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Fireplace Hearth: The Definitive Guide

The hearth is generally referred to as the floor of the fireplace That extends to the room and paved with bricks and sometimes with cement.

These fireplace hearths are part of our homes since men had been making the rooms and walls.

Do you know what?

In ancient times hearth is referred to as the place where the fire burned for heating. But as time changed the meaning of the hearth also change.

Nowadays,

The hearth is a term that means a place that is in front of the fireplace opening. Though the hearth may change as time passed but the purpose of the hearth is still the same.

Now,

You must be thinking that if the hearth is not the fireplace anymore then why do you need it.

Isn’t it so?

Or maybe you are thinking that hearth is essential for the proper functioning of your fireplace or not.

And, also you all are thinking that whether they are worth having or not.

Are these questions in your mind?

Well, yes they are definitely worth having because you are going to love the idea that how much hearth enhances the overall look of your fireplace.

The cherry on the top,

It also keeps your property safe. But what exactly these fireplace hearth is? In this article, I am going to answer this question and many more.

So folks, are you with me?

What Is A Fireplace Hearth?Fireplace Hearth1

You can say that the fireplace hearth is a fundamental part of your fireplace that keeps both you and your property safe.

They are generally brick, can be a stone, a marble, or maybe a cement slab that lies in Infront of your fireplace. These hearths are made up of non-ignitable material.

Do you know what does it mean?

That means bow matter how much heat or temperature it faces, it would not flame out.

Additionally,

The hearth is capable of protecting the floor of your home from radiant heat, sparks also flying embers, and burning logs. All these can roll out the floor in a fraction of a second.

Although,

The main reason for making the hearth is to protect the floor of the house or can be said that adding the layer of protection.

Nevertheless,

You can also the hearth to keep the fireplace tools and also as an ash bucket. In old times the hearth is made big enough so that the whole family could cuddle up and stay warm.

Side by side,

People of earlier times used to cook food on the fireplace so they keep the pots and other kitchen equipment in the hearth.

In today’s world, you can do this obviously, but still, at least you can decorate it by using the fireplace candles, hearth rugs, and whatnot.

Are you still with me?  

Why Do You Need A Hearth?Hearth

There are many reasons for which you need a fireplace hearth but the most important one is that of safety.

We know that when there are combustible materials all around the fireplace then we cannot let the flame open as it is hazardous to those materials.

So the fire should be on something that is fire resistant and doesn’t crack or abolish when introducing to the fire.

That’s why companies started making hearths so that they can help us in preventing our things from the adverse effect.

There is part of hearth that is called hearth extension that has a purpose too.

Do you know what is?

This part is put on the area where it can catch ember and ashes also other combustible materials so it cannot catch the fire coming out of the fireplace.

Additionally,

They are also used as a decorative material, it helps your fireplace to look perfect and complete. And it also helps in keeping a safe distance from the fireplace so that nothing can burns.    

Now, we are going to have a look at the different materials from which the hearth is made of.

Let’s dig into it!      

What Is A Fireplace Hearth Made Of?Fireplace Hearth Made

In ancient times the hearth was only made with bricks. But it was only when it came to leg work or you can say that when it came to cooking.

In today’s world, to make the fireplace aesthetic different types of materials are used and these are as varied as the owner of the place.

Sounds interesting, want to know more?

It makes a strong design statement that what kind of material you are using to surround the fireplace.

Because at the end the selection of material is going to reflect the uniqueness of your personality.

Do you know what is interesting?

You can go from sleek and modern material for your hearth to classic and traditional one.

It totally depends on your choice and the good thing is that you find a variety of options according to your choice out in the market.

Additionally,

Marble, slate, neolith, granite, and soapstone are some of the materials that you can use to make the hearth for your firestone.

Also,

The main focus while selecting the material to make the hearth for the fireplace is that the material must be non-combustible.

We are going to discuss the most durable and heat resistive stones that you can use as a material for the hearth.

Limestone:

Out of the materials that you can use for making the hearth limestone is the most beautiful and affordable one.

The specialty of this one is that they are highly heated resistive and are capable of observing the heat without having any kind of crack in it.

The feature that makes them a good choice to use as the hearth material is that they do not easily get damaged by falling and ash or ember.

As well as,

Hearths that are made up of limestones are quite robust and do not damage easily that is a guarantee.

