In the minds of most people, a fireplace is not only and not so much a source of heat. First of all, this is the part of the interior that gives special comfort and chic to the room.
Historically, fireplaces were made of natural stones and finished with tiles or ceramics. Nowadays, the choice of materials for this has expanded significantly, and therefore there are always options for different possibilities, tastes and prices. Let's try to analyze what are the advantages and disadvantages of decorative stones in this matter.
Features of natural stone
Granite, marble, sandstone, quartzite, limestone, slate, tuff, pebbles and even cobblestone are used as decorative facing stones for decorating a fireplace. For especially luxurious options, semi-precious stones can also be used - jasper, onyx, jadeite, serpentine.
The advantages of natural stone finishes include:
- Durability, this finishing option can last for more than a dozen years, or maybe a hundred, and over time, the beauty of such a finish will be complemented by a touch of antiquity.
- Strength. Most natural stones tolerate high temperatures well and do not lose their qualities from temperature extremes.
- Ecological cleanliness. When heated, natural stones do not emit any chemical compounds hazardous to humans.
- The beauty. It is hard to argue that the beauty created by nature with skillful processing will not leave anyone indifferent. Creation of a cozy atmosphere of unity with nature, good energy.
Natural stones also have their disadvantages:
- Great weight. The use of natural stones for decoration requires a preliminary assessment of the weight of the fireplace with such a finish and the ability of the foundation to support that weight. In addition, the weight often requires special additional structures for fastening stones.
- The complexity of the work. For the most part, the execution of work on the decoration of the fireplace with natural stone is within the power of professionals.
- High price. The extraction and production of natural finishing stone is a laborious and costly process, which affects the final price of the products.
Each of the types of natural stones has its own characteristics:
- Granite. It is considered the most durable and most commonly used stone for decoration. It has many color options to find the perfect fit for your interior. It lends itself well to processing (grinding, sawing, etc.)
- Sandstone. Also has a wide range of colors. Widespread, making it more affordable. Easy to handle.
- Slate. Not much inferior in strength to granite. Easy to handle. Has a kind of overflow in the light of fire. Marble. Can be considered as an option for ceremonial decoration. There are many colors of marble from snow white to brown and black. It has an amazing property to give products tenderness and lightness, while being very strong and durable. Marble finishing should be done by professionals without a doubt. Cladding with marble is considered the most complex and meticulous.
- Shell rock. Quite lightweight, easy-to-work stone Has an original porous structure made of petrified seashells. This porosity contributes to high heat-resistant and heat-insulating qualities. The color options are usually white and yellow.
- Tuff. Another option for a porous stone. Its advantages include the ability to withstand temperature extremes, moisture resistance.Convenient for processing.
- Pebbles, cobblestones. Natural budget options for natural stones. If you have certain skills, they can be an excellent option for creating an unusual and stylish fireplace design.
If the option of facing with natural stones for some reason is not possible, then there are a large number of options for artificial decorative stones.
First of all, the price of such stones attracts. It is significantly lower than that of natural ones, while maintaining excellent external qualities. Low weight. This will allow you to apply such a finish without fear of increasing the load from the structure. Facing with artificial stone is possible for all surfaces. Many color options, which will give you a choice for any interior. You can also choose the texture of the stone and change the shape of the elements. Relative ease of work. Decorating with modern artificial stones is quite easy to do with your own hands.
The main disadvantage of artificial stones is the ability to release them under the influence of heat, chemical compounds hazardous to health. Therefore, it is especially important to take seriously the choice of artificial stone. It is better to dwell on the products of well-known companies and be sure to familiarize yourself with the product certificate. It is also necessary to pay attention to the texture of stones, the presence of chips, porous surfaces and other defects. Modern materials, made to strict standards, minimize flaws and are not dangerous.
They are created on the basis of natural stone chips, have high strength and meet fire safety requirements.
Consider two of the latest developments in artificial stones
- Acrylic. It is made from natural marble chips, up to 80% in the composition. For hardening, acrylic resins are used, which gave the name to the stone. The use of acrylic stone gives great opportunities, because by using various color additives and the selection of textures, they achieve similarities with almost all finishing natural stones, up to semi-precious ones. It has durability and does not require special care, a simple wet cleaning without the use of chemical and abrasive agents is enough.
- Flexible stone. One of the most recent developments, which allows you to reduce the installation of the fireplace cladding closer to the linoleum flooring on the floor. It is made in the form of sheets with dimensions of 960x480mm and a thickness of 1.5-4mm. Consists of natural marble chips and has a rough surface. The texture and color of this stone is similar to natural finishing stones and gives unlimited possibilities for creating various interiors in a short time, including "a wild stone". Light weight and flexibility makes it possible to mount it on any surface. Large sheet sizes eliminate the need for tedious grouting. Flexible stone does not contain harmful substances and is safe for health. Perfectly cut even with office scissors.
As a simple and budget option, you can use gypsum stone. It is lightweight and does not overload the structure. Processing is not difficult. It is possible to create various shapes of such stones, creating your own design options.
DIY cladding tips
If you decide to do the work yourself, it will be useful to take into account some of the tips offered by experts:
Carry out a thorough surface treatment for cladding, taking into account the used stone.
Pre-select stones by color and lay them out on a plane so that you do not have to redo it already on the working surface.
If there is a need for sawing, choose files with small notches so as not to spoil the material. A reasonable solution would be to use an ordinary hacksaw for metal.
Strictly follow the instructions for the selection and manufacture of bonding solutions for the selected finishing materials.
Work in a warm room, not lower than 5ºC. Start with the largest and thickest elements with a small amount of mortar, so it will be easier for you to adjust the thickness of other elements later.
When grouting, it is necessary to let the mortar dry and only then remove the excess so as not to stain the surface of the stone.
After the completion of the work, it will be useful to treat the surface with a composition that protects it from moisture and dust.