Whether made from natural stone, bricks, or cultured stone, nothing compares to the radiating heat and comforting glow of a masonry fireplace. There are, however, pros and cons to each masonry fireplace material. Because masonry fireplaces are the focal point of any interior space, and because they add significant value to the home, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each material.
Like natural stone, brick is a traditional fireplace material that many homeowners seek due to the sense of comfort and tradition it evokes. Brick is, however, not limited to a traditional look, as it is easily adaptable and even enhancing of more modern home designs. Brick typically requires little maintenance. Bricks are less expensive than natural stone, due to their availability and ease of installation. Often, more interesting or complicated designs and patterns are difficult to achieve with brick because of their uniform size, shape, and color.
Many homeowners prefer natural stone for its beauty and authenticity. Each stone is completely unique, and comes with its own natural history and geography. Natural stone is the oldest and most traditional fireplace building material. This is enough for some homeowners to look no further when it comes to an interior fireplace. Natural stone, because of its bulk, the labor intensiveness of its processing, and its transportation costs, can be costly. If the type of stone is not indigenous to your general area, you might be looking at an incredibly expensive project. In addition to cost, natural stone options are somewhat limited when compared to cultured stone. However, for those who will settle for nothing less than authentic natural beauty, natural stone is the only option.
If you want a similar look to natural stone, but don’t want the hefty price tag, cultured stone offers a solution. Cultured stone is a manufactured material made of cement, stone aggregate, and dye. Cultured stone can be made in any size, shape, texture, and color, making it extremely versatile, and much easier to work with than natural stone. Cultured stone can be assembled in more unique displays than natural stone, as the mason is not limited by the natural shape, texture, and size of natural stone. Additionally, cultured stone is lightweight, which cuts labor costs significantly. Cultured stone can be made to resemble any traditional natural stone, but can also be made to resemble stones unavailable for use in a natural stone fireplace. For those considering a more modern stone look, or for those who like the look of a more rare and unavailable stone, cultured stone is a good option. Cultured stone is incredibly realistic, and due to being made to resemble the highest quality natural stone, is often even more eye-catching than its natural counterpart. However, if cultured stone is chipped, the inside material showing through will not exactly resemble the rest of the un-chipped facade. Lastly, cultured stone is manufactured and therefore made in a certain number of designs. However, cultured stone offers huge benefits to homeowners looking for something eye-catching without investing excessively in the project.