Some of the advantages of a limestone hearth can be that the stone is a fairly inexpensive building material that is also extremely durable, fire-resistant, and easily cut to the size and shape needed. A few disadvantages of this addition might be the fact that it does not heat evenly and may crack over time. These hearths may also show signs of stains or water rings if not sealed properly.
Limestone is naturally a very durable substance that typically holds up well when used in construction. This type of hearth is not usually nicked, scratched, or dented easily. It does not normally break under normal use, so a limestone hearth typically lasts for a number of years.
This product is also fire-resistant. This means that if a spark from the fireplace were to land on the hearth, it would not normally catch on fire. For this reason, it is often a safer choice than flammable materials, like wood.
A limestone hearth can be virtually any size or shape. This is because this material is usually easy to cut and form. A builder might also use limestone hearth tiles along with another material, such as concrete, to give the fireplace a unique look.
This type of hearth generally does not heat evenly. Normally, the section closest to the fire becomes very hot and, in some cases, cannot even be touched. The edge furthest away from the source of heat, however, typically stays very cool.
This uneven heating pattern often leads to a limestone hearth cracking after a few years. These cracks can be unsightly and difficult to repair. Applying a liquid sealant to the material when the fireplace is constructed may sometimes prevent this cracking from occurring.
Homeowners who have a limestone hearth should take care not to place glasses of water or flower vases on it. This is because these items may leave water rings on the surface, which can be nearly impossible to remove. Likewise, care should be taken not to spill juice, soda, or other liquids on the hearth because these might also leave stains, even when they are cleaned up right away. Fireplaces that are sealed to prevent cracking are sometimes resistant to these types of stains, which can be another reason for doing so.
A fireplace with a limestone hearth can give a room a warm, cozy feel while complimenting almost any type of decor. The stone is readily available in many areas, so there is not typically a high cost associated with obtaining this product. Unfortunately, it may crack or retain stains if not properly sealed at the time of construction. People thinking of choosing this type of hearth for their homes should consider all these factors before making a final decision.