1. Tile Available through manufacturers, specialty shops, or home centers in a wide variety of materials. For most basic tile or stone, you can calculate the square footage of your surround and buy 10 percent more tile than needed, to account for cuts and mistakes. If you’re working with art tile, many manufacturers will create a custom pattern and materials list for you if you send them a measured drawing of your surround.
2. Thinset mortar Look for a product that’s good for wall applications, such as Laticrete Mega Bond. A 50-pound bag will cover up to 100 square feet.
3. Latex additive to improve the flexibility of the thinset and create a stronger bond.
4. 1×3 lumber to create support ledges for the upper field of tiles and the bottom edges of the legs.
5. 2-inch masonry screws to attach the support ledges to the bricks.
6. Tile spacers to separate the tiles evenly and keep them from sliding down while the thinset cures. The size of your joints can vary, based on the tile; a sharp-edged material, such as granite, can be spaced as little as 1⁄8 inch, but more rustic art tile can have 3/16- to 3/8-inch spacing. Buy plastic spacers or make your own from cardboard.
7. Grout If the space between your tiles will be greater than 1⁄8 inch, you’ll need sanded grout; less space calls for unsanded grout.
8. Sanded acrylic caulk is usually available from the grout manufacturer in a complementary color.