A raised hearth is a kind of hearth that is higher than the floor of a room in which a fireplace is located. Most fireplaces have hearths that are flush with the floor, even built into the floor. A raised hearth, however, is usually 1 to 2 feet (between 30 and 60 centimeters) above the floor. Those that are lower in height often resemble a step, whereas those that are taller are usually the height of a low bench and may even be used as such.
In order to have a raised hearth, the mouth of a fireplace must be higher in the wall than usual. It is possible to install this type of hearth in a room that currently has a fireplace that is flush with the floor. This takes a relatively high level of craftsmanship, however, and usually requires the assistance of a professional. The hearth itself may be as wide as the mantle or even a bit wider. The material that is used to make a raised hearth is often the same material that is used to make the fireplace surround.
The materials that are used to make a raised hearth are quit similar to the materials that are used to make hearths that are flush with the floor. Common materials include wood, brick, and stones such as slate and limestone. The choice of material is usually based on both aesthetic and functions. Just as every material option has certain aesthetic qualities, there are also pros and cons associated with each type of material.
Many people used a raised hearth as an area to display items such as sculptures and favorite house plants. Others use it mainly for practical purposes. In these cases, it is used as a place to hold bundles of wood and fireplace accessories.
One of the benefits of a raised hearth is that the mouth of the fireplace is slightly more distanced from the floor of the room which helps to reduce the risk of sparks and embers singing the carpet or nearby rugs. Another benefit is that, with taller raised hearths, the area can be used for extra seating. Many people purchase cushions that fit on their hearths. It is also possible to make one long cushion that runs the length of the hearth. Just be sure to remove it before lighting a fire.