Marble fireplace hearths are manufactured from sheets of 20mm thick marble, usually with a 30mm recessed section known as a riser. The riser is set back slightly and the horizontal edge is overhung to create the overall boxed and lipped effect. Marble is essentially a porous material, and can for that reason absorb liquids and stain if it is not looked after correctly. We find many homeowners with permanent stains (non removable) that result from candles left on the marble surface or potted plants left on the fireplace hearth. As marble is porous it will absorb any liquid (including dirty plant water or candle wax for example) and penetrate the sedimentary surface of the stone. Once a stain occurs, the only way to remove it is to have the entire surface re-polished. This effectively removes a layer of the marble and exposes a new surface that is unaffected. It is very difficult in practice to re-polish a fireplace hearth on site, and for this reason stains are often impossible to remove once they occur. More porous materials such as Limestone, or natural stone Fireplaces are even more porous and prone to staining.

Preventive method to prevent staining

We would strongly recommend all homeowners to always place candles or any such objects on suitable holders prior to placing them on any marble surface. It is not necessary to seal a marble surface constantly as would be required with stone hearths and limestone hearths, however basic care and attention is needed at all times.

Are any other materials better suited to fireplace hearths?

Natural Granite is a much better suited material to manufacture fireplace hearths than marble, as it is much more resistant to heat and also more stain resistant. It is important to note that Granite is only available in darker colours, such as “black granite” (which is very common), and not light creamy marble colours.  Limestone and natural stone are more prone to staining than marble fireplace hearths.