Stone for fireplaces – Part 1

Another week has passed and yet.. I look younger! 😉


There are many stones available for fireplaces..


Limestone, slate, marble, granite – with so many to choose from, which stone is the right one?


In this article, I will be focussing my attention to Travertine, simply because I have been dealing with this particular stone alot lately and have had quite a number of questions asked by my clients 😉


Travertine has an interesting story attached, as it is formed in a slightly unusual way.


Travertine is formed when carbon dioxide-rich water passes through rocks in limestone-rich areas. The water dissolves the limestone and becomes saturated with it.

When the environment the water runs through, changes – a drop in pressure and/or a change in the temperature, the water releases carbon dioxide gas, rather like when one releases a cap on a fizzy-drinks bottle.

The calcium carbonate then re-crystallises in the form of small debris, scrub and living biotic material such as; moss and algae. – (Source:


As the living material decomposes, air holes are then formed within the rock – See Fig.1 below:


Travertine with holes


One can purchase this stone in its original form!


In fact, I did visit a client at their house recently, where travertine stone had been laid on their patio..


In most cases, Travertine is filled and honed – see fig.2 below – although generally, this is only the case with one side of the stone (the top-side). The base is commonly left in it’s natural form!


Travertine filled with arrows showing resin


The arrows in figure 2, show the areas of stone which have been filled by the resin – In my opinion, the resin does add aesthetic value to the stone, by contrasting the stones natural markings..


Travertine filled and honed


Figure 3 demonstrates clearly, the qualities that travertine can have in its finished form!


To be continued…


















Published in: on June 2, 2008 at 3:53 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] for fireplaces – Part 2 In my previous article on stone for fireplaces I introduced the Travertine stone. In this article, I will be disgussing Portuguese Limestone, […]

  2. Hi,
    I’m about to move to a 1920’s house in DC. There is an open fireplace in the living room but the original mantel has been moved. I’m searching for a replacement, and I was told that now DC requieres 12″on each side (and top) between the opening and the mantel. This is ruling out many wood mantels as they would need to be very big (the opening is 36″Wx 27″H with a curve) and the room is relatively small. I’m in need of suggestions, probably I should look into stone mantels, but not sure how to go about it. Help would be appreciate it.


  3. Hi Paula,

    Sorry it’s taken a while to get back to you – we have been working super hard in the last month, trying to prepare for the fireplace season to start and I have had to slack slightly in other areas to make time for other work…

    Anyway 🙂

    As a note: we are actually based in Hertfordshire, UK so you may need to checkout your local fireplace shop / showroom…

    Although saying this, the UK IS not too dissimilar from the America – I am assuming that when you said DC, you were referring to Washington DC?

    I suppose 12″ is a little bit excessive, with a stone mantel you could have a much shorter distance!

    I love Limestone, you could look at some nice grades of Portuguese Limestone or Agean Limestone.

    Basically, the thing to remember is that the stone you use is dependant on the size of your fire and the type of fuel you will be using!

    If you do require any more help, then please come back to me…

    Buck 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: