Stone Fireplace – Old Style Decorating For Any New Home

Stone FireplaceOne hundred ago the fireplace was a standard feature in most homes. It not only heated the interior, it also was used for cooking, boiling water, and other house hold functions. Today a stone fireplace is an extra that is treasured for its charm more than its function. Although the modern hearth can be a heat source, its real value comes from the warm atmosphere it creates.

Architects and interior designers have had a love affair with the fireplace for decades. There are countless styles which range from small cozy heaths inspired by 17th century designs to sleek modern structures that incorporate cabinets and shelves. Stone masons are experts in building and reconstructing these interior fire pits in almost any home. Always seek out experts that fully understand the structural elements so it will be safe and beautiful.

An interior fireplace is made of up of several parts. It’s important to maintain and be aware for the interior elements of your fireplace as well as the decorative exterior. Let’s take a look starting at the bottom and move to the top.

1. Foundation – also called a footing is built under the fireplace floor and is separate from the building’s foundation.

2. Ash pit/Ash box – This optional feature is a hollow space under the fireplace floor where ashes can be swept into and later emptied.

3. Inner Hearth - This is the fireplace floor where the fire burns. (The term hearth can refer to the fireplace floor as well as the fireplace interior.

4. Outer Hearth - Now the terms can get confusing. The outer heath refers to the floor in front of the firebox.

5. Firebox- (sometimes referred to as the hearth) This is the surfaces and openings around the fire.

6. Fireplace facade - This is the decorative front that dresses up the fire box. Facades can be simple or ornate.

7. Mantle - Although technically this is the top or shelf of the fireplace facade, it is more commonly thought of as the place for trophies, knick-knacks and Christmas stockings.

8. Smoke shelf - This interior shelf redirects air currents that move through the chimney.

9. Damper and Lintel - Metal parts that control heat and smoke.

10. Smoke Chamber - This is the passageway between the fire box and the flue.

11. Flue - The flue is the vertical opening in the chimney which connects to the smoke chamber. The structure of the flue creates a draft and allows for a discharge of smoke, so the smoke is drawn up and out and does not flow into the house.

12. Chimney – Modern heating systems are more efficient than fireplaces; however there are design options which can increase its heating capabilities. Internal fans and special heat pipes can redirect the fire’s warmth into the room so you lose less heat up the chimney. If you want the fire but not the ashes, consider a clean, gas fireplace.

Although the interior design elements are somewhat uniform, the stone fireplace fa├žade and mantel can be built from a wide variety of materials including natural stone, decorative terra cotta lattice, tile, imprinted concrete, rounded stone, and brick. Modern fireplaces can work with any interior and add beauty to any home.

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