When talking about a fireplace surround, different ideas may come to mind for different people. Some people think of a fireplace mantle, others think about an overlay. Though the technical definition for a fireplace surround used in the hearth industry refers to a piece of painted steel that covers the space between the outer edges of a fireplace and the surrounding wall. So, in this article, we will talk about the different terminology used with the word surround. We will also discuss some fireplace surround ideas to help you elevate the look of your fireplace and hearth.
First, let's briefly talk about the technical term for a surround. In the hearth industry, experts and technicians use the word surround to refer to a non-decorative piece of metal that covers a fireplace opening. This piece of metal is usually black painted steel. It only covers the area between the fireplace and the wall. It does not cover any part of the fireplace facing or glass doors. It can be made to work with traditional square fireplaces and linear ones as well. If you want something for functional purposes only, a surround is your best option. If you are looking for a piece that offers coverage and has a decorative quality to it, you will need to look at an overlay.
When some people use the word surround, they actually mean an "overlay". Overlays are decorative pieces that go over the front of a fireplace and can change the entire look. They come in many styles, with all sorts of shapes and designs etched into them. They also come in different finishes. Overlays are the fancy cousin of the metal surround. They are for people who want to do a fireplace makeover but can't invest in completely renovating their hearth.
Overlays can cost as little as $50 and as much as several hundred. The price is totally dependent on what you are looking for. So, if you need an affordable option for remodeling your fireplace, consider an overlay.
Next on the list is the mantle. When you think of mantles you may think of the mantle shelf. Mantle shelves are typically made from wood or stone. They create a divide between a fireplace and TV's or other fragile objects hanging above the unit. But that is not the type of mantle we are talking about today. A mantle surround, that people often get confused with the other types of surrounds we've mentioned, is a full mantle with legs that cover three sides of a fireplace.
A full fireplace mantle can be made from several types of wood and fit into a traditional fireplace design or a corner fireplace design. Mantles are great pieces if you want to add some decoration or you can use them to store family photos and other décor. Mantles have several functions and are a good option if you need something more than just a decorative piece to jazz up your hearth.
Lastly, let's talk about veneers. Another type of fireplace surround is the veneer. Veneers are materials such as tile, granite, marble, and stone that are laid around the opening and on the wall of a fireplace. These materials create a "backdrop" of sorts that sets the tone for the overall look of a fireplace. Tile is a popular option because it is low-cost and easy to work with. It's important to note that tile adheres best to a cement backer board. So, it's best to install this over the entire area the tile will be installed.
Stone veneers are another popular option because of their modern, sleek appearance. Granite, marble, and quartz are a few options to choose from. If you happen to know a countertop installer that has leftover materials, you can get stone as little as around $35 a square foot. Whether you are looking for a single large surround or a multi-piece surround, stone veneers are a good choice with a variety of applications.
Many people like the look of thin brick because of its nostalgic look and feel. Thin brick veneers are made from real brick, though they are cut down to 1/2 inches. The veneer comes in sheets and is applied like tile. It is much easier than laying real brick that requires the skill of a mason.
One last option for veneers is cultured stone. Cultured stone is stunning to look at and brings a sense of luxury to a hearth. Though, you may be surprised to learn that cultured stone is nothing more than concrete poured into a cast shaped like stacked stone. Dyes are added to enhance the look and give it a real stone finish. The installation process is fairly slow due to the detailed work involved in cutting and sizing it to fit around a fireplace insert. Though, when it is finished, you will be sure to wow all your guests.
Now that we have gone through metal fireplace surrounds, mantles, fireplace veneers, and overlays, that covers it for the types of surrounds you can use to enhance your fireplace. Should you have any questions about things we discussed here, please feel free to call our NFI certified techs at 800.203.1642