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What is the best stone for a fireplace surround?

July 03, 2024   |   By

Selecting a stone fireplace surround is a big decision, as your choice of stone can impact your living space’s overall aesthetic and functionality. With multiple options available for stone fireplaces, it’s essential to take your time and consider your lifestyle, design tastes, and budget. Stunning fireplaces start with the right materials, and this article aims to help you choose a stone that meets your preferences.

Natural stone fireplace with log burner in a country home living room.

Top Considerations When Choosing a Fireplace Surround

Among all the exquisite stones for fireplace surrounds, how can you single out the best material for your home? Consider the following key factors:

  • Compatibility: Assess how well the stone complements your existing design aesthetic. Choose a stone fireplace surround that integrates with your décor while adding personality to your space.
  • Heat efficiency: Evaluate the stone’s ability to absorb and distribute heat efficiently — after all, your fireplace’s job is to make your space cosy! All our stone options below have excellent heat retention properties, making them well-suited for fireplace surrounds. 
  • Maintenance: Consider the upkeep required to preserve the stone. Some materials are softer and more porous, while others boast durability — but if you don’t mind natural wear and tear, this factor might matter less.
  • Budget: Determine the cost-effectiveness of each stone option. At Stamford Stone, our experts tailor projects to meet homeowners’ needs — from classic designs to hand-carved, bespoke fireplaces.
  • Sustainability: While natural stone comes from the Earth, it’s important to source from quarries adhering to sustainable practices.

Now, let’s look at some popular options for stone fireplaces.

Marble

Elegant and luxurious, marble makes a statement the moment you enter a room. Its natural veining — a result of limestone crystallising deep within Earth’s crust — adds sophistication to any space. 

Despite its opulent appearance, marble leans toward the softer side, registering around 3-4 on the Mohs hardness scale. This characteristic makes it easier for artisans to carve intricate designs into the surface while maintaining a high-gloss finish — perfect for anyone who prefers a more intricate fireplace surround. However, marble’s softer nature also renders it susceptible to scratches and stains.

With marble’s unique veins and swirls, no two designs are alike — although it can be relatively expensive compared to alternative stone fireplace surround options.

Granite

Formed from magma cooling deep beneath the earth’s surface, granite has a grainy appearance resulting from the combination of feldspar, quartz, and mica. Scoring 6-7 on the Mohs hardness scale, granite is renowned for its rugged durability and heat resistance. 

Additionally, granite is highly resistant to staining and effortless to maintain, making it an ideal option for high-traffic living spaces.

While granite isn’t as easily customisable as marble, it comes in various colours and patterns to suit every taste. Whether you like the dramatic allure of black granite or the understated elegance of lighter shades, granite provides versatile options for any design scheme.

Natural stone fireplace against a white wall with a warm fire glowing inside.

Limestone

Limestone exudes a warm, rustic elegance that complements both traditional and contemporary interiors. Its subtle variations in colour and texture give limestone fireplace surrounds a unique character that improves with age. While limestone is relatively soft compared to other stones, its natural charm and understated beauty make it a popular choice for bespoke fireplaces.

As a sedimentary rock, limestone forms over millions of years from compressed layers of marine life, such as shells and coral. Calcium carbonate gives limestone its distinctive characteristics, with each stone featuring unique hues, patterns, and textures. If you love creamy shades of beige, gold, and blue-grey, limestone might be your perfect match.

Limestone registers around 3 on the Mohs scale, making it a softer stone that lends itself to carving and shaping. To preserve its natural beauty, homeowners should seal it properly and care for it with limestone cleaner.

Micro Marble

Micro marble, an engineered alternative to natural marble, offers a man made option for fireplace surrounds. Manufacturing micro marble involves crushing and melding leftover pieces of marble with resin and binders — resulting in a solid slab that looks similar to natural marble.

While micro marble lacks the natural veining of marble, it appeals to those who like a uniform appearance and low maintenance and is an option for those on a budget. 

Although micro marble may be sourced from various locations, production occurs in specialised facilities. As an affordable option for fireplace surrounds, micro marble may be a great choice for those who love the look of marble but want a cheaper alternative.

Decorative natural stone fireplace surrounds in a stylish showroom.

Which Stone Fireplace Surround Is Best for You?

The choice of stones for fireplace surrounds largely depends on preference and budgetary considerations. Whether you prefer marble’s timeless elegance or limestone’s warmth and natural glow, you can’t go wrong with any of the options above. 

Our recommendation? Stop by our showroom to see some of your options in person. We offer a range of stone fireplaces to elevate any living space. By evaluating factors such as compatibility with existing décor, maintenance requirements, and personal preferences, you can ensure your fireplace surround enhances the beauty of your home and provides lasting enjoyment.