The hearth decorates any house. It is always nice to wrap yourself in a blanket, sitting in front of your fireplace, and enjoy the flashes of the flames of the hearth.
In modern interiors, decorative fireplaces made of stone are increasingly being installed, using artificial materials to simplify finishing work. After all, the use of natural stone obliges to create a foundation for the structure and carry out complex construction manipulations.
In this article, you will learn about the advantages of artificial stones, read the recommendations for choosing the right material and get all the information you need to finish the fireplace with your own hands. In the photographs you can clearly see the varieties of decorative stone finishes and finished lined fireplaces.
Advantages of decorative stones
Artificial stones are used for finishing electric and wood-burning fireplaces, gas structures, bio-fireplaces and fireplace stoves. Due to the achievement of maximum similarity of designs, the decoration of the fireplace with decorative stone complements the overall style of the interior.
Such facing stones have a number of advantages:
- high refractory performance;
- retain their natural color and appearance for a long time.
- convenience when decorating due to the lightness of the material;
- a variety of colors and textures allow you to select stones for fireplaces in the right style;
- low cost compared to natural stone;
- easy self-use, convenient cutting and stacking;
- does not emit harmful odors, as it refers to environmentally friendly materials, does not contain impurities and toxic reagents.
Artificial stone is made from cement with the addition of expanded clay, pumice or perlite fillers. Dyes are added to give the necessary colors to the material.
- Thanks to these technologies, artificial stones weigh about half as much as natural ones.
- At a low cost, the external texture of the material differs little from natural stones, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish them from each other.
- The appearance of the material repeats the natural shape of the cobblestones. They come in the form of chipped, sawn rubble stones.
According to individual orders of customers, completely unusual shapes and colors are made.
Recommendations for choosing a decorative stone
To clad a stone fireplace with your own hands, you need to purchase the appropriate materials.
Choosing a decorative stone from the whole variety, you should approach this issue creatively, decide in advance on the design style of your design. It is important to keep the following tips in mind:
- Do not chase the goods of foreign firms. Most often, Russian counterparts are of the best quality and at the same time have a low cost.
- Finishing the fireplace with stone is done using heat-resistant products. Before purchasing finishing stones, consider the heat-resistant characteristics, depending on the type of hearth used. If you decide to use non-heat-resistant decorative stones for cladding, then toxic substances may be released when heated.
- Familiarize yourself with the quality certificates for products, such documents will guarantee compliance with the specified parameters. If you are refused to provide certificates, this indicates the questionable quality of the product. It is possible that the production was carried out using harmful components.
- Purchase material from well-known manufacturing companies that have been working for a long time and have established themselves in this industry.
- Quality products on cardboard packaging have a brand logo and manufacturer’s coordinates.
- Before buying, pay attention to the appearance of the artificial stone, the presence of defects in the form of cracks or chips, as well as other signs of marriage, is unacceptable.
- Pay attention to the date of manufacture of the stone, since the process of hardening of the material is carried out within a month after release. Only after this time the material acquires its strength.
In addition to decorative stones, you will need to stock up
- heat-resistant glue;
- water-repellent impregnations with protective properties;
- a cleaner designed to remove cement residues from the surface;
- specialized varnish for surface cladding, creating the effect of wet stone.
For lining the fireplace, a special adhesive composition is used. It must be chosen taking into account the main surface: a high-quality connection can only be in the case when the composition of the decorative stone coincides with the base of the adhesive.
- For example, gypsum decorative stone is glued together with gypsum glue, while cement stone requires a cement adhesive.
Moreover, if the main surface has depressions, then mastic is used. She can fill in all the imperfections with high quality.
Preparatory work before cladding
After choosing the facing material, you can proceed to the preparatory work. For preliminary preparation, decide on the surface on which you will lay the artificial stone.
- These works can be carried out only at an air temperature of more than 50C, since low temperatures affect the quality of bonding surfaces.
To prevent contamination of the elements, the stone should be faced from top to bottom. Thus, the work performed will have a neat and tidy appearance.
