I am going to be tiling over a brick fireplace and I think I have a handle on how to do this, but I do have specific questions that someone on here can answer, I'm certain.

First, the existing layout: This isn't just a flat brick surface that lies flush with the wall, the hearth projects out from the plane of the wall by about 18", so I'll be tiling out from the wall 18", right along the face of the hearth the length of the fireplace and then back 18" again to the wall, plus tiling the two walls and ceiling of the hearth surrounding the actual firebox opening. I hope my description makes sense.

Second, the bricks themselves basically lie very flat, creating a very flat surface EXCEPT for the mortar joints; they are very deep and therefore the technique I've seen suggested to trough on a thickset or mortar mix over the brick to make the entire brick and mortar joint surface flat/flush seems like too much hassle.

I'd like to laminate the entire hearth with 1/4" backerboard. A tile installer friend of mine suggested cutting the backerboard to the sizes I need and trowing on some latex modified thinset directly to the brick AND the back of each piece of backerboard (much like you would to install the tile itself). This sounds like the easiest approach.

My question on that step is: Will adhering the backerboard to the brick like this suffice, without having to use Tap-con screws drilled into the brick or mortar joints?? Shouldn't this hold on it's own???

I think I have a handle on installing the tile and what procedures to do, but tips on that would be most welcomed too!!

THANKS This Old House!

Steve