Choosing the proper masonry or stonework for your fireplace hearth can make the difference between a basic, boring fireplace and a fireplace that sizzles. While some types of masonry have aesthetic advantages, others provide structural and functional advantages that can influence your fireplace's overall quality.
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According to Ask The Builder, using slate is an excellent option for the stonework of a fireplace hearth. Slate is a metamorphic rock that typically takes on a greyish, greenish or bluish hue, but you can also find it with mottling, or irregular patches of colour such as red, pink and gold. The rock has fine grains, which allow masons to split it easily into flat, smooth sections. As Ask the Builder notes, in addition to being durable, slate takes on a particularly attractive appearance when next to the glow of a fire.
Limestone is a hard, dense sedimentary rock that, as Paver Search notes, workers often use for constructing skyscrapers, complexes and other large buildings. The rock is also a popular choice, however, for the masonry on fireplace hearths. Limestone comes in predominantly neutral shades, including vanilla, tan, dark wood tones and taupe, which means it will work well with all types of colour schemes. According to Design Your Outdoor Fireplace, limestone fireplace hearths are particularly well-suited for creating a transitional style, which bridges the gap between traditional and modern.
In terms of functionality, soapstone is perhaps the best material to use for the stonework of your fireplace hearth. As Hearthstone notes, this talc-based metamorphic rock has an incredibly stable composition that allows it to endure drastic fluctuations in temperature and to withstand the singeing effects of open flames. In addition, a soapstone fireplace hearth can store heat so that you can feel residual warmth long after the fire goes out. And while you may be worried that a soapstone hearth, due to its heat-absorbing qualities, may become dangerously hot, the outer surface of the material remains relatively cool to the touch. Soapstone typically comes in grey, white or pale green, but you can also find it with mottling.
While it isn't a naturally occurring stone, brick, made of heat-hardened clay, is still a popular choice for fireplace hearths. Bricks typically come in an auburn or reddish-brown colour, but you can also find them in darker and lighter shades to suit your decor needs. As Design Your Outdoor Fireplace notes, brick fireplace hearths work best with traditional-style settings.
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