A brick or a stone fireplace hearth is an oven used for cooking or heating. For many years, fireplace hearths were considered the central part of homes. A fireplace hearth is a visible element of a fireplace.

Lined/unlined Fireplace hearths: Fireplace hearths may be lined with stone or just left unlined, as may be the case. The usage of fireplace hearths dates back to the prehistoric eras. They have been used for a variety of purposes that include cooking, heating and processing. Lined fireplace hearths are characterized by the presence of cracked rocks, often formed as a result of cracks developed due to extreme heating. Shell, charcoal, animal bones and ash are found in different layers in the hearth. Unlined hearths have these components too. As a result of the organized nature of these components, the technique of radiocarbon dating may be employed to approximately arrive at an estimated age of the fireplace hearth.

During the winter months, the hearths have been used to bring warmth to the house and the interior spaces.

Hearth tax: It is an interesting revelation that 16th Century England and Scotland houses were required to pay a hearth tax. Hearth tax data details are of utmost importance to historians, since it provides details of the number of hearths per house. It also helps to throw light on the local distribution and the number of houses in that era.

Hearth Placement: Hearths are more often than not, placed directly placed in front of the firebox. Different types of hearth edges – plain, rounded, chamfered and bullnose are possible. Same is the case with corners – plain, radiused or cornered.

In case the finished floor butts into the side of the hearth, rounded or chamfered edges are preferred. Plain ones are chosen if the hearth sets with the flush door. Raised hearths and bullnose edges make an irresistible combination.

There are a range of hearth elevations as well – flush, standard and raised, to name but a few.

Slabbed tile and polished granite hearths: Slabbed tile hearths come in a range of colors and are usually made of ceramic. The best part about slabbed tile hearths is that they go well with any type of fuel – gas and solid. Polished granite hearths are another type. Available in straight, tongued and curved forms, these are cut from a single slab of granite. However, they cannot be used with strong solid fuels, since extreme heating may lead to cracking. Gas fuels are ideal when it comes to dealing with granite hearths.

Granite hearths come in different sizes – 36 to 60 inches in width and different depths to choose any fireplace.

Slate is one of the primary materials used to construct your fireplace hearth because of its durability. It lasts really very long and is capable of holding fires for a long time as well. A variety of finishes are possible and slate, though elegant and simple, lends a lot of attraction to your fireplace.

Fireplace hearth construction: The first step to be followed while constructing your hearth is to determine whether the hearth will be in line with the floor or have a depth. The structure of the hearth bed has to be clean and dry. Concrete is the ideal material to construct your hearth floor. In case you notice any cracks, they have to be rectified right at this juncture, since it could lead to serious problems at a later date.

The next step is to cut the slate to perfection. Deploying a diamond saw for this purpose would ensure that the edges are smooth and carefully crafted. A regular saw would lead to jagged edges, thereby rendering your hearth useless. This process is called cutting-to-fit.

Lastly, stick down the slate using a perfectly bonded adhesive or simply, Portland cement. Care also need to be taken to make sure that the adhesive being used is fireproof. Wait for a couple of days for the adhesive to set and eventually have your fireplace hearth ready to use.

A fireplace hearth will add warmth and comfort to your home while also enhancing the décor. It is best that you consult with a company with experience in installing fireplace hearths. They will be able to advise you on the best hearths for your needs.