Mood is created by the entire package: the mantel, trim and, of course, the fireplace surround.
Fireplaces, especially wood-burning units, are often the heart of interior home design. Inevitably, the warm crackle of the fire becomes the focal point of social and family gatherings. On holidays, gifts are opened at the foot of the fire. Somehow fires invoke family memories and reminiscences otherwise forgotten. Yet this uncanny ability to inspire friends and family is not simply a result of the dancing flames. Mood is created by the entire package: the mantel, trim and, of course, the fireplace surround.
All of these aspects work together to build that soothing and peaceful environment, and not just for gatherings, but for homeowners who want a place to relax and warm their toes every evening. Despite the current focus on creating a fireplace surround, it is important to ensure that the surround complements the mantel, trim, and overall aesthetic of the home.
In creating a fireplace surround, there are a few initial factors that should be considered. First, determine in what capacity the fireplace will be used. Will it be relegated to special occasions or on a daily basis to provide heat? If on a daily basis, maintenance must be considered for wood-burning fireplaces.
Budget is also an important factor. Large, natural stone surrounds can get very expensive. So be careful not to get in over your head before you consider the ramifications your design will have on your bank account.
The other main consideration, and the heart of any design, involves which material to use in constructing the surround. Their are a wealth of choices including limestone, brick, wood, concrete, tile, marble, and other natural stones. In some cases these can mix and match, most commonly in the combination of a tile surround with a wood mantel and trim. Design of your fireplace surround is limited only by your imagination. Following are some ideas for creating a fireplace surround, with a focus on the more popular materials listed above.
Brick has long been the traditional choice. It has, however, steadily decreased in popularity because it tends to darken a room and because stone and other materials offer much more diversity.
Stone surounds are exceedingly popular. They include limestone, granite, marble, and others. There are several benefits to a stone fireplace surround.
These three materials are more common with prefabricated gas fireplaces. The obvious dangers of combustion limits them as wood-burning surrounds. Nonetheless, they do offer some advantages.
Concrete is an up-and-comer in fireplace surrounds. In recent years, options for designing with concrete have greatly expanded. Concrete surrounds give a stone-like feel with the added versatility of being moldable.
Finally, the most important step in designing a fireplace surround is to find a contractor to build or install it. When you know what you want in your fireplace and surround, you should involve your contractor deeply. He or she should have extensive experience in building the specific type of surround you want and will subsequently have valuable advice that will aid you in the process.
Speak with a certified, pre-screened contractor today.
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