Fireplaces: Stone, Brick and More

Consider maintenance, style and budget when shopping for fireplace materials

By: Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien

Photo By: Justin Sirois

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Stone: A Solid Choice

There's an urban vibe to the stone surround of this fireplace. The most popular types of fireplace stone include limestone, granite, marble, slate and travertine. Design by Regina Sirois; Photography by Justin Sirois of Olathe Kansas.

Textured Design

This modern stone fireplace runs from floor to ceiling for a contemporary aesthetic. The texture of the stacked taupe stone has a cool ripple effect. You can feel good knowing that stone is one of the safest materials for fireplaces because it's fireproof and durable. Design by Artistic Designs for Living; Photography by Eric Rorer Photography.

Repair and Maintenance

Since stone is a natural material, the color lots will naturally vary. If you decide on stone for your fireplace, be sure to buy more than you need during the installation to have on hand for future repairs. Stone can be problematic to clean with its natural crevices. It's best to seal a stone fireplace to help prevent staining. Design by Jo Ann Alston

From: Jo Ann Alston

Long-Lasting Brick

The shape of this fireplace, along with its traditional red brick, gives it a classic look. Brick is a low-maintenance, sturdy material that makes a great insulator. It's routinely salvaged and re-used because of its proven longevity. Design by Elinor Jones

From: Elinor Jones

Alternative Brick Options

This exposed-brick fireplace has a whitewashed, imperfect look that adds rustic charm. If you can't afford to have bricks laid for your fireplace, consider firebox brick liners to get the look without the high cost. Design by Gabriel Builders; Photography by GetCreative Photography

Limestone: Elegant and Elaborate

"The foundation of a masonry fireplace is firebrick inside a fire chamber, which holds the logs and directs the heat and smoke through the chimney," says Lou Manfredini, Ace's Home Expert. "What material we see on the outside is basically a window dressing for the fireplace." Limestone fireplaces often have exquisite carvings that add to its more formal style. Design by Troy Beasley

From: Troy Beasley

Stunning Marble

Like any of the finishes — brick, stone, stucco, tile — marble gets attached to the body of the masonry fireplace. A marble fireplace will require sealing to help prevent scratches — and repairs are pricey. Design by Andrea Schumacher

Edgy Stainless Steel

It's safe to say you'll have less of a fingerprint issue with stainless steel fireplaces than stainless steel refrigerators. With a stainless hearth, you get the same modern edge. This material will start to look dirty over time — be sure to have a stainless steel cleaner on hand to restore that shiny new appearance. Design by Jennifer Charleston

From: Jennifer Charleston

Heavy-Metal Inspiration

This eye-catching fireplace was created using found pieces of metal. With creative handiwork, the metal was power-washed and converted into an industrial-style fireplace. Photography and design by Slow Loris

Stucco Solutions

If your brick fireplace is crumbling apart, consider using stucco to transform it. This charming material is a great masonry product that's inexpensive and doesn't require much upkeep. Design by Erinn Valencich

From: Erinn Valencich

Tile Style

A column of small taupe tiles creates a fireside mosaic. Glass tiles are easy to clean with a wet cloth and mild detergent. Disadvantage: Tiles are hard to install and prone to scratches. Design by Christopher J. Grubb

Classic Wood

The elegant woodworking on this fireplace adds to its one-of-a-kind style. A wood mantel needs to be cleaned with a soft cloth and polished regularly to maintain the shine. For long-lasting beauty, avoid any water-based cleaners.

Concrete: Sleek and Trendy

This striking two-way fireplace acts as a room divider, and the cool gray concrete creates a modern backdrop. Concrete may be strong and smooth, but it requires a sealant to make it water-resistant. Design by John Lum Architecture; Photography by Sharon Risedorph Photography