10 Things to consider before installing a cosy fireplace

There's nothing more festive than a real log fire burning in the grate of a fireplace. However, many homes have had their fireplaces removed over the years and no longer have that cosy Christmassy feel. So, if you fancy reinstating your fireplace this winter, here are some facts to consider...

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Images by Melanie Lissack Interiors

I personally love a real fire. I can watch it for hours and love the instant cosy ambience it provides. However, in my current home, the fireplace was covered up long ago and is no longer used. In fact, I have a mid-century sideboard along the wall where the fireplace would have once been and I hadn’t considered opening it up again – until the weather got really cold this month, haha!

But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible to reinstate a fireplace with a little work. In fact, adding a traditional fire surround helps to bring character to the room and, if you source one from the correct period for your home, this authentic restoration project can even add value to your property.

If you are considering adding a fireplace to your home, there are a few things you should know before making your purchase. Fireplaces come in a variety of styles and colours, so you can find one that will match the look of your home. They are also very sturdy and durable, which makes them a good choice for homes with children or pets. Below are 10 things you should know about marble fireplaces before making your decision…

I’ve previously shared a home tour of Melanie Lissack’s period property on my blog and I love her traditional fireplace!

1. Marble is a type of limestone

It’s a metamorphic rock that is composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite, which is quarried from the earth. Marble forms when limestone is subjected to extreme heat and pressure, and it can be found in a variety of colours depending on the impurities that are present.

2. Marble comes in many colours

Marble is a natural stone that comes in many colours. It can be found in shades of white, black, green, and even pink. The most well-known variety of marble is called Carrara marble, which is white with grey/black bands. This will give you an impressive, grand effect in your living room and is extremely popular in contemporary interiors, too.

3. It is beautiful and durable

Marble is a popular choice for fireplace surrounds because it is beautiful and durable. It is important to choose a high-quality marble if you are considering this option, as lower-quality marbles can be porous and susceptible to staining. A well-maintained marble fireplace surround can last for many years with minimal upkeep, so will be value for money in the long run.

4. It can be polished to a high sheen, or left with a natural finish

Left with a natural finish, the veins and swirls of the marble will be highlighted. With a high sheen, the marble will be completely smooth with no variation in colour or texture. Which look you choose is up to you – both are beautiful options!

5. It is heat resistant

Marble is heat resistant and can be used safely for a fireplace. In fact, it’s one of the best materials to use for a fireplace surround because it doesn’t get too hot and won’t melt or catch fire. Marble also adds a touch of elegance to any room.

6. Marble will develop a patina over time

A patina will form over time on marble that will add to its beauty. It’s a natural process that occurs as the marble reacts with the elements in the environment. The patina will vary in colour and thickness depending on the climate and environment where it’s located. It just makes it look more authentic in your home – as if the fireplace has always been there.

7. Cleaning your fireplace is easy

If you want to clean your fireplace, use warm water and gentle soap. Test a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure that the marble doesn’t discolour or become damaged. Gently wash the fireplace with a soft cloth or sponge, using circular motions. Be sure to rinse the fireplace thoroughly with warm water to remove all the soap afterwards.

8. It is important to seal fireplace surrounds

Something you’ll need to do on a regular basis is to seal your fireplace surrounds. This helps to protect them from staining and etching. Etching is the process of removing a thin layer of the surface of the stone, and it can be caused by acids present in soot, smoke, or creosote. 

9. You can use a variety of fuel sources in a fireplace, including wood, gas, or electric

Gas is the most popular choice because it is efficient and easy to use, while electric fireplaces are becoming more popular because they are very quiet and don’t produce any smoke or fumes. Wood is a less common choice but it can be cheaper than gas and some people prefer the smell of wood burning and the light from the flames.

10. Clean the flue at least once a year

If you are using your fireplace regularly, you will need to clean the flue at least once a year in order to ensure that it continues to function safely and correctly. Failure to do so can lead to a build-up of soot and creosote, both of which can be highly flammable.

So, what do you think? Will you consider adding a fireplace in your home this winter? It can help to create a cosy room during the colder months and looks really pretty as a festive feature. Where else will you hang your Christmas stockings, eh?? Let me know in the comments below if you’ve already installed a fireplace, I would love to hear your experiences and what you enjoy about having a real fire in your living space.

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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