Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fireplace Hearth Designs Extend the Beauty of a Fireplace

Upon walking in to any room, people will immediately notice the fireplace.  This is just the natural focal point when installed in a room and most people will design the remainder of the room around this feature.  One of the more common features of fireplaces are the fireplace hearth designs that are usually just an extension of the same materials used to build the fireplace.  Even though this is what is normally done, it does not have to be this way.

The hearth is the surface of the fireplace on which the fire is built.  It begins at the back of the firebox and extends out into the room a distance that is commonly determined by local building code requirements.  The materials used to construct the hearth inside the firebox are what is known as fire brick.  The hearth material used outside the firebox can be any material as long as it is fireproof.  This allows the fireplace hearth designs to be of an unlimited amount of materials that are just confined to your imagination.

While using the same material on the hearth as the surround may be the usual way to go to maintain symmetry with a raised hearth, a hearth on the same level as the floor makes it easier to choose a contrasting material to the surround.  Since the floor will already provide for a difference in the two materials, people tend to be more adventurous with their hearth choices on these fireplaces.  By being flexible in selecting this material, the opportunity to create a truly unique fireplace hearth design presents itself.

You should not let your selection be influenced by the material on the fireplace surround.  There are many materials that can be mixed and matched such as tile, slate, marble, granite, and of course, brick if that is your preference.  Just be sure that the material extends far enough out into the room to meet the minimum code requirements meant to keep any combustible flooring safe from sparks or run away logs.

Once the fireplace hearth designs material has been selected, you can now plan the overall appearance of your fireplace including tool sets, fireplace doors or a screen.  After all these items have been assembled, you will start to see how the fireplace develops into that uniquely beautiful focal point that every great room deserves.

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