If the fireplace is lined with neat brickwork, you can simply cover it with heat-resistant varnish, paint or plaster. However, designers advise to go a more complicated way and use natural or artificial stone, ceramic tiles or decorate some elements of the fireplace with wood for decorating the fireplace.
Decorating the front of the fireplace with natural stone is perhaps the most popular type of decoration. Natural stone is beautiful, very durable, heat-resistant, non-toxic, and can take a variety of forms.
The most durable and most expensive stone among natural minerals is granite. Its cost is very high due to the difficulty of its extraction and processing. Its closest competitor is marble. It is not inferior to granite in beauty, but slightly less durable. In museums and palaces you can find fireplaces decorated with malachite. In a duet with bronze and gilding, malachite gives not only the fireplace, but the whole room a certain pomp and solemnity.
When decorating a fireplace with onyx, you will receive not only aesthetic pleasure from contemplating its unique pattern, but also its healing effect on your body. Even if you are not complaining about your health, this stone can improve overall well-being, increase performance and improve blood circulation in the body.
As an alternative to expensive minerals, manufacturers suggest looking at talc magnesite. It is also a natural stone, consisting mainly of talc and magnesite with small admixtures of chloride and magnetite. It is highly regarded for its high strength, ease of processing and high thermal conductivity.
If stone is most often used for fireplaces - both natural and artificial, then the stove is usually finished with tiles, heat-resistant tiles or facing bricks - you should not confuse it with building bricks. It is not fireproof and serves as a decorative element. The color of the facing brick should be rich and the masonry should be flawless.
As you know, all natural minerals are particularly durable. They are not afraid of either high temperatures, or humidity, or even time itself. However, they have one significant drawback - their heavy weight. And if we are talking about finishing a fireplace on some floor, then this drawback turns into a problem.
And here it will be more reasonable to make a choice in favor of an artificial stone. It is a mixture of concrete with various fillers and dyes. It is the fillers that are responsible for the relatively low weight of the material. The most popular fillers are expanded clay and perlite. Also, ceramic chips, pumice, etc. are used as additional components in artificial stone.
Various pigments (dyes) are used to give color to the artificial stone. Today, technologies make it possible to completely imitate an artificial stone for natural minerals. In order to obtain a lasting color, manufacturers use the technology of dyeing the entire mass. But sometimes there are options when only the surface of the stone is painted. Such coloring is not durable and the product quickly loses its presentation.
Since the construction of a real full-fledged fireplace with a chimney box, with a firebox and other attributes is a rather troublesome and expensive business, moreover, it is not always possible for technical reasons, so-called false fireplaces are often installed. They are divided into several subcategories.
Full imitation of a fireplace.An electric or biofireplace is installed inside the niche
Mirror tiles can be glued to the back wall of an electric fireplace, and real logs can be put down to make it look more similar. Some models are capable of reproducing the crackle of a fire.
Bio fireplaces are environmentally friendly appliances of a new generation - a living flame of a fire without smoke and soot. They can be installed on the floor against the wall, they can be hung on the wall, or they can be built into a niche.
Both those and other fireplaces are often finished with decorative concrete. This type of finish minimizes the risk of chips and cracks on the product, and also gives complete freedom of imagination in terms of decor.
Conditional imitation of fireplace ensembles. This is a portal protruding from the main wall for some distance. The firebox itself is relatively small - about 20 cm. An electric heater or some kind of interior item can be located inside. Decorated from the inside with illumination, such a fireplace will decorate the interior no worse than the real one
Symbolic imitations or false - fireplaces. It is simply a picture or decorative element that resembles a fireplace. It is rather a symbol of the family hearth, but not himself
Gypsum stone can also be used as an artificial stone. Its weight, as well as its cost, is low compared to natural minerals. However, its peculiarity is that all the details do not have a perfectly even shape and they all have some roughness and irregularities that must be grinded before laying in order for the finished composition to look like a single whole.
All types of this material can be divided into three main types, which differ in composition, appearance, and also areas of application:
- Porcelain stoneware. It consists of several types of clay, also contains a certain amount of mineral additives, feldspar and dyes. Porcelain stoneware is resistant to high temperatures and other influences, but it is quite difficult to process and almost impossible to restore, if necessary. If small cracks and chips can still be masked with stone chips, then it is almost impossible to fix serious damage.
- Agglomeres. These are materials based on polyester resins with the addition of quartz sand, stone chips from marble, granite and other rocks. They also contain coloring pigments, thanks to which it is possible to imitate the decoration of fireplaces with marble, malachite, jasper, granite, slate stone and other rocks. Agglomeres are often used for cladding wall facades, including for decorating fireplaces.
- Concrete based stone. This is one of the more popular finishes. The composition of such a material is quite simple: cement, sand, the same stone chips as in other types of artificial stone and the same coloring pigments. It is widely used not only for interior finishing works, but also for external cladding of buildings.
Since an artificial stone is the result of technical progress, it also has certain characteristics and standards for the composition of the product, which are used to judge its quality and professional suitability. And there are always deviations from any norms and standards. So in the case of artificial stone - despite the fact that they have common components and their proportions are approved by various standards, there are natural technical deviations from these standards that affect the quality of the manufactured product in particular and the final result of finishing in general.