Outdoor Stone Fireplace: Select the Right Materials Outdoor Stone Fireplace: Select the Right Materials
Adding an outdoor stone fireplace as a focal point to your outdoor living space is a great way to extend the amount of time you can entertain outdoors before winter brings you back inside.
Choosing the Right Stone
There are so many different styles of outdoor stone fireplaces to choose from. Selecting the right materials for your fireplace is going to be your most important decision making process. You can do some research online to get an idea of what some of the different types of stone look like, but a visit to the landscape supply, or a local quarry is a good option to help you get a better look and feel for the different choices. Be sure about you want, once you decide and start building and grouting, you're stuck with the product you've decided on.
Some of the types of building products are natural stone, and cultured stone. Natural stone seems to be the most popular material used to build an outdoor fireplace. The selection of natural stone gives you so many different colors and sizes to choose from. Natural stone has been around since the beginning of time and is more expensive, harder and heavier to work with than cultured stone. Cultured stone can be cast into all sizes and shapes to emulate many types of stone surfaces. Their colors are typically more vibrant looking and durable than other types of stone products. Slate, granite, limestone and marble are also choices, but expensive ones. If your budget allows for this type of stone, it is the most beautiful choice.
Bringing the right stone into your outdoor living space should not be a quick decision. If at all possible, you should find a landscape company that has some stone fireplace samples to show you. It is difficult to look at a pallet of stone and visualize the final product. Especially when you've never worked with stone before. If you are getting some bids from companies that specialize in building outdoor store fireplaces, it would be good to see some pictures of their work and if the bidding process is at all competitive, it wouldn't be difficult to get them to show you a few of the actual fireplaces themselves. Ask for a discount for your finished fireplace to become a showplace for other customers of your builder.
Thoughts on Mortar
There are other materials involved with building a stone fireplace. There are compounds that "glue" the stones you've chosen together. This is called mortar and will come in different colors and also either fireproof or not. Some stones and mortar hold up to heat better than others. Your stone supplier, can help you decide on which mortar to use.