What Can I Use for a Fireplace Hearth?

What can I use for a fireplace hearth? The fireplace hearth plays a huge role in the aesthetics of your fireplace, but it’s also important for safety. Whether remodeling or installing a fireplace in your Nashville home, it’s important to select the right fireplace hearth for your space. 

In today’s guide, we will offer advice on choosing a fireplace hearth. 

What is a hearth?

The hearth is the floor of the fireplace, it’s what your fireplace sits on top of. Many times, people place the fire basket on top of the hearth, right below the chimney opening. The fireplace hearth often extends into the room slightly and is commonly made from brick or stone. 

What does the fireplace hearth do?

While fireplace hearths are part of the beauty of a fireplace, they serve a key safety function. Open flames from a fireplace pose a hazard for combustible materials. The fire hearth is a heat-resistant material that can withstand the fire without damage. 

The hearth extension, or the part that extends outward, will catch any ash or embers. By doing this, it protects the floor and the rest of your room from catching any combustible material. 

Lastly, the fireplace hearth is decorative. It completes the fireplace and is a key part of the beauty and charm of common Nashville fireplaces. 

Hearths for Solid Fuel Burning Fireplaces 

A hearth is a required safety feature for solid fuel-burning fireplaces. To protect your home from fire hazards, you must meet the requirements for heath size and more. 

The size of your fireplace will determine the size of the hearth that you need. Fireplaces less than 6 sq ft require a hearth that extends 16 inches out from your fireplace and 8 inches to the side. Fireplaces with openings larger than 6 sq feet need a hearth that extends 20 inches to the front and 12 inches to each side. 

You’ll also need to consider hearth thickness. If your fireplace generates less than 100 degrees celsius of heat, then you can use a 12mm thick hearth. 

However, if your fireplace gets hotter than 100°C, then you will need a 250 mm thick hearth on top of combustible floors. If the floor is non-combustible, the thickness of the floor and heart combined must equal at least 250 mm. 

Which types of fireplaces require a hearth?

While wood-burning fireplaces require a hearth because they use solid fuel, you may wonder, “do gas and electric fireplaces need a hearth?” 

Front gas fireplaces require a hearth. However, most electric fireplaces do not need the hearth. However, even when hearths are not required, they remain a popular stylistic choice. Hearths for gas and electric fireplaces provide distance in front of the hot metal or glass. Additionally, hearths provide a traditional look that many Nashville homeowners want even if they have a gas or electric fireplace. 

Fireplace Hearth Materials

Hearths can be made from many different materials, and the type of fire you have is an important consideration. Solid burning fireplaces have specifications for hearth material because they give off harsher heat. The top materials used for hearths include marble, granite, and slate. Here’s what you need to know about each type of fireplace hearth. 

Slate Hearths 

Slate is an alternative to granite that offers a darker look. You can use a natural deep grey slate or polish it for a glossy black finish. Slate looks incredible with electric and gas fireplaces, but it can be used for wood-burning ones as well. 

Marble Hearths 

Marble hearths can be used for some gas fireplaces and all-electric fireplaces. Micro marble is a common choice, and it’s a man-made stone created from crushed marble and resin. It’s strong and heat resistant like marble, but easier to maintain and clean. The drawback is that you won’t be able to use it with solid field or high-efficiency gas fireplaces. 

Granite Hearths 

Granite is a great material to use for solid fuel-burning fires. Granite must be slabbed, or cut into pieces and mounted in concrete, to be able to withstand the heat. Granite hearths are popular with Victorian style fireplaces. 

In addition to the three materials described above, hearths may also be made from:

  • Concrete 
  • Stone
  • Ceramic tiles
  • Slate
  • Quarry tiles 

Get Help with Your Fireplace Hearth 

If you still have questions about the fireplace hearth, your local Chimney and Masonry Outfitters of Nashville are here to help. We’re happy to help you find the best hearth for your fireplace and to answer your questions along the way. We also provide trusted fireplace, chimney, and masonry services that include hearth installation or repair. As your local experts, CMO has years of experience helping homeowners maintain, repair, and replace their fireplaces, chimney, and masonry structures. To learn more about how we can help you with your fireplace hearth, contact our dedicated team today at (615) 823-8268 or OFFICE@CMOUTFITTERS.COM.