Cooler temperatures have arrived and with that, fireplace use will be kicking into high gear once again. Those people with fireplaces can enjoy a cozy atmosphere, have warmth when electricity is interrupted, cut energy costs and be eco-friendly. Those with wood-burning fireplaces can even heat their coffee or soup on the woodstove! Sixty percent of new homes now have some type of fireplace and that number is rising. If you don’t currently have one, you may want to weigh the benefits and decide if a fireplace is a good fit for your home.
There are many different options to consider when installing a fireplace in your home – whether it’s a new build or an existing home. There are gas units, wood-burning units, blower options, remote options, decorative liners, and many different sizes and applications (see-through, three-sided, outdoor, etc.) Aside from the unit itself, there are also various options for what surrounds the fireplace. Many times this is what dictates the look and feel the fireplace will have in your home, more so than the unit itself. A quick run-down on the “anatomy” of a fireplace surround will help you when selecting a style and finish for your fireplace.
Starting from the bottom up, the HEARTH is essentially the “floor” of the fireplace and extends beyond the firebox and into the room. It can be flush with the floor or raised up off the floor. Slate, flagstone and brick are some favorite materials for a hearth.
The SURROUND is the area outside the fireplace unit itself on the wall. Popular materials for a surround are formed stone, brick, tile, granite and slate. The materials for the surround can extend the height of the mantle or be installed floor to ceiling for a more dramatic look.
The MANTLE is the shelf above the fireplace unit. The mantle can have “legs” or be a free-standing shelf. A simply painted mantle with legs provides clean lines that will accompany most any style. A more rustic look can be achieved by using a piece of reclaimed lumber or old barn beam as a shelf mantle.
Check out the pictures of some of our favorite fireplace surrounds from a few completed projects.