Stone fireplaces are one of the most common types of outdoor fireplaces for many good reasons. Stone outdoor fireplaces have a hearty, solid look that fits well outdoors and they are very sturdy so they will last a long time. A stone fireplace can easily fit the look of a modern or a traditional home by using different types of stones and the right outdoor fireplace design to fit the overall style of the home.
Adding an outdoor stone fireplace can increase your usable living space, making your home feel bigger. When you spend the time to properly plan and build a custom outdoor fireplace it can turn your yard into a cozy, inviting area where you can enjoy quiet evenings alone or invite friends to share the ambient glow of your beautiful stone fireplace. Before you jump into this project there are some things you will want to consider.
Things To Consider
First and foremost you need to do some research to determine the building and fire codes in your area. Call local municipal offices to get the specific regulations before you start your outdoor fireplace designs. In some areas you may be required to apply for a permit in order to add a new structure to your yard. Some areas are very lenient but others can be quite strict. In the the worse case scenario you spend time and money on fireplace construction building your dream patio, only to find out you have to remove the fireplace because it is not allowed or because you didn’t follow the necessary rules and regulations.
Next you may want to decide if you want a gas fireplace or a wood burning fireplace. Part of this decision may be made for you when you find out what is allowed in your area. If you have gas lines already installed around your home you can call a professional to come out and connect your gas unit to your gas lines. Or you can look into outdoor propane fireplaces if you don’t have gas lines installed. Wood burning stone fireplaces are usually a bit less expensive and more attractive because you get the crackling sound of the fire as it burns. But they can cause more air pollution with the smoke they emit.
You will also need to consider your budget. Outdoor stone fireplaces can range from fairly reasonable to incredibly expensive depending on exactly what you want. Unless you really know what you are doing you should hire a contractor to help design and install this; building an outdoor fireplace is a big project to take on alone. The price can vary quite a bit depending on the size, shape and stone work involved. If you don’t have a very large budget you may want to consider an outdoor fireplace kit. Outdoor fireplace kits are easier to install because they are cut and sized for the pieces to easily fit together. You can then finish them in the stone of your choice. They are also a good option for those who like to do the work themselves, but even if you hire someone to install the kit it will be less expensive because there will be less work involved.
Another thing to consider with outdoor stone fireplaces is the type and color of stone you want to use. You will want something that will blend well with the color and feel of your patio, landscaping and home design and color. Unless you have a really good eye for this you may want to have a professional help you design the look. This will be a long lasting structure you want to be sure to get it right. Once again unless you really know what you are doing have a professional help build the core structure. The firebox needs to be durable enough to withstand the high heat of multiple fires. Only certain materials can handle this kind of use; you need to consider safety here. Once you have built the core structure you can finish it in the stone of your choice to make this patio fireplace feel like a natural part of your home.
Finally make sure you have a safe design with adequate ventilation. The basic stone outdoor fireplace design is the same as one you would use indoors except outdoor fireplaces don’t use dampers. Instead outdoor fireplaces have a taller chimney to carry away the smoke.
Stones Used For Outdoor Stone Fireplaces
Natural stones are a common choice for stone outdoor fireplaces. Some opt to use a mix of large and small stones or you can use a blend of stone and wood.
Some choose cast stone or cultured stone which is man-made. It is lighter and a little easier to set into place than natural stone and can be made into specific sized and shapes.
Limestone is another popular choice. It has a simple, neutral color and is typically more affordable.
Marble is another option of natural stone you can use. Marble can create a beautiful look with its wide range of colors and unique designs. The down side is that it can be pretty expensive.
Granite is very durable and almost maintenance free. It’s also easy to clean.
Remember to consider the maintenance over the long haul. While outdoor stone fireplaces usually last longer than metal fireplaces, which can rust over time, they will still wear. Consider how your mortar will hold up over time while exposed to all the elements outside. By using less porous, stronger materials your stone outdoor fireplace will last longer with less maintenance.