Slate, Granite, Limestone or Sandstone Fireplace Hearth Stone - What is the difference?
With the increasing popularity of log burners as an addition to peoples home heating systems, there an increasing need for a fireplace hearth for the burner to stand upon.
But what should a hearth be made of? Looking at the data, it appears as though there are 3 materials that spring to mind when people are looking for hearths, with one material being overwhelmingly what people are searching for:
- Slate hearth - ~80% of searches
- Granite hearth - ~18% of searches
- Black Limestone hearth- <2% of searches
- Sandstone hearth - rarely searched!
But is there a reason for this? Is slate really that much more suitable than Limestone? Or are people simply confused about what is available? Hopefully we can shed some light on the different materials that are available and highlight which materials might be suitable for your project that you possibly didn't know about.
If you already know material you would like, why not jump into our article highlighting how much this is likely to cost right away?
Slate Hearth - The Go-to Option
Slate hearths are by far and away the most well known option. When a customer speaks to use about getting their bespoke fireplace hearth made, it is always slate that they ask for first. And it's easy to see why.
Brazilian Slate hearth stones are dark, decorative and when a burner is active - they radiate warmth into the room.
Slate is aesthetically pleasing with plenty of natural variation for a decorative and interesting surface.
However, they are a more expensive option than some other materials and often the alternative materials will be just as suitable, if not more suitable than a slate piece.
Pros of Slate
- A very beautiful stone with unique markings on every piece.
- Naturally smooth so suited to a burner.
- Warm tones add to the heating effect of the space.
Cons of Slate
- Premium material so costs extra.
- Natural variation means each piece is unpredictable.
- Limited choice of edge finishes.
Alternatives: Black Limestone or Granite
Black Limestone Hearth - The Most Popular
Not many people know Black Limestone exists as an option which is nicely illustrated by the search figures above. But once they learn about the material, a surprising amount of people opt for it as an alternative.
It's difficult to even tell Limestone and Slate apart from the two images, and with limestone coming it at around half the price, it's no wonder it is increasing in popularity year-on-year.
The colour is consistent. There is almost no variation across the surface, so you know exactly what you are getting from piece to piece.
On top of this, the surface is still naturally smooth and perfectly suited for a burner.
Pros of Limestone
- Consistent colour and surface finish.
- Deepest black colour available.
- Very budget friendly.
- Easily worked, so lots of options for your fireplace hearth edges.
Cons of Limestone
- No natural variation so will look just like any other limestone hearth.
- More likely to fade than slate.
Granite Hearth - The Toughest
Granite is one of the options that people are frequently searching for. It's an incredibly hard stone and ages really well through the years. Because of it's geological makeup, granite is incredibly tough and resistant to damage.
The tough nature of granite means it's very resistant to scratches, damages and stains of all variety. If you are using a working burner with pokers and tools, granite may well be a great option for you thanks to it's hardy nature.
There is also a slightly varied surface texture and pattern thanks to the cooling of volcanic rock that forms the granite material.
The surface is still overall nice and smooth, but it has a dimpled effect so isn't quite as smooth as other options.
However, due to the fact the stone is so tough it does require more work to cut, so it is the most expensive option.
Pros of Granite
- Incredibly tough. More scratch and stain resistant than the other options.
- Decorative surface thanks to the way is formed.
Cons of Granite
- Most expensive option.
- Unpredictable surface.
Grey Sandstone Hearth - The Most Natural
This is a slightly less considered option, but that's not to say it should be written off altogether. Grey sandstone is great for those looking to create the most natural, traditional look as it maintains quite a lot of the characteristics that are common in traditional natural stone.
Grey sandstone is for those looking for the ultimate natural effect. This is a beautiful, naturally occurring stone which will compliment a properties rustic feel perfectly.
Unlike most of our other options, this stone is not designed to give a smooth, contemporary effect but to complement a traditional property and a rustic fireplace. The surface of the stone is rough, but we still only select pieces suitable for log burners, so they won’t be too uneven to use.
Pros of Sandstone
- Natural look.
- Resistant to scratch and fade.
- Well suited to traditional properties.
Cons of Sandstone:
- Uneven surface which can vary dramatically.
- Will absorb stains quickly if untreated.
Bespoke Slate Hearths - are they the only option?
Absolutely not! There are 3 main natural materials hearths can be constructed from. We hope we've highlighted the main differences for you and help you come to a conclusion regarding which material may be best for you.
If you want to know more regarding what can affect the cost of your bespoke hearth, you can read about it here.
Or if you wanted to go ahead and use one of our calculators to give you an accurate price, you can do that here also.
If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with one of our friendly customer service teams at email@example.com or alternatively, give us a call on 01733 810161.
Click to get a quote if you are ready, if not you can continue reading!
Step #2 - Measuring Your Hearth Dimensions (Expansion Gaps)
Step #3 - What Shape Should My Hearth Be?
Step #4 - What Edge Finishes Are Available?
Step #5 - Do You Need To Seal Your Hearth?
How Much Is Your Bespoke Hearth Likely To Cost?
Bespoke Hearth Calculator Tools