In recent years, the fireplace has ceased to be an exclusively classic element of the interior. Modern biomodels are made of metal and glass, and they work on environmentally friendly fuel, which does not produce smoke and soot. Fireplaces are becoming a central element in the design of living rooms, libraries, bedrooms and kitchens. They replaced the cumbersome ovens on which they used to cook. Depending on the location, fireplaces are classified into four types: island, corner, built-in and wall. Most of the material goes to the first view, as the unit is installed in the middle of the room and has four walls. The most economical option in terms of cladding and decoration is the built-in model. In the classical configuration, the fireplace consists of a firebox, smoke box, chimney and portal. We are interested in the last component, as it is decorated with stone decor, wood, inlay, plaster. More modern models of electric fireplaces are a box without any communications. Due to this quality, they are used in the design of not only country houses, but also city apartments.
Decorating the fireplace with decorative stone returns the interior to the roots, that is, at the time when it was faced with only natural, roughly treated materials. Such solutions are suitable not only for classic or ethnic styles. Modern loft, modern, Provence, Gothic perfectly combined with the masonry. She, in turn, is suitable for wallpaper in retro and textured Venetian plaster. Natural stone has an impressive weight, and the finish is fraught with difficulties. There are a number of high-quality imitations on the building materials market. Decorative stone for the fireplace is not inferior in characteristics to the original, but in some ways even surpasses it. The article will talk about how to choose material from a variety of options and how to lay it.
Artificial or natural stone?
Natural rock is a natural composite that has been formed over many years from stone powder, marble powder and quartz, bonded together with the help of polymer resins. This material was used in ancient times and it did not lose its relevance until the time when the brick was invented. The artificial stone has some advantages in comparison with a natural breed:
- The composition of the composite contains lightweight fillers, due to which each bar has a small weight. This feature of the material allows it to be used for finishing not only the fireplace itself, but also the accent wall on which it is located. Due to their high weight, natural stone is not recommended for use in decorating surfaces that are more than 1 m high.
- The stone for a fireplace decor is easily mounted, and its compliance and relative softness allow to sheathe structures of a complex configuration.
- For cutting the material, only the grinder is needed, while real cobblestone is not so easy to cut.
- The democratic price for artificial stone, perhaps, has become its main advantage. For quite a reasonable fee, you can finish not only the fireplace, but also a part of the wall, a doorway. Natural cobblestones require painstaking processing with the use of special equipment, which leads to a greater cost of material.
- Artificial stone is produced in different color variations. Normal breed differs scanty range of shades. Stones of rare flowers will be very expensive.
- The material allows the use of seamless technology for finishing, which is impossible when working with natural rock.
Although the purchase of artificial stone for plating seems like a great idea, it also has disadvantages:
- Natural breed has a unique pattern. No imitation can repeat the natural texture of the material.
- This stone, due to its hardness, is not afraid of mechanical damage, and the terms of its operation vary from a few dozen to a couple of hundred years.
Although both materials with the right approach can embody the most original design ideas, artificial stone is more "flexible" in this regard.
Criteria for choosing a decorative stone for decoration
When choosing the optimal artificial material, it is necessary to pay attention to a number of nuances:
- The product must be well packed.
- The surface of the material should be smooth. If the stone has a porous structure from the front, then the technology of its production has been violated. For a long time such material will not serve.
- Experts believe that imitation should have "endurance". In their opinion, the strength of the stone reaches maximum values only after the expiration of a month from the moment of its manufacture.
- Several certificates are attached to the product. Since the material is synthetic, it is important that these documents are available, because we are talking about surface finishing, which will periodically heat up. Production flaws will necessarily affect the quality of the artificial stone, as a result of which it can become harmful to human health.
- On the packaging of high-quality imitation, the name of the manufacturer’s company, date of manufacture is always present
Also, do not buy an artificial stone "from the hands", because you do not know where and by whom it was produced, how much it meets the quality standards and how long it will last.
Tile suitable for decoration
Not every type of tile is suitable for finishing the fireplace. Depending on the manufacturing technology and structure, the material is classified into several types. Each of them differs not only cost, but also characteristics, features of installation and terms of operation. Select the tile based on the characteristics of the room, which is decorated with a fireplace.
For example, for the bath buy heavy-duty material that is not afraid of high temperatures and high humidity. For the kitchen select imitation with similar characteristics. Less demanding tile living rooms, bedrooms, offices. Their microclimate is stable.
The main component of the tile is clay. The material is perfectly attached to any surface using ordinary liquid nails. Terracotta has a high vapor and air permeability. This helps the decor to absorb excess moisture in the room and participate in the formation of a favorable microclimate. Not only chimney portals are cladded with terracotta, but also facades of houses. The material is frost-resistant, so it is ideal for decorating rooms with unstable temperatures (for example, a bath). The special texture of the surface allows the terracotta to give off heat for a long time, so the fireplaces decorated with such tiles cool down more slowly. The strength of the material does not lag behind the furnace brick.
Majolica is a glazed terracotta. An additional glossy layer allows surface cleaning with abrasive compounds, contact with which will not damage the tile. According to the characteristics of majolica does not lag behind terracotta. It is also easily fixed to the surface, it gives off heat for a long time, and can be used in rooms of any type. By production the top layer of majolica is decorated with patterns. A wide range of drawings allows you to choose the material for interior design.
