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Stone Fireplace

Updated on November 23, 2009

A stone fireplace is rustic, natural, masculine, and beautiful. An indoor stone fireplace can add warmth and depth to a room and an outdoor stone fireplace can add character and activity to your yard. Whether you are thinking about constructing stone fireplace designs for outdoors or indoors, the choices of materials available to you are large. There many different kinds of stone for your natural stone fireplace such as granite, slate, limestone, marble, etc.. You also need to decide on whether you want to use real natural stone or cultured, manufactured faux stone. A faux stone fireplace can be just as beautiful as a fireplace made of real stone and most of the time it is hard to tell the difference. There are advantages and disadvantages of both options. No matter what kind of stone fireplace construction you choose, the addition of a stone fireplace could add a lot of value to your home.

If you are interested in indoor stone fireplace designs then the main decision you will have to make is whether you want natural stone or manufactured stone. A natural limestone fireplace is very heavy. So heavy, in fact, that you usually have to install or build it in an outside wall so that there is a solid foundation underneath it. Alternatively, you could reinforce the floor under your fireplace somewhere else in the room. Alternatively, you could use the artificial stone, which weighs less than a quarter of what natural stone weighs. The decrease in weight brings several advantages to the table. First, since it is lighter, it is less expensive to ship the materials to your home and you can work more quickly with it. Contractors can move more quickly with lightweight materials and you will end up spending less on labor.

Another advantage of artificial stone is that it is less expensive to buy and often comes with a guarantee against cracking or fading. There are some disadvantages as well. The artificial stone fireplace is more absorbent then natural stone. As a result, it can stain more easily. In addition, if you do happen to chip a piece of the stone it looks very unnatural because the material under the surface looks nothing like stone. One advantage of any stone fireplace over other materials is that stone is fireproof. In addition, you are not limited as to the type of fireplace you can have. Gas, electric, or wood burning fireplaces are all feasible with a stone face.  In fact, you can even have two types of fireplaces if you incorporate an insert.  Electric fireplace insert reviews say they work particularly well in stone hearths.

Stone fireplaces, stone fireplace mantels, and stone fireplace surrounds can be constructed out of whole stones but it is much more likely that they will be constructed out of tiles or stone slabs that are installed directly over the existing fireplace or frame. Installation is quite easy and you can do it yourself. The process is similar to laying a tile floor. If you are going to use whole stones then it is better to use a contractor who may be used to handling heavy materials like that. If you use the stone tiles or stone slabs then it is easier to extend your fireplace mantel past the normal dimensions for the mantel. There are homes that continue the stone façade so that it covers the entire wall.

It is much more common to use entire stones in an outdoor fireplace. Outdoor fireplace designs are often instructions on how to build from the ground up and not the remodeling of an existing fireplace. For this reason, stone outdoor fireplaces are often masonry projects from scratch. Before you begin your project, it is crucial that you check your local building codes and get any necessary permits. There are some city ordinances that restrict the materials you can use in outdoor fireplace construction and even where you can out your fireplace. It is better to check these things in advance rather than finish your project and have to tear it all down later.

Both indoor and outdoor stone fireplaces require accessories to make sure that the fires burn safely and efficiently. Especially indoors, it is important that the accessories match and compliment your stone fireplace. For example, a set of antique fireplace tools made of brass are more likely to compliment the atmosphere created by the stone fireplace than a set of modern fireplace accessories. Another example is that simple iron fireplace screens that hang in front of the firebox will look more natural than a set of modern fireplace doors. The accessories that you choose for your stone fireplace are really a matter of personal preference. Safety accessories are extremely important, especially to help prevent ventless fireplace problems.


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    • profile image

      kandalló nyíregyháza 7 years ago

      Thank you for this detailed article, you helped me much to make my decision.


    • profile image

      wood burner installer sheffield 7 years ago

      There are plenty of artificial stones nowadays that look very realistic. They no longer need to look cheap and fake so well worth considering when you are building a new fireplace.

    • profile image

      Takuchi stone 7 years ago

      We specialize in natural stone and artificial stone such as granite, marble, quartz stone, phoenix glass, crystallized glass, nano crystallized glass of slabs, tiles, monuments, vanitytop, kitchen countertop, etc.

    • profile image

      John W. 7 years ago

      Thanks for the great in depth article. I agree, manufactured faux stone panels are great for fireplaces. I came across them when i was looking to remodel my fireplace and they seemed to have plenty of benefits over real stone. Here's a page i found with various examples of faux stone panels used fireplaces.

    • relica profile image

      relica 8 years ago from California

      I love the idea of using the lighter weight artificial stone. It seems like it would be much easier to work with than real stone.


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