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What is a Cast Stone Fireplace Surround?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

Cast stone is a manufactured product that resembles actual split rock, shale, field stone or at least one-half of a stone. The cast stones are made with a flat side on the rear to aid in creating simulated stone walls. When attached to a wall around a fireplace, the product becomes a cast stone fireplace surround. The cast stone fireplace surround gives the illusion of an actual stone fireplace surround with none of the time-consuming stone cutting and fitting. The stones feel and look real and can provide an elegant look to an otherwise plain fireplace.

When deciding on a cast stone fireplace surround, the consumer must first decide on the type of stone that will best complement the room's surroundings. Once a stone type has been decided upon, the cast stone fireplace surround can be assembled. By taking measurements of the area to be covered, the surround can be assembled to fit the job. The typical cast stone fireplace surround is created in three individual pieces and applied as two sides and a top. Careful attention to detail assures that no seams will be seen and that the surround will resemble an actual stone-and-mortar assembly.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Preparation of the walls and areas receiving the cast stone fireplace surround is basically the same as if preparing to apply actual stone. Once the area is sanded clean of any paint and finish, a fine wire mesh is attached to the area with staples. Once the screen has been secured, a fine mortar is troweled onto the wall—this layer of mortar must be thick enough to cover the screen completely. As the mortar begins to set, the sections of surround are placed against the mortar and worked in to ensure a proper set, and the excess mortar is worked in around the surround to simulate concrete and actual stone. Mortar is wiped into all seams where the three sections connect; this resembles a single unit and aids in adding a realistic appearance to the finished project.

The advantage of using a cast-simulated stone is the convenience of installation and maintenance. A simple dusting with a soft bristle brush is all that is required to maintain the fresh appearance of the stone. Generally, the most convenient part of using this simulated product comes in the ease of removal. If the need ever arises, the surround can be removed very easily, and a different surround style can be installed in its place.

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