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8 Reasons To Build Your Fireplace With Manufactured Stone

A fireplace is often the centerpiece of a home, where friends and family gather to relax and converse. It seems to epitomize comfort and luxury, warmth and charm. Yet, for many homes a natural stone fireplace is not a practical option. Besides the high cost of the stone itself, the weight of the mantel-piece, the surround, and the hearth usually means building the firebox and chimney in an outside wall above a solid foundation, or -- for an interior design -- seriously reinforcing the floor.

Fortunately, there is another option. Manufactured stone from a quality supplier provides many of the advantages of natural stone without any of the drawbacks.

Manufactured stone perfectly matches the appearance of natural stone.

Whether it's the rough-hewn look of fieldstone or the gentle contours of streamstone, quality manufactured stone, often referred to as artificial stone or cultured stone, so perfectly emulates the look and feel of natural stone it can fool even experienced masons.

This remarkable achievement comes from using a formulation of Portland cement, natural aggregates, and carefully selected pigments in meticulously detailed molds modeled after natural stone. The result is a finished product virtually indistinguishable from the original.

Manufactured stone is light weight.

Manufactured stone typically weighs much less than natural stone, about two-thirds the weight of natural stone veneer and less than a quarter the weight of full-block natural stone. This provides significant savings in shipping and labor costs, as well as reducing the need for costly structural reinforcing.

Manufactured stone is easy to install.

Thanks to its light weight and convenient sizes and shapes, with a little planning and attention to detail even weekend handymen can successfully install artificial stone veneer. All that's required is following the vendor's simple instructions and observing basic precautions.

Other than perhaps a circular saw with a masonry blade for cutting stones to size, there's no need for many of the heavy-duty power tools often required when working with natural stone. Standard hand masonry tools will do.

Manufactured stone can be installed on virtually any wall.

Since its light weight eliminates the need for special footings and foundations, and since it can be applied to any structurally sound wall surface, artificial stone veneer is a perfect building material for fireplaces. It simplifies construction of new fireplaces and remodeling of older, plain brick units.

Manufactured stone is durable and maintenance-free.

Reputable manufacturers of artificial stone provide a 50 year warranty on their product, but that's not the limit of the stone's life-expectancy.

Properly applied, quality manufactured stone can be expected to last much longer, even on external walls subject to the elements. Inside a home, on a fireplace for example, manufactured stone veneer should provide service for many generations.

Manufactured Stone is safe for fireplaces.

Obviously, when constructing a wood or gas-burning fireplace, flammability of the building materials is a concern. By its very nature, manufactured stone is non-combustible. It contributes zero fuel and produces no smoke.

Manufactured stone offers wide variety.

Available in dozens of different styles, textures, and colors, artificial stone veneer can emulate any natural stone. This gives you broad flexibility in designing a fireplace that perfectly complements your home and lifestyle, whether traditional or contemporary.

Manufactured Stone is less expensive than natural stone.

Using manufactured stone veneer saves you money in three ways. First, the product itself costs less than natural stone.

Second, because artificial stone veneer weighs so much less than natural stone, the cost to ship the stone to your job site -- which can be prohibitive for natural stone -- is much less.

Third, labor costs are usually lower, since manufactured stone is lighter and easier to work with. Masons can install the product faster, saving both time and money.

Make the right choice.

Once you've decided on artificial stone veneer for your fireplace, the next question is where to obtain it. Choose a vendor that offers a sound warranty, a wide selection of stone, and that has a reputation for quality as solid as the stone itself.

For Canadian builders, Stone Selex satisfies all of these criteria. Distribution DWP is the authorized eastern Canada distributor of Artistic Stone.

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