To cut artificial stone details, use a hacksaw with fine teeth, in which case the edge will be smooth and beautiful.
Construction recommendations of specialists
- When used as a basis for a wooden surface, it is pre-coated with waterproofing.
If the fireplace is made of metal or concrete, waterproofing is not performed.
Please note! In case of serious irregularities of the concrete or brick walls of the fireplace, it is necessary to apply plaster.
- A plaster mesh is attached to the base with special fasteners.
- Plaster is applied on top of the grid and the layer is completely dry.
If the thickness of the materials has discrepancies or the shape of the decorative stone has an uneven structure, then it is worth laying them in a chaotic manner. So the overall composition will look natural and believable.
Before carrying out construction work, prepare the appropriate tool:
In addition to the tools indicated in the photo, it is desirable to have:
- self-tapping screws or nails for mounting auxiliary materials;
- spray gun or brush for wetting the surface of the base before applying the adhesive;
- building trowels;
- hammer ordinary and rubber;
- grinder with a disk on a stone;
- screwdriver and drill;
- even wooden bars as guide racks;
- a container in which the solution is stirred.
Finishing the fireplace with a decorative stone is shown in the photo, we will analyze the main stages of facing work and focus on the important nuances of the process itself.
The entire base surface of the fireplace portal is cleaned. It is important to pay special attention to this, because the result of all work depends on the preparation of the foundation.
If the portal is brick, it is cleaned, removing excess mortar or uneven seams. With a sharp and durable metal object, make a recess in the seams between the bricks.
- If the main surface is uneven, it is leveled with plaster or cement mortar, applying it to the grid.
Before finishing work, make a drawing and lay out all the details on the floor. Before dry laying, try on one row and check the configuration.
- When using a tile that has an irregular shape, it is necessary to mark it from the wrong side, the numbers of neighboring parts are written on the edges.
It is important to know that the lined fireplace will turn out to be even if the finishing work begins with the strengthening of thick stones. They will become a guideline for applying glue under thin masonry details.
- When laying stone tiles, take them from different boxes to evenly distribute the pattern, as they may differ in color and thickness from each other.
If possible, make seams between tiles of the same width so that the pattern matches in the future.
If you want to veneer «under the brick» or using rectangular parts, follow the verticality of the corners. Accurately control the connection of horizontal and vertical planes, maintaining a 90 degree angle.
- To do this, you can use a special template on which the thickness of the seams and the intersection of perpendicular lines are marked.
The finishing process always starts from the bottom corner. After finishing the facing of the corner surface, they proceed to the upper horizontal row. Further, the main work is carried out, which is carried out from top to bottom.
- After finishing work, you need to withstand at least a day until the glue dries completely, then you can proceed to rubbing the seams.
Important! Pre-check the quality of the grout on the cut of the decorative stone — whether it leaves marks on it.
After the surface of the entire structure has dried, it is treated with a special fire-resistant hydrophobic composition. Thus, a protective film is created that does not allow moisture to pass through and preserves the decorative stone during deformation or external impact on the fireplace. Dust is easily removed from such a surface. Also, the protective film preserves the structure of the artificial stone during temperature changes.
It is desirable to trim the front and side of the portal with a decorative stone. For the upper part, choose solid planes from ready-made slabs made of natural or artificial stone.
DIY decorative stones
Having little experience in construction work, you can independently make facing stones of the required size and color.
To do this, use silicone molds into which a solution of cement, sand and dyes is poured.
In accordance with some technologies, the cement mixture is replaced by alabaster. At the same time, all the constituent components are immediately mixed, diluted with water to the required consistency and poured into molds.
In the forms, the material must completely harden, only then can it be used to decorate the fireplace.
Finishing the fireplace with decorative stones is available for any person. At first glance, it seems that this is very difficult and time-consuming, although it is not. If something doesn’t work out for you in the process, remember that you can always redo it.
The main thing is to choose the right parts and be creative in the process, following the recommendations. In this case, the fireplace will fill the beauty and charm of the hearth, while delighting your entire family for many years.