Fireplaces are the heart of every home, and the focus of every room they are installed in. Because of this, many people choose to decorate their fireplace with natural stone to help give it a substantial and luxurious appearance. What many people may not realize is that there are a few different ways that natural stone can be used on the fireplace. The two most common of which are the surround and the mantel.
Stone fireplace surrounds are the decorative, flat area just around the firebox. They may be done in tiles or in slab, and the surround may extend all the way to the ceiling above the firebox. A mantel may be installed on top of the surround, but it doesn’t have to be.
In fact, in many modern fireplaces, no mantel is used and the surround alone gives all the decorative appearance to the area.
Stone mantels may be combined with a stone surround, or they may be used by themselves. The mantel is the portion that goes outside the surround, typically including a shelf above the firebox for decorative items to rest on. Stone mantels may be carved or precast; some may also be made of large slabs of stone that have been given a rustic edge treatment. Often times if the mantel is very wide and decorative, it can extend right to the firebox itself, taking the place of the surround as well. This can’t be done using wood, but because natural stone is fireproof, this can be a highly decorative and eye catching way to finish the fireplace in a room.
Both stone surrounds and stone mantels can make beautiful, decorative exteriors for a fireplace. Using a stone surround provides more decorative options, while using a mantel often makes the greater statement. Consider making stone the material of choice for a fireplace design to see how many options are available.