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What Are the Pros and Cons of Using a Stone Fireplace Mantel?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 01 October 2018
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There are several types of fireplace mantels from which a consumer can choose. A stone fireplace mantel often has a dramatic and classic look. It is also fireproof and very durable, as well as relatively maintenance free. On the other hand, it can be difficult to install and more expensive than other types of fireplace mantels.

Many home builders choose to use a stone fireplace mantel for its aesthetic qualities. Stone often creates a very dramatic and classic look. Some even think it lends a rustic charm to some homes, especially country homes. Many times guests will even admire the looks of a stone fireplace mantel.

Because it is fireproof, stone is often considered to be one of the safest materials for a fireplace mantel. In the event of a stray spark or ember escaping from the fireplace, a stone mantel is not in danger of igniting. Some other types of mantels, such as a wood fireplace mantel, may catch fire.

Durability is another reason many people choose a stone fireplace mantel. Stone will never rot or rust, and it takes a long time to deteriorate. it can typically last much longer than some other types of mantels.

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These mantels are relatively maintenance free. Unless a mantel is made of carefully shaped stones, a chipped-off piece probably won't even be noticeable. Staining is also not a big issue, since many stone mantels can be sealed to prevent this. To clean them, homeowners usually only need to wipe them periodically with a soft cloth.

Unsealed stone mantels, on the other hand, are still quite porous. Because of this, they can absorb a variety of liquids, which can cause staining. These stains are often difficult to remove. Most experts recommend sealing a stone fireplace mantel to prevent this.

Installing a stone fireplace mantel can be quite difficult, even for an experienced do-it-yourselfer. A professional installation is often required. This is usually done by experienced masons. Although they typically provide quality workmanship, the services of these professionals is usually very expensive.

Besides the price of installation, a stone fireplace mantel itself is also typically more expensive than other types of mantels. Wood, for example, can usually be purchased for much less, or a typical do-it-yourselfer could even build his own for very little money. Individuals who still want the look of a stone fireplace mantel may be able to find a cultured stone fireplace mantel, but these are usually not as durable as a true, natural stone mantel.

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