A hearth is an open fireplace with a chimney above that traditionally was used for both heating the house and for cooking. Most hearths today are not necessarily used for either cooking or heating, though many can still be used for such activities. Today, a hearth is more commonly used for decoration and to add warmth to a room, so new materials other than those used in the past are in use today. One such material is the marble hearth, which can add elegance and a beautiful aesthetic to a room. It is not the best choice for heat transferral or practical use — such as cooking — but it is a great choice for elegance and design.
A marble hearth is a good choice because marble is an attractive stone that will act as an eye-catching centerpiece to any room. Marble comes in a variety of colors, which means a marble hearth can fit into a variety of room color schemes and aesthetics. The marble hearth will be relatively durable, though not as durable as stone, brick, or concrete. The material itself is readily available in most areas, though many areas will have to import marble, which can drive up cost and delivery time.
In fact, cost is one of the major drawbacks of the marble hearth. It is much more expensive than other materials such as concrete, brick, or stone, though some marble can be found at a good price. Other options include faux marble, which is not made from marble at all but is instead meant to look like marble. These faux materials are not as durable as real marble, which is not very durable itself compared to other hearth materials. Marble is easy to clean, however, as dust and grit generally come off using just a damp rag or duster.
One advantage to a marble hearth is the fact that it is heat resistant. This means that any debris or stray embers from a stove or fireplace will not cause combustion on the stone, which may help prevent fires in the house. Marble is a porous stone, however, meaning it is prone to stains from spills or other liquids. Houses with pets in them may want to consider keeping the pets away from the marble hearth to prevent urine stains or other messes. Marble can also chip fairly easily, and repairing the chips in the stone can be a big project, though not impossible.