Traditional Brick Fireplaces will never go out of fashion

Whoever said brick fireplaces were things of the past? In fact, brick fireplaces are timeless classics and only add to the beauty of a newly built or updated home, irrespective of the accompanying décor. Uniquely designed and crafted brick fireplaces add to the charm of the entire house and more often than not, play a vital role in determining the personality of the living room.

Traditionally Americans have always thought of a fireplace as made of bricks. One always pictures a brick fireplace around which the family sat to listen to President Roosevelt's fireside chats during the "Great Depression." Most traditional homes have a brick fireplace installed - and there is something very soothing and romantic about the crackling of the flames and the burning of the wood.

New bricks lack the aura that old bricks brings with them. Most of the time, a brick fireplace that gleams with perfectly shaped, brand-new bricks, doesn't look that attractive when compared to an old fireplace that has taken quite a beating and a substantial amount of fire. While this may seem counterintuitive, a well worn fireplace seems to exude far more charm than one that looks brand new. Of course, we are currently able to create an artificially worn look, so a brand new brick fireplace can have the romantic charm of a much older one.

Brick fireplaces also score well in terms of affordability, durability and strength. Grease, oils and soot can do little to spoil the charm of a brick fireplace. In fact, the best fireplaces are the ones that have been in the heat for a long-span of time. Decorative designs are a possibility with brick fireplaces too, since anything can be designed and incorporated, when dealing with bricks. Exciting finishes are possible too, thereby allowing the owner to choose from antique finish, rustic, urban or contemporary.

Brick fireplaces come in all shapes and sizes, so if you are installing a new fireplace where there wasn't one before, you will be able to choose dimensions that work with the room and don't feel crowded, or small and insignificant. Installing a brick fireplace where no fireplace existed is no task for even the most stubborn do-it-yourselfer. Without professional guidance, your home may be left exposed to the elements, and a structurally unsound fireplace could collapse or cause other damage to your walls and home.

Typical brick fireplaces are wider in length and short in height. Red bricks surround the fireplace and extend out of the front as well, to make up a hearth. Red is the preferred color when it comes to choosing brick fireplaces, though other mild colors like gray and dull brown find their space too, in modern homes. Colors can also contribute a great deal in the effects. For example, a yellow brick could offer a sunny effect. One could have a black or a dark gray for a night effect or just a pink brick for a rosier effect.

Brick arrangements in the fireplace play their part in contributing to the effect too. Just an occasional brick jutting out from the middle adds to the charm. So is the case with a large size brick in between a series of small ones. The corners could be arched or rounded as well, in comparison to the traditional rectangular joints. Sometimes, the narrow portion is presented side out. This can help create a nice framing effect. The next thing in question – colors. Even if all the bricks are of the same color, one can spot variations from brick to brick due to its sheer randomness, thereby breaking the monotony of the eye and providing a rich effect. Mixing of colors in brick fireplaces is also an exercise that many take up for the same reason – breaking the dullness of the eye by having the same color.

Fireplace mantles are an ideal location for family photos, candles, or other decorations. As the focal point of a room, a fireplace will draw attention to special family memories or heirlooms.

Maintenance of a brick fireplace

Brick fireplaces are easy in terms of maintenance. Just a regular wash with soap solution on a weekly basis would keep it gleaming. Running a damp cloth across the surfaces occasionally is the best thing to do to a brick fireplace to maintain. Even if one of the bricks were to develop cracks due to extreme temperatures, not everything is lost. One can replace just the damaged portion, without disturbing the other portions of the structure.

Most owners spend a lot of time building mantles over the brick fireplaces, but a better idea would be to stop worrying about the display of the fireplace. Instead, having a small recess in the brick would serve the same purpose of a mantle - without the same input of time and energy.

Another advantage with choosing brick is that compared to all the other materials used for building fireplaces it is the most economical. In fact it is also pretty easy to get hold of second hand or unused bricks from a building site. Bricks also have excellent fire resistant properties, and any wayward sparks won't be a problem for a brick mantle.

Converting from traditional wood

It is also commonly acknowledged that a well maintained and classy looking fireplace adds value to your house. It is not necessary nowadays that you need to use only wood in a brick fireplace. Wooden pellets, coal and gas are the material used nowadays to heat up the home. While fireplaces are no longer a primary source of heat in the home, they are still focal points within a room.

If you think that cleaning up after all the wood has burnt out, removing the soot etc is a chore, you could opt for the cleaner and environmentally safer substances like wooden pellets or even natural gas.
A traditional brick fireplace can easily be converted into a gas fireplace by simple modifications.

Finally, if you are looking for something that is vintage and timeless, classy and inexpensive and can suit any décor, there are no second thoughts about the fact that a brick fireplace has to be the ultimate choice.