Heat-resistant brick tile
The clinker is made from several grades of clay and fireclay powder. Natural dyes are added to the composition. The material is environmentally friendly. Since its structure is low porous, it slowly gives off heat. Cold resistance allows to finish fireplaces in houses and temporarily used baths. The thickness of the clinker varies from 0.9 to 1.2 cm. The tile is durable, durable and insensitive to mechanical damage. On the surface of the clinker is fixed with liquid nails. Unfortunately, the material does not have a terracotta hitch, so when finishing it is additionally used a reinforcing mesh.
For the appearance of porcelain tiles we owe to the Italians. The production technology of a new cladding material was first tested at the end of the last century. The monolith is non-porous, which significantly increases its service life. Porcelain tile is made of marble chips, metal oxides, silica sand with the addition of pigments by pressing under high pressure. Artificial material has proven itself during the tests of low and high temperatures. This quality of porcelain stoneware allows it to be used in the design of fireplaces in steam rooms, in the kitchen and for finishing the facades of houses. The material can decorate the room with almost any style, as it comes with a wide range of color and texture options. The surface of porcelain tile does not fade under the sun's rays.
Tiles - piece finishes made from special types of clay. Their surface is treated with glaze, which gives it a glossy shine. Due to the high cost, tiles did not manage to break into the market leaders. The technology of their manufacture involves roasting at high temperatures, which makes the material heat-resistant and durable. Tiles are characterized by high heat transfer, which is useful for those rooms where the fireplace is not just an interior element, but also an alternative source of heat.
Since the tiles are very expensive, they can only arrange a fireplace shelf. For the rest of the portal, a cheaper material is selected that will be combined in color and texture.
Master class for laying tiles
Laying out a fireplace with your own hand tiles is not that difficult. The whole process of finishing will take 5-8 hours. The high skill level of the builder will significantly speed up the procedure. Grouting is done on the following day, so you can get a beautiful, stylish interior element in just two days.
The finishing process is divided into three stages:
- Surface preparation;
- Facing work;
Complete the process of decorating the mantelpiece and part of the chimney, if you plan to use wall decorations.
Before revetting the fireplace, its surface must first be prepared. If an old layer of finishing was removed from it, then the portal is cleaned of residual adhesive composition and leveled. Then the surface is degreased and small particles of dust are removed, which can later affect the quality of fixing the finishing material. The treatment is completed by applying a layer of mastic, which seals microcracks.
Tools and materials
The work will require the following materials:
- Corner elements;
- Heat-resistant grout and glue;
- The same drywall pieces to create even seams between the elements.
The standard toolbox includes:
- Level and plumb;
- Rubber gloves;
- Construction gun;
- Bulgarian with a disk for cutting tiles;
- Comb spatula;
- Rubber hammer;
- Waste capacity (bucket, bowl);
- Drill and nozzle for mixing dry mixes.
The list of materials is sometimes supplemented with special tools for surface treatment after tile laying. For example, some people use dirt-repellent agents.
Technology laying tiles on the walls of the fireplace and chimney
Cover the fireplace should be only after the completion of the preparation of the surface. Start with the corners. They are fixed after measurements. They will serve as a guideline, which will ensure the laying of smooth rows of tiles without distortions. Heat-resistant glue is mixed in the container. Then it is applied with a comb spatula on the reverse side of the tile. For better adhesion, the surface of the fireplace is covered with glue in a similar way. Then a tile is applied to it and, after correction of the position, it is pressed with force. Finishing fixing by tapping with a rubber hammer. To maintain a gap of equal width between the seams, they put in advance prepared pieces of drywall. You can remove it only after 12 hours after fixing the decor. If necessary, cut the tile grinder into fragments of the desired size. A day after laying you can start grouting. The composition has a base white color, which is adjusted with the help of special dyes. The grout is mixed with the pigment according to the instructions, and then filled with a construction gun. His nozzle is inserted into the groove of the seam and gently squeeze the mixture, moving along the gap. The grout should be level with the tile, but not protrude above it. If part of the composition hit a clean surface, do not immediately try to wipe it off. The grout is removed after it hardens with a screwdriver or knife. After 1.5-2 hours, the composition will begin to thicken and acquire the consistency of a dense paste. Now proceed to the jointing, which is carried out using a conventional flat screwdriver.
If the fastening elements will be made using glue without mastic, then the "wrong" side of the finishing material is slightly moistened with water.
After laying the tiles, the portal and chimney are decorated with gypsum stucco, wooden elements and metal decorations. The fireplace should be designed in accordance with the stylistic concept. In the classic interior it is decorated with paintings, candlesticks, antique clocks. In modern versions, avant-garde and futuristic sculptures, author pictures are used. For Provence pick porcelain vases, plates on stands and fresh flowers.
In eco style, they give preference to natural decorations: tree sawing, cobblestones, cones, dry twigs, collected in a bouquet. Fireplace decor for the New Year is made of holiday wreaths, miniature Christmas trees, garlands, socks for gifts. Options look unusual when the portal is on a pedestal, and there is a hollow niche for firewood.