Elegant Stone Fireplace Mantels: Contemporary Yet Classy Designs Elegant Stone Fireplace Mantels: Contemporary Yet Classy Designs

When you walk into homes that have stone fireplace mantels, you immediately get a sense of the quality and attention to detail of the owners. There's no question about it, fireplace mantels in stone are a statement in quality and craftsmanship. Whether you're looking for a rich manor design or a Greek seaside villa, there are stone fireplace mantels to suit every taste.

Types of Stone

Choose from basic or designer stone fireplace mantels, stacked stone, Greek or Italian mantels, thin-cast stone fireplace mantel, old world design, stone over-mantel or carved stone finish.

Custom mantels are also available. These include a mix and match of components for unique stone fireplace mantels, or you can have one built according to your specifications.

Manufacturers of stone fireplace mantels have various names for their designs, but the range is broad enough to cover every taste. Here are three generic names, to give an approximation of types of design.

  •    The Chateau series, for example, may include ornate Louis XV or classic Elizabethan design.
  •    The Estate collection will feature unique stone fireplace designs originally built for some of America’s finest homes.
  •    In the Villa series, you might expect to find simple, yet classic designs in stone’s natural beauty and elegance. These are better suited for smaller rooms, or as an additional fireplace.

Materials

Depending on the fireplace mantel manufacturer, different compositions of stone are used for various designs.

  •    Cast stone mantels generally consist of a cement mix and pulverized stone. Some manufacturers produce thin-cast stone mantels in one piece.
  •    Cast limestone mantels have a primary aggregate of crushed limestone, not silica sand. This permits the mantel manufacturer to wet-sand the mantel for the honed and filled look popular in the industry.
  •    Reinforced gypsum cement in some stone fireplace mantels has a compressive strength of 12,000 psi. Thin-cast versions come in sections, usually three pieces.
  •    Hand-carved fireplace mantels originate with natural stone – limestone or marble.

Options

Numerous options exist to customize your stone fireplace mantel. These include window and door surrounds, columns, address markers, custom signage, keystones, trim, coping and medallions.

You can also select a simple hearth or a mantel shelf.

Installation: Complex or Simple?

Depending on how heavy your stone mantel is and how many pieces it contains, you can expect the job to require two to three people. You may also need a forklift if the pieces were drop-shipped to your driveway. Each manufacturer will provide installation instructions – for the do-it-yourselfer or for your fireplace installation expert. Expect to do necessary prep work before installation, have all the appropriate tools and materials required, and allow sufficient time to get the job done.

Some stone fireplaces constructed of a hybrid mixture of gypsum, Portland cement, aggregate and crushed stone weigh between 200 to 400 pounds and installation can be carried out by two persons.

Solid stone mantels will probably require a couple of days to install. You’ll need to position the stone and then mortar it, according to manufacturer’s instructions.

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