Fireplaces provide a home with light, warmth, and a place to cook family meals. The hearth of a fireplace adds aesthetic appeal to the fireplace, serving as its visual centrepiece. It adds a cozy ambiance to any room in the house or outdoor living space.
What is a hearth?
- A hearth is a fireplace floor lined with bricks, stones, or other noncombustible substance.
- It is historically used for cooking and heating homes.
- Fireplace hearths are mainly found in the decorative fireplace of a main living room, although some are used to supplement home heating systems.
What types of hearths are available?
Different types of hearths can change the look and feel of the room they are in.
- Flush: One that is flat, or possibly raised slightly off of ground level. This type takes up little space.
- Mixed layer: A mixed layer hearth adds variety to the design of the fireplace by adding at least one layer. Openings in the layers may provide storage space for wood or fire starters.
- Raised: One that sits above ground level and is used when the fireplace is not placed flush with the flooring.
- Fireside seating: This is a hearth that is often built at bench height with enough width for people to sit comfortably.
What materials are used in building a fireplace hearth?
- Stone: There are many types of stone available for use in a fireplace. Limestone and slate are soft stones and are used in gas or electric fireplaces. Granite, marble, and soapstone are resistant to high heat and come in a variety of colours to match any room decor.
- Brick: Brick is a traditional hearth material that is durable and resistant to heat. Brick often comes in decorative patterns.
- Metal: Metal hearth pads are available for those who use a wood-burning stove as supplemental heating. These are available as plain metal or with tile inlays. In a fireplace, a metal grate can be used to hold the wood as it burns, with a metal tray beneath it to catch the ashes.
- Tile: Tile is naturally fireproof, making it suitable as a fireplace hearth material. It comes in various sizes, colours, and patterns, making for endless combinations of hearth designs.
- Cement/Concrete: Cement or concrete fireplace hearths are poured directly onto a prepared surface in front of or under the fireplace. These materials offer a fireproof surface on which decorative tile may be placed.