December 9, 2021

Choosing the Best Stone for Your Fireplace

A natural stone fireplace exudes a convivial atmosphere and offers a distinct look. It retains heat within the firebox for longer, keeping the cold out during the winter months. With proper installation, natural stone requires minimal maintenance and can increase a home’s value. From marble to quartzite, limestone, and more, here’s how to select a suitable natural stone for the fireplace

Things to Consider When Choosing the Stone

We always advise conducting research before settling on a stone. Certain types have a beautiful aesthetic but require higher maintenance, and others may possess the perfect look but be way out of budget. Interior design, durability, maintenance, and cost should be considered before settling on a stone. 

What is your budget?

Natural stone options are endless, but they come with a price tag. Deciding on your budget will automatically give you a price range to work within. Remember that stone like marble and granite may need to be specially fabricated to fit custom fireplaces. They are incredibly heavy and may also require professional installation, which incurs additional costs.

What is the final design of your fireplace?

Cut limestone and a slab of marble with bold veins embody contrasting styles. Having an idea of your interior design will also narrow down natural stone options. If you’re after a dramatic, high-contrast look, you may select marble, but if you’re after something more neutral-toned with decorative detail, you may prefer limestone.

What durability is required? 

All-natural stone is durable, but granite and marble have greater porosity than quartzite and limestone, meaning they need to be sealed and require preventative maintenance. Additionally, outside fireplaces require extra durability and shouldn’t be constructed of stone like granite that’s prone to fading under UV light. 

How hard will it be to maintain?

Most natural stones can be cleaned with a mild detergent and water, but that’s not usually the issue. Marble, for example, is prone to etching and stains, so glasses shouldn't be left of the mantelpiece without coasters. Like Limestone, it also needs to be sealed. This, of course, isn’t a big deal, but something to be aware of. 

Marble for the Great Looks

Chic, elegant and sophisticated, marble is the crème de la crème of natural stone for the fireplace. Its high-contrast striations and an impressive selection of colors make it one of the most sought-after stones for those desiring an opulent and classically designed fireplace. It offers a luxuriant look reminiscent of temples, crutches, and civic buildings.

Marble can be honed or polished, offering a high-gloss or muted appearance. As a durable stone, it’s compatible with wood-burning, electric, or gas fires. However, while easy to maintain, due to its porous nature, it is prone to damage. This stone has to be sealed to protect against moisture and acidic damage. 

In comparison to other natural stones, marble tends to be the most expensive. This is mainly due to its finite nature, durability, timeless beauty, and the energy-intensive process of converting rock into slabs, not to mention import costs. 

Durable Granite Fireplace

This cut stone is a popular option that still errs on the expensive side. It is more durable than marble and can even emulate marble patterns, offering a marginally affordable alternative. Granite is a formidable stone available in an enormous variety of colors and is scratch and stain-resistant. 

It holds up well over time and even resists smoke damage. Granite requires minimal maintenance and sealing every so often to preserve its natural beauty and longevity. Like marble, granite enhances a fireplace, transforming it into the focal point of a room. 

Granite is suitable for wood or gas fires. Its natural patterning complements other elements of a room or stands in bold contrast. Although unmatched when it comes to strength and durability, it can become discolored after heat exposure over prolonged periods of time. 

Quartzite Fireplace

Like granite, quartzite is a strong natural stone. It comes in many patterns and colors that are compatible with all types of interior design styles. Non-porous and resistant to scratches, scuffs, stains, dents, and burns make it a desirable choice for fireplaces. Even though quartz looks similar to marble, a major plus is that it doesn’t require sealing. 

Maintaining quartzite is incredibly simple, as water and mild detergent will do. Quartzite patterns are less dramatic than some marble and granite. Overall, it works well in modern homes with minimalist appeal, offering a clean, sleek, and stylish appearance. 

Affordable Limestone Fireplace

The abundance of Indiana limestone compared to imported granite and marble makes it one of the most affordable fireplace stones. Limestone is a softer stone, so carvings, embellishments, and small details are easier to see. This attractive quality allows engravers to add detailed textures and patterns on facing, surrounds and mantelpieces. 

Practically, it doesn't get dented, scratched, or easily broken. It’s also simple to maintain and only requires mild cleaning agents and warm water. Like other natural stone, limestone is available in a variety of hues ranging from light to dark tones, each of which exudes a different feel. 

Cut limestone veneer complements rustic, ornamental, and modern interior and exterior design, blending well with any style of furniture. Limestone possesses timeless appeal, offering a distinguished appearance that suits most interior styles. It can reflect ornate beauty or sleek, minimalist appeal. 

As a natural stone that needs little processing, limestone affects the environment less than chemically engineered stone. The process from quarry to fireplace has a smaller carbon footprint, especially if you select Indiana limestone. Its low cost, high adaptiveness, and low maintenance make it a viable choice for many.

Natural Stone Veneers for Your Fireplace Surround 

Stone veneer is a thin layer of manufactured or real stone that is not load-bearing and is used instead as decorative stone cladding.  Flexible and easy to install around rounded or curved areas, it is widely considered the best natural stone for fireplaces because of its cost and design flexibility. 

Natural stone veneers are manufactured from quarried rocks, whereas faux stone veneers are created to look like the real thing. Lightweight, non-combustible and non-flammable, natural stone veneer is a safe choice, regardless of whether you have a wood or gas fireplace. Barring periodic cleaning, a cut limestone and stone veneer fireplace requires very little maintenance once installed. 

Stone veneer is aesthetically pleasing, offering a warm, rustic look reminiscent of old-world charm. Like other natural stone, it comes in many hues and textures. Limestone veneer is a popular choice because it offers the same durability as limestone and can withstand harsh conditions. 

Because a cut limestone veneer is a quarried product, no two pieces are the same. The stone’s color variations are rich in hue and texture, offering each fireplace a unique appearance varying from silver, gray, buff, and variegated. Affordable limestone offers exceptional appearance and everlasting quality.

Still Can’t Make a Choice?

If well looked after and properly installed, a natural stone fireplace can last a lifetime. There are pros and cons to each type, but usually, the choice comes down to aesthetics and budget. 

Still, deciding on a natural stone for the fireplace can be overwhelming. If you’re struggling to choose which best suits your needs, we can help. As a leading stone-cutting company, you can count on us for expert advice. We work with homeowners and design professionals to supply the most suitable stone for our clients’ fireplaces. Call us at 614-683-5341 or click here to speak to one of our experts.