It has become very popular for many homeowners to transform their family room or living room fireplaces into more of a work of art. Many of the newer homes built today come with what can only be termed as a fake-looking fireplace. Often, you will find the mantles resemble plastic with 12” tiles wrapped around the firebox just below it, actually glued to the drywall that is behind the tile. The hearth is often the same as the tile on the fireplace, and is glued to the concrete floor.
At Mcfall Masonry, we have transformed many of these fireplaces with stone or brick, new mantles, and a change to the hearth. The hearth often may be raised above the height of the floor to add dimension to your room. When considering a new mantle, you can search online for companies that mass-produce mantles with real wood that is lightweight, inexpensive, and easily installed. You can also choose to use one solid piece of a cedar-type mantle, which is very rustic looking.
When it comes to older fireplaces that already have brick on the wall of the fireplace, we often change the look completely by adding stone over the brick. We do all of this mostly with fabricated stone, sometimes referred to as faux stone, veneer stone, cultured stone, or imitation stone. It’s a cement product manufactured to look like real stone, and it certainly does. Almost 100% of commercial buildings from industry buildings, shopping centers, restaurants etc., are veneered with fabricated stone. This type of stone is lightweight and cost-effective to install, due to the fact that we can install this type of stone much faster. The cost of fabricated stone is about the same as real stone, but installation time is cut in half.
Fabricated stone had its start in the 1970s, being used to prevent serious injury when pieces of stone fell off of walls. Mcfall Masonry’s website has many pictures of this type of stone, including two McDonald’s franchise locations.
Historically, the hearth had a function, while today it’s more for cosmetic purposes. It simply looks more correct to have a hearth in front of the fireplace. At one time, during the 1800s for example, floors were made of wood. Fireplaces rarely had screens in front of the fireboxes, so a spark shooting onto the floor could have caused the house to burn down.
When considering using fabricated stone, it’s wise to do some homework on your own of visiting websites, checking out galleries, or visiting showrooms. Mcfall Masonry suggests looking at Cultured Stone, Lone Star Stone, and Coronado Stone. All three of these companies are reputable and have great user-friendly websites. Cultured Stone and Coronado Stone are two of the original stone companies, having been around since the 1970s. Coronado Stone has a nice showroom in Carrollton that is open to the public Monday-Friday during regular business hours.
If the homeowner is involved in a major remodel such as changing from carpeted floors to wood floors, it is wise to install the stone first to prevent any scratching of the wood. McFall Masonry takes great care when working with a wood floor, but definitely advises to have the stone installed first whenever possible.