5 Natural Stone Options to Refresh Your Fireplace

Megy Karydes
Written by Megy Karydes
Updated October 15, 2021
Family room with fireplace with stone surround
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A natural stone finish will bring warmth and dimension to your fireplace

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If your current fireplace feels more like an eyesore rather than an integral part of your home’s design, consider updating it with a natural stone finish. Natural stone is durable, eco-friendly, and retains heat well. Even better, no two stones are the same. You can create a truly unique focal point in any room if you just choose the right fireplace stone. Consider these five types of natural stone options (plus a few DIY options for the handy homeowner) perfect for your hearth or surround and learn about the unique features of each. 

5 Questions to Ask Before Installing a New Fireplace Stone

Before you can decide on which type of natural stone to choose for your fireplace, consider these five questions:

1. What look and feel do you want to achieve with your new fireplace? Are you going for a modern and minimalist space or a warm and cozy vibe? Will the overall feel veer more toward elegant or rustic? 

2. What’s your budget? The cost of natural stone varies, but having an idea of what you can spend will help you narrow your options. 

3. Who will be doing the work? Will you install the stone yourself or hire a contractor? Some fireplace stones are easier to install than others; the more difficult the installation, the higher the cost. 

4. How much maintenance is too much maintenance?  After installation, you’ll need to consider how to maintain the stone. For example, will you need to seal the stone? How hard will it be to clean it? Does it stain easily? 

5. How durable does the structure need to be? Some types of natural stone are more likely to break or crack under heat, so choose a material that can stand the test of time (and wear from kids and pets). 

Go Granite for a Contemporary or Traditional Look

Granite is a popular choice among homeowners because it’s durable, scratch-resistant, and easy to maintain. It also handles heat well, making it a smart option for wood-burning fireplaces. Just be sure to seal your granite during installation to prevent etching and staining. 

Adorn your hearth, your surround, or both with granite. It comes in hundreds of colors, textures, and patterns, so you’ll have plenty of options to create a contemporary or traditional look. 

Choose Marble for a Timeless Appeal

Fireplace with floor to ceiling marble surround
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If your goal is to create a luxurious and elegant focal point, consider going with marble. It’s rich, timeless, and built to last—perfect for updating a permanent fixture like your fireplace. Install it with either a polished or unpolished finish to match your home’s aesthetic. 

Also, consider the type of fireplace in your home before choosing a marble slab. Darker tones will hide soot from a wood-burning fireplace. If you have an electric or gas insert, you can implement lighter tones such as white or cream.

Consider Limestone for Budget-Friendly Beauty

Fireplace with limestone surround
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Limestone is one of the least expensive natural stone options on the market. It has a warm and natural look that’s sure to lure you toward the fireplace when you want to cozy up on a cold night. Limestone is a softer stone that might crack under the intensity of a wood-burning fireplace, so this is another stone that’s better suited for your electric or gas fireplace.

Select Slate for an Earthy Vibe

Like limestone, slate is a durable stone that compliments homes with rustic vibes. Incorporate it into a unique stacked stone fireplace, or apply it as tile for clean lines. Slate comes in gray, black, red, and green tones.

Its uniquely rough texture tends to hide dirt. It’s also low maintenance, which makes it a popular choice for those with wood-burning fireplaces.

Pick Quartzite to Make a Bold Statement

Beautiful living room with quartzite fireplace
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If you’re feeling extravagant, go with quartzite. This moody rock has the appeal of natural stone with the low-maintenance qualities of quartz. It is a quartz-rich sandstone that’s been recrystallized through a combo of heat and pressure. The result? A sturdy scratch- and heat-resistant stone. 

DIY Fireplace Stone Ideas

If budget is a concern or you want to tackle the job yourself, here are some cost-effective alternatives to natural stone. 

Stucco Fireplace

Some small tools, a good online tutorial, and a free weekend are all you need to refresh your fireplace with stucco. Simply slather a new layer over your existing brick or wood finish. Keep it gray or choose to paint the stucco once it dries. A crisp white will brighten any room, while earthy colors will create a warmer feel. 

Stone Veneer Fireplace

White stone veneer fireplