Is Marble Okay for Wood Burning Fireplace?

kitchenkrazed09September 9, 2011

We are planning to reface our brick wood burning fireplace and raised hearth with a white marble tile. Is this material okay for a wood burning fireplace? I read something about it mostly being used for gas fireplaces, since they don't burn as hot. Also, would either honed or polished marble work? Are there advantages of one vs. the other?

I would like the marble installed with no grout lines, but am a little worried that the top of the hearth will collect dirt and ashes at the seams (with or without grout). This would be more visible since it will be a white marble. Does anyone have any advice? Thanks in advance!

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mainegrower

I'm not aware of any heat related problems with using marble - many ornately carved Victorian fireplaces, including those intended for coal burning, used this material for the fireplace surround. It's use for a hearth, however, is probably not such a great idea. This has nothing to do with heat. Marble scratches easily and stains easily so it's use as a hearth or other horizontal surface is not to be recommended.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 5:19AM
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kitchenkrazed09

Thanks very much for your response, Mainegrower. Do you think marble could possibly work as a hearth if I use a honed marble that I sealed regularly? From what I understand, the sealer should prevent stains? I would have to live with any etching or scratches, however. Unless there is a way to buff them out.

If I use another material for the hearth, do you have any advice what might go with white marble and not look too rustic? Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 6:48AM
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mainegrower

A sealer might help, but any fireplace will spit out some wood sap/water/resin when in use. I think this material would penetrate any sealer and in time create a noticeably spotted hearth. If you can find a sealer, however, which specifically states it would be resistant enough for use on a hearth, it would be worth a try.

As for alternatives: There are ceramic tiles designed to look like marble. Probably pretty stain and scratch resistant, but will break if something - like a log - is dropped on them. Granite is available in light colors; expensive and not terribly stain resistant, but hard to scratch. The artificial material used for laboratory bench tops is very stain and scratch resistant, but I've never seen it any color but slate gray. Natural slate or bluestone is a very good hearth material, but might be a bit rustic for your taste, not to mention a real contrast to light colored marble. If there is a well stocked stone dealer within a reasonable distance, a visit would be well worth your time for both a look at what's available and their advice.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 5:39AM
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kitchenkrazed09

Thanks for your help, Mainegrower. I did find two brands of porcelain tile, Rondine Evolution and Naxos Sculptur (honed only), that look very much like marble. I think I'll look into whether either of those would be suitable for a hearth and also check out my local stone supplier. Great advice, thanks again!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 9:03AM
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