Materials to Choose for Fireplace Mantels and Surrounds

When you pick a good style and material for your facing or fireplace surround and mantel, your room makes a robust style statement. Whether you choose an insert, a pre-designed model or a conventional masonry fireplace, you can give it character with the help of hearth, mantel and facing. Whether it is a basic option such as a plain mantel or a complete hearth, stone mantel and surround combination, there are many options that you can choose from.
fireplace mantels and surrounds
Fireplace Mantels and Surrounds
A mantel is nothing but a decorative frame which is around the facing and fireplace. The mantel shelf is the ledge over the firebox and the legs are the vertical pieces on each of the side of the firebox. In some cases, a panel over the shelf or the over-mantel is part of the entire design. The frame all around the firebox is the surround, which is sometimes also referred to the “Filler Panel” and it should be made of a noncombustible material. On-site or custom-built options are the best choices, when you need unique fireplace mantels and surrounds customized to your room. For a price, you can get full freedom in choosing your designs and materials.

In most cases, you have to select separate materials for the facing and mantel. You can choose the mantel in the following types of noncombustible materials.

Stone
Stone facings, fireplace mantels and surrounds have a timeless appeal and are almost indestructible. A mason has to construct a natural rock surround on-site. There is another option in the form of cultured stone surround, which lets you get a veneer or natural rock appearance but only with a fourth of the weight of an actual stone surround.

If you need a modern look, go for a custom mantel made of:
  • Limestone
  • Granite
  • Slate
  • Marble
These are costly but elegant. Machine-carved mantels of imported quality and marble construction are the least expensive among carved varieties. The most luxurious ones are the hand-carved varieties.
fireplace mantels and surrounds
Fireplace Mantels and Surrounds
Metal
Metal fireplace mantels and surrounds can be sleek modern pieces or a throwback to classical varieties. There are mantels made of cast-bronze metal and styled in Victorian way, consisting of a verdigris or hand-rubbed golden finish. There are latest styles such as stainless steel tiles or rolled steel surrounds, that can be designed in a tailor-made fashion.

Tile and Brick
Tile is versatile and those made of ceramic or stone come in a wide range of styles, colors and finishes. There are blue and white Delft surfaces, ceramics with pebble-like surface and granite squares with sleek polish, that look amazing. You can set up tiles only as a wide facing without the mantel shelf or the adjoining mantel, to get a more contemporary appearance. You can also implement a tile facing inside a complete mantel surround. Based on the color and type of bricks you are using; you can produce a wide variety of looks.
fireplace mantels and surrounds
Fireplace Mantels and Surrounds
Concrete
You can create unique custom designs and appearances with the help of precast concrete mantels. These come with different types of finishes such as:
  • Acid-washed
  • Smooth
  • Sandblasted
These are also available in a wide range of colors. Concrete mantels come in modules or in one piece. Due to glass fiber reinforcing, these happen to be light in weight.

Plaster
Plaster fireplace mantels and surrounds are poured in molds and the finish is super-smooth. As compared to the majority of carved wood varieties, these come with complex detailing. In order to match the mantel with your overall room d├ęcor, you may have the plaster painted. Glass fiber–reinforced gypsum, similar to plaster, provides decorative detailing possible through casting in molds.

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