

Portola Paints Roman Clay Finish

Our greatest impediment after all was that we didn’t wish to rip out our present hearth. The form was clear and fashionable so we didn’t have to restructure it in any respect. And it will have been a HUGE mess to tear off all of the tile – so we determined to go proper over it!

We did one thing comparable once we tiled over tile in our half bathroom however this was going to be a barely completely different course of.

Portola Paints Roman Clay is advisable to go over a easy, flat floor (like drywall). I known as them and requested about going over tile they usually didn’t actually recommend it. We considered drywalling over the tile, which I’ve heard will be achieved however isn’t essentially a great possibility. 

So we determined to basically skim coat the fireside to do away with the grout strains and create a extra uniform floor to use the roman clay to. Right here’s how we did it!



Combine up a bag of Stonewall Mortar to a creamy consistency. It needs to be comfortable and little wetter than how it will usually be when you had been utilizing it as setting materials to put tile. I’d say nearly like toothpaste!

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Apply the mortar on to the tile floor. My FIL used an 11″ trowel to do that.

Trowel for Skim Coating


After it’s dry, you’ll wish to sand down this primary coat. It would nonetheless be fairly tough and have a number of peaks and valleys. I used a drywall sanding pad with drywall sanding paper.

Sanding after skimcoating

That is the way it sorted the primary coat – nonetheless fairly tough.

Covering a tile fireplace with roman clay


Apply a second coat of mortar the identical means you utilized the primary.


Sand once more. After our second coat we realized it wasn’t getting fairly as easy as we wished – even after sanding. It had a variety of strains on it and was nonetheless very tough.

So my FIL had an concept to make use of a thinner consistency skinny set to do a 3rd coat and that was the trick!


Apply a skinny layer of skinny set over the mortar attempting to attain the smoothest end potential.

Using Thin set to cover a rough wall

He blended it utilizing this milk from laticrete as a substitute of water for a bit of higher adhesion. Perks of getting a FIL who lays tile for a residing is having all these merchandise available 😉

333 Flexible Additive

You couldn’t use skinny set from the get go as a result of the mortar is lots thicker and stronger and can stick with the tiles higher, however it acted as an excellent remaining coat.

You may see how a lot smoother it was which was precisely what we wished!

Thin set over a tile wall

To offer you an concept of the feel, right here is a photograph of the primary, second and third coats.

Smooth walls with thin set and mortar


Sand once more.


Fill in any holes or large gaps with spackle and sand these down as soon as dry.

How to Cover a Tile FIreplace

Now we had a reasonably easy floor to use our roman clay to. It undoubtedly wasn’t as easy as dry wall and nonetheless had some imperfections, however the grout strains had been gone and I sort of wished an earthy, imperfect look anyway. 

Roman Clay Fireplace Makeover Tutorial

So now let’s transfer on to the roman clay! I used the colour Full Circle at 75% so it was only a tiny bit lighter than the precise colour. They’ve SO many colours to select from on their web site and can even do customized colours. I ordered samples so I may see how the colours look in our residence which was tremendous useful.


  • Portola Paints Roman Clay – I ordered a 4 Kilo bucket which covers roughly 100 sq. ft.
  • Primer
  • 6″ putty knife
  • Non-compulsory Smaller or similar dimension putty knife to scoop the clay out of the bucket
  • Sand paper
  • Portola Paints Sealer (non-compulsory)
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Prime! It’s advisable that you just prime your floor first earlier than making use of the roman clay. Portola Paints makes a particular primer you should buy from them, however it isn’t crucial. You should purchase common primer from the ironmongery shop and it really works simply as nicely.

Kilz Premium Primer before applying roman clay

I used this KILZ Premium Primer and utilized only one coat.

DIY Plaster Finish Fireplace


Subsequent up is making use of your roman clay!

Portola Paints Roman Clay

They’ve a YouTube video on their web site you possibly can watch to get an concept of the method however there’s a number of room for messing up as a result of there actually isn’t only one option to do it. Everybody who makes use of and applies roman clay, will find yourself with a special end which is what makes it so distinctive and enjoyable.

It’s undoubtedly simpler to look at another person do it first, so right here’s a bit of video for you!


If you wish to see some extra video motion – try my Fireplace Highlights on Instagram.

It helps to make use of your smaller putty knife and scoop a small portion out of the bucket. after which wipe that on to 1 aspect of your bigger putty knife.

Tools for applying Roman Clay

When you get in a rhythm it goes fairly rapidly. You wish to fluctuate your strokes so that you just obtain that cloudy look which occurs by pushing tougher in some space. This fashion there might be spots with much less roman clay and spots the place it’s utilized a bit of heavier.

DIY Roman Clay Fireplace Transformation


Sand. Use a light-weight grit sand paper to sand down the complete floor. The sting of your putty knife will create little raised edges, however they’re simple to sand right down to get a easy end.

I continued to make use of the identical drywall sander I used from the beginning as a result of at this level it was fairly worn down. Ensure you use a light-weight grit sand paper, it doesn’t should be tremendous course – the roman clay sands actually simply!


Apply your second coat. It’s actually as much as you what number of coats you do. I ended up doing two plus some contact up areas.

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Applying Portola Paints Roman Clay

At this level after my second coat, I’ll observe that I began to note some black marks on my hearth. I’m nonetheless unsure 100% what occurred.  What I consider was the offender was the metallic fringe of the putty knife creating these marks.

Presumably as a result of I had such a tough, tough floor beneath the clay and never drywall? It’s exhausting to say. Truthfully I’m in all probability the one one who would discover them ha.

I assumed sanding would do away with them however it didn’t so I ended up getting a plastic putty knife and going over simply the black spots. There have been many individuals who’ve achieved this and haven’t had an issue with getting marks like these, however to be secure I’d in all probability use a plastic knife. 

Somebody additionally advised me there are putty knives with rounded corners in order that sharp edge doesn’t scrape in opposition to your wall an excessive amount of.

On the finish of the day, there are undoubtedly some imperfections however I wish to name them character 😉 


Sand once more. You’ll be superb how easy this end is – I couldn’t cease touching it!

STEP 6 (non-compulsory)

Apply your high coat. This isn’t a crucial step, however since that is within the child’s playroom and it’s a really gentle colour, I wished a bit of additional safety on it.

Portola Paints Top Coat

I put two coats on – and a bit of goes a great distance. I’ve virtually the entire bucket left. There’s no have to sand once more after this except you discover any large bumps you wish to easy out.

Applying Roman Clay to a Tile Fireplace

You apply it the identical actual means you apply the roman clay. I used the plastic knife this time and didn’t have any marks.

DIY Portola Paints Roman Clay Application

I’m obsessive about the way it turned out and couldn’t find it irresistible extra. It’s the right end for our hearth, even when it did take a bit of additional work, it was completely value it!

Subsequent up I’ll get you the tutorial on the slat partitions! We’ll even be ending up the bench quickly too so make sure to observe alongside on instagram for all of the behind the scenes motion!

I hope this tutorial on the right way to create a DIY Roman Clay Fire was useful! Do you assume you’d strive it in your individual residence?

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