- AMARILLO, TX, August 11, 2005 - Fireplaces have even moved out of the home into the backyard. With the trend toward outdoor kitchens and entertaining areas, fireplaces aren't just for the living room any more. In addition to a cozy way to take the chill off the evening while enjoying an outdoor get together, they are being used as pizza or tandoori ovens outside.
Fireplaces add warmth to your home both figuratively and literally. They also can add a big dash of style, either indoors or out. Whether you're building a new fireplace or want to jazz up an existing fireplace, take time to choose the perfect surround and mantle so your fireplace will become the focal point you're looking for.
With all the fireplace options out there, picking the right one can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help make the decision easier.
1. Choose a style that fits your home. For example, if you live in a prairie-style home, you want a fireplace that reflects that feeling, not a baroque masterpiece. Find a company that offers a range of options so you'll be assured of finding a fireplace that is the perfect complement for your home.
2. Pick the right material. Not only do stone surrounds offer natural beauty and add dimension to a space, they also are safer than wood or resin surrounds. In fact, updated fire codes in many communities restrict the use of some wood or resin surrounds. However, stone is expensive and can be hard to work with, requiring experience and special tools. A great alternative is Milestone Architectural Stone, made from hand cast, lightweight concrete. "Our product is 50 to 65 percent lighter in weight than standard cast or genuine stone with the natural veining which enhances the hand carved look our products are best known for," says company CEO Melody Saunders Brenna.
3. Set a budget. Having a number in mind before starting a project helps focus your options. Your contractor or designer can suggest ways to save money. For example, Brenna points out that less weight translates to savings in many ways, including reduced labor and shipping costs and quicker project completion time.
4. Make sure your fireplace can withstand the elements. Outdoor fireplaces require special considerations, since they're exposed to wind, rain and snow. "Milestone's composition of white Portland cement, natural sands and mineral pigments achieves every desired color and surface texture, while maintaining durable physical properties, often exceeding that of natural, cut building stones," says Brenna.
5. Will you do it yourself? Unless you're a stone mason, you probably wouldn't try to install a natural stone fireplace. But Milestone's fireplaces can be installed by do-it-yourselfers. The material can be cut using a circular saw, and installation is straightforward using their complete installation guides. Milestone is a great replacement for natural cut limestone, brownstone, coralstone, sandstone, bluestone, granite, slate, travertine and other natural stones. It can be easily stained or given a patina to achieve different looks.
6. Get expert advice. If you're lucky enough to be using an interior designer or architect, they can help you choose a fireplace that is the right scale for your project. If you're on your own, the design experts at Milestone are happy to share their years of experience to ensure a finished fireplace that you'll love. Even interior designers appreciate the artistic inspiration they get from Milestone's consultants. "Milestone teams help me utilize their historic replication molds to create fireplaces which fit any design style my clients need," says interior designer Mary Stephens. "Stone is a classic material, the perfect counterweight to the more playful design additions to a home; and the fact that we can so easily install and glaze or antique their lightweight stone, gives me every option I need."
Link to photo: http://www.milestoneltd.com/i/3fireplaces.jpg
From a craftsman bungalow to a suburban rambler to the backyard, no matter where you put one, a fireplace adds drama and enjoyment to your home, not to mention increasing its value.
For more information on Milestone's fireplace products, visit
or call (888) 851-3381.