We recently did a post on our limestone fireplaces where we outlined the process of how we design, fabricate, and install our custom designed, hand carved limestone fireplace surrounds.
But limestone isn’t the only option for your fireplace surround material. There are, in fact, many other options. Today we’ll focus on a man made material – cast stone. Cast stone has been around for centuries. In fact, it was first used in 1138 AD in the walled city of Carcassonne, France. It’s gained popularity in the past century, and today is an extremely versatile building material.
Cast stone is, as its name implies, a simulated stone which is cast into molds. Portland Cement and aggregates are mixed together to create a durable limestone look-alike. This mixture can be molded into nearly any shape and size and is an excellent alternative to natural limestone. Cast stone is durable and easy to care for. One of the benefits of cast stone is the wide variety of colors and textures it comes in. Cast stone is made not only to imitate the look of limestone, but of travertine, brick, slate, and other stones too.
The process of selecting a cast stone fireplace is a bit different than a custom carved limestone surround. First, you’ll want to take a look at what designs are available. Unlike a custom carved limestone fireplace, your cast stone fireplace options are limited to the manufacturer’s models. There are many different cast stone companies to choose from, and all have a wide variety of designs. A good place to start your search is Houzz where you can search through thousands of photos of cast stone fireplaces in other people’s homes. We also have a cast stone fireplace in our showroom for you to look at, and several catalogues which you can peruse to get an idea of available designs.
If you don’t find a design you like, it is also possible to have a design custom made. This requires a custom mold, however, and for a single fireplace, can be prohibitively costly.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t mix things up a bit, however. There are generally separate mantle and surround pieces. This gives you the ability to mix and match styles to find just the right one for your space. Keep this in mind while you’re looking.
We recommend you start your fireplace selection while your project is still in its design phase. As with a limestone fireplace, your cast stone fireplace may need additional supports, and planning ahead will allow you to seamlessly integrate these into your home.
We invite you to come by our showroom to talk with one of our estimators about your fireplace ideas. This way we can identify any concerns or limitations that your space might have, and we can answer any questions you might have. We’ll help you to search for just the right fireplace. If you have photos or drawings of styles you like, bring those. If you know the dimensions of your firebox, be sure to bring those so that we can make sure the cast stone fireplace you select can be made to accommodate it.
Once you’ve selected your cast stone fireplace, we’ll create a bid proposal for you that will include the cast stone fireplace and installation of it in your home. Once you accept this proposal and pay a deposit, we’ll send out an order for your fireplace to be made. Production time varies by manufacturer but you can expect it to take 8-12 weeks. The cast stone fireplace pieces will arrive at our shop, where we’ll keep them until you’re ready for installation. Depending on the size and complexity of your design, installation can take anywhere from a day to a week. And that’s it, you’ll have a new fireplace perfect for enjoying a cozy cup of tea and a good novel.