You will see if you use it as a heart then they are also resilient to the scratches and all and don’t face much impact on the exposure of heat.

Another astonishing feature of these limestone hearths is that they are the most durable among all and can last for years and years.

You can invest in the hearths made up of limestone with literally zero doubts.  Limestone has the ability that you can easily carve them into the shape of your choice.

Do you know what does it mean?

It means that you can customize the hearths of limestone according to the fireplace.

Also,

The hearths that are made up of the limestones catch the eye and available in both modern and traditional colors of cream and grey-blue.  

So if you are planning to make a hearth of limestone then it would not be a bad choice.

Slate:

 When you are choosing the material to make the hearth you should keep in mind how much work it takes to keep that in a good condition.

A dirty hearth is definitely looking attractive and ruins the beauty of your room that a fireplace brings to your room.

So select a one that is easy to maintain. Slate is one of the natural stone and is easy to clean as compared to those man-made stones.

One of the shortcomings of slate is that the hearth made up of it is not scratch resistant.

It is also important to get your fireplace a hearth that is according to the looks of your home. If you select something too much it automatically demolishes the aesthetic look of your fireplace.

Choosing a hearth that is clashing with the surroundings of the fireplace may ruin the beauty of your room.

Slate is a great choice when you want to give your fireplace a dull look. Slate is a non-combustible material that means the fireplace hearths made up of slate are fireproof and so are durable.

However, if it is used under the wood fire then it might crack so it is advisable to use the slate under the gas or electric fire.

Granite:

Using the granite as the heart is representing the personality of the homeowner as it is considered as the bold option.

A hearth should be subtle so does its surroundings are so that other elements of the room also be complimented.

When it comes to durability and strength there is nothing like granite that means the hearth made up of the granite is unmatchable.

Unlike other natural stones which become discolored when we use them for a long period granite remains the same.

We always encourage that if you need to update your fireplace then use granite as the hearth material you would not be disappointed.

The available color options for the hearth are limitless you can use the colors that make your fireplace look modern.

As well, you can also select such colors that keep the tradition alive. You can use granite hearth anywhere with the wood fire, gas fire, and also with electric fire.

They are heat resistive and there is no impact on them when imposed on the strong heat.

Though these are expensive than limestone and slate one of the advantages of using them as fireplace hearths are that you can polish them as it starts fading.

As granite is an ingenious rock that means they are thick and strong we highly recommend this one.

Marble:

Marble is a man-made stone and can be used as fireplace hearths. These are one of the widely used materials cause they are very resistant to fire.

Marble is famous for its luxurious appearance and quality people these days are choosing them to make the hearth.

If you want to add the impression of contentment in your room then marble is going to be the best option.

As we all know the fireplace is the focal point of your room or the living room so choosing marble as the material of your hearth will add a sophisticated look to your room.

Another benefit of using marble as a hearth is that they are easy to maintain and clean. They are cleaned with a damp cloth.

Also, as the marble is strong and sturdy so they are highly durable and has almost zero effect when introducing to heat.

They have the ability to match the design of any house like no matter your home is of Greek-style or of French style these marble hearths will always going to rock.

So if you are looking at something that gives you an awesome visual representation then marble is an excellent choice.

Sandstone:

Last but of course not least we are going to talk about another natural stone that you can use to make the fireplace hearths and that’s sandstone.

Sandstone is one of the most frequently used sedimentary rock that is available in black and grey color.

Hearth made up of these are sleek, elegant, and modern looking. Sandstone is also a non-combustion stone and is dense which means more and more heat is required to penetrate through it.

Sandstone is the best option for those who are looking to make its natural surroundings.

You can keep the traditional look while using the sandstone because the grey colors give us traditional vibes.

This a naturally beautiful stone that will help you in maintaining the traditional aesthetic look.

Though these are used to make fireplace hearths but not so many people choose them as they provide a dull appearance.

Unlike other stones that are made to give contemporary look, sandstones give your look a cozy traditional look.

They are highly durable and strong and you would not be amazed by reading this they can last for a long period of time sometimes for decades.

What Size Is A Fireplace Hearth?Size Is A Fireplace Hearth

There is no such typical size of the hearth it totally depends on the owner of the home which size is perfect for the fireplace.

But still, there are guidelines and recommendations that you need to look at before getting one so there is no problem in the future.

