Home Kitchen

Fireplace surrounds used as wall art

Marble and granite are becoming clear choices for fireplace surrounds for many homeowners. There are many ways that natural stone can be used to make a fireplace a central feature of the room. Retrofitting a brick-lined fireplace can add class and elegance to an otherwise boring situation.

As fireplaces have evolved over recent history, so have the ways that homeowners choose to present them. A fireplace is no longer just for burning wood and providing warmth for the family. Modern homes often have gas logs or fireboxes that burn other types of fuel. Much of the clutter that was once a part of the fireplace is no longer relevant, and people want their fireplaces to be attractive focal points.

There are two basic options for installing a stone surround in the home. If the fireplace already exists, the usual action is to use individual tiles to cover any material that is on the face. If it is new construction, the builder may order that a frame be placed around the opening. Either installation will produce an excellent finish for any fireplace.

precast envelope

One of the attractions of prefab units is the speed with which they are installed. A special order can usually be shipped within a couple of weeks. These usually have a hearth, front and even a shelf so that the pieces can be joined in sections and joined in a very short time.

These types of surrounds are good for fireplaces in framed walls where there is no brick or other siding protruding from the front. Also, they work better for fireplaces that sit on the floor than for those with raised hearths. The dimensions are given to the manufacturer when the order is placed so that the frame will not need modification when it arrives. What makes this an attractive option is the wide variety of designs and colors available.

There is almost no end to the different decor designs you can create with these frames, whether you want Oriental, Greek, French Provincial, Early American, or something else. Beauty comes at a price, and pre-built units can cost several thousand dollars depending on how ornate and intricate they are.

built on site

For those who have traditionally built fireplaces, the most logical solution is often to hire a tile company to refinish an existing fireplace. It is still possible to incorporate pilasters and sculpted designs into the hand-laid stones, and in some ways more options are available when creating a setting.

The stones can be placed in a very simple way where each one is the same size and the sides and corners align with each other. In a more creative design, the stones can be of different sizes and the medallions can be placed in strategic areas. The stones can also be placed diagonally instead of horizontally.

For those who still like the traditional wooden mantel, it looks great with natural stone. Some homeowners choose to mix the type of stones used, preferring the harder granite in the home and marble in the vertical areas. Travertine and slate are other commonly selected options.

Smooth faced stone is most often chosen in formal style arrangements. It looks neat and presents true wall art for the fireplace. Rough or rough stone is not used as much as it used to be, but it makes an excellent accompaniment in a lodge or cabin.

create your own

If you decide to transform your fireplace into a work of art, it is highly recommended that you have a complete plan in place before beginning the job. There are so many variations of style and color, and decisions need to be made before ordering the material.

You can ask your friends for suggestions before you meet with your contractor, and it’s always good to get the contractor’s thoughts on the possibilities. Consider all the options, including the size of the frame. You may just want to highlight one area or go for an entire wall of natural stone.

It’s always a good idea to look at other fireplaces that have been done in a similar way to how you want yours finished. Many contractors have a portfolio of other work so you can make decisions based on the work done.

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