When resurfacing a fireplace, first remove all the finishing around the structure, such as tile, wood or marble that frames the fireplace. Use a pry bar and wedge it between the finish and the wall and carefully move the bar until the piece is separated. Use a wire brush to clean brick, stone or tile fireplaces. Ensure the grout or spaces between the material is brushed as well.
Check for loose adhesive and remove or secure any loose or weak cement. Use a white vinegar mixture on a cotton rag to clean the rest of the surface and any other visible part of the fireplace. Once clean, allow the fireplace one or two days to dry. Use white thinset cement to make a mixture for the refacing. With a flat trowel, apply a layer of thinset to the surface of the fireplace, ensuring each grout joint or depressing is filled completely.
Allow the thinset to set overnight. Use a notched trowel to apply a second layer over the dry first layer. Begin to apply tiles to the thinset. If using stone to reface the fireplace, use mortar instead of thin set, and work your way up the structure. If the original fireplace is brick, another option is to clean the brick and paint it to change the appearance.