So what I exactly want to say is,

If you want to create a warm and inviting heart then my recommendation is to install and classy aesthetic hearth to your fireplace.

Let me tell you again briefly,

The hearth is a slab or a pad-like thing that you insert on the fireplace as you know it already. And the hearth extension is the part of the hearth the is placed in the room at the opening of the fireplace.

What is the catch?

Well, no matter that of what material of stone is made of it must be large enough that it protects the combustible material around the fireplace.

Also,

It must be large enough so that it can protect the wood framing of the fireplace as well as protect the floor of your house causes sometimes extra heat to effects the flooring of the room.

Do you want to know more about the size of the hearth? Let’s dig in,

Hearth Interior:

Your fireplace hearths must be started from the interior of the fireplace. As I mentioned in the previous sections that your hearth for the fireplace can be made up of any material.

It can be made up of brick, slate, granite, and limestone as well there are many other materials of which it can be made of.

The size of the hearth is basically dependent on the overall size of the fireplace. If you are planning a new fireplace and hearth exclusively to assist then the size of the insert is dependent on the size of the insert.

Make sure that the depth of the interior and width of the hearth coincide with these of the insert.

Hearth Extension:

No matter what is the size of the insert or that of your firebox, always plan to extend the hearth inside the room cause it is necessary.

Do you know the reason?

Because according to the national building protocols the heart extensions are specifically for protecting the floor of your room from the excessive amount of heat.

Do you know what hearth extension exactly is?

It is the portions of your hearth that is extended toward the room and is the most visible portion of the fireplace hearth.

This portion is normally covered with the help of ornamental stone that looks phenomenal.

To protect the flooring from the effect of heat the hearth must be extended a bare minimum of 16 inches from the flank of the firebox and a maximum of 8 inches from each opening of the firebox.

Thickness Of Hearth:

Some materials like concrete and masonry slabs take the smoldered out of the heat and that’s why your inserts are put out.

Therefore,

There must be a proper arrangement of protecting the framing of the subfloor from the damage of heat.

Do you know what the finished dimensions should be?

Well, if we talk about the overall and finished height and thickness of the hearth that is sitting in the lower area of your fireplace must be 4 inches.

However,

The thickness of the hearth extension should be 2 inches that would be enough. This thickness is okay with any kind of stone that you put underneath the insert and above the extension.

To get the appropriate and suitable finished height considers the normal thickness of the tiles that are 3/8  to ½ inches. Take these measurements into account and are all set.

Hearth Exceptions:

In the last, we are going to talk about the hearth exceptions we know that the inserts that we use in the fireplace comes in different sizes, shapes and so does the opening of the fireplace.

Isn’t it so?

So if you plan to install an insert that is 6 inches then according to the national building protocols the size of your fireplace must be at least 20 inches.

That’s from the front side and 12 inches from each opening of the firebox.

Are you clear about it now? Let me tell you a bit more,

If your fireplace is hotter than the temperature of 100-degree centigrade then the following size of the hearth is required.

  • Sometimes our fireplace is sitting on some kind of combustible material such as wood and all then hearth must have a thickness of 250mm.
  • But if your fireplace is placed on some kind of non-combustible material such as concrete then the thickness should be at a minimum of 250mm.  

The thickness of the fireplace should be appropriate and to make it appropriate you need to take the temperature of your fireplace in the matter.

Can You Paint A Fireplace Hearth?

Paint A Fireplace Hearth

As we discussed in the prior sections of this article the fireplace is the pivotal point of our houses.

So we need to maintain that point as much as we can cause if it is not maintained then it would not catches the eye.

As we know that some of the materials that are used in the making of hearth become decolored after the usage of some time.

So the answer to this question is that yes you can paint a fireplace hearth but you need to follow different steps.

Firstly, you have to protect the fireplace during the procedure of painting and the best method of protecting it is to drop the cloth over it.

Secondly, then you have to prime your hearth by priming it means that you need to get rid of any kind of stain and grain that your hearth has.

It can be done by using a soapy water solution and a clean cloth.

Last, once you are done with all that cleaning process then you have to pick an elegant color for the hearth.

An easy way to select the color is to look at the furniture around the fireplace and then choose according to it.

Conclusion!

So we can conclude it by saying this if you want to protect yourself and the property as well you should definitely use fireplace hearths.

Because man they are indeed the life savior as well as they are going to help you to make the atmosphere of the room cozier.