Stone is a lovely natural product that is quarried and has been used for fire surrounds for centuries. Stone fireplace have unique characteristics of random pattern and texture. The material surface is usually matt in texture and very resistant to high temperatures. Stone’s unique properties makes it an ideal material to use in fire surrounds.

Stone Fireplace surrounds the 2 types :

(1)    Solid Stone (either Sandstone, Granite, Marble or Limestone ) (2)    Pre-Fabricated casts from reconstituted stone When fitted, it is virtually impossible to differentiate the difference between a solid stone fireplace and a pre-fabricated cast stone fireplace. There are obviously different spectrums of quality within pre-fabricated stone, and the higher grade products (most common) are lovely to look at. The same applies for micro Marble Fireplaces, which are virtually identical to natural stone Marble Fireplaces.

The main differences between solid stone fireplaces and pre-fabricated / conglomerates

1. Stone fireplaces are made from large sections of solid material, and can hence be carved for this reason. Pre-fabricated cast stone fireplaces are frequently cast in a mould and are hence much lighter in weight. However there are several firms which manufacture pre-fabricated (artificial) stone slabs which are used for fire surrounds. When such slabs are used the entire fire surround is manufactured in the same thickness as a conventional stone fireplace. Micro marble and natural marble fire surrounds are both manufactured from 20mm sheets of marble, and both products are identical for this reason visually. Limestone Fireplaces must be 100% natural there is no reconstituted stone technology available to replicate the unique texture found in this natural stone. 2. Natural stone fireplaces have unique grain and colouration not obtainable in cast product. However, it is important to note that micro marble has unique random patterning, and many consumers will not be able to differentiate it from its 100% natural alternative. 3. Reconstituted and Pre-fabricated cast stone fireplaces are cheaper by approximately 30% or higher. 4. As Reconstituted and Pre-fabricated cast stone tends to be lighter than 100% natural products, it is not suitable for solid fuel/ open Fires (burning coal and logs). Essentially all reconstituted stone is bonded together with some derivative of resin which is not heat resistant. 5. It is often not possible to carve reconstituted stone, and hence solid stone fireplaces are available in unique designs that are not available in pre-fabricated alternatives.

Conclusion

If you want to add value to your home, investing in either a solid stone fireplace or a reconstituted and pre-fabricated is a wise decision. Solid 100% natural fireplaces have not been proven to increase property value more than any reconstituted alternative of the same quality, and hence the decision steams down to personal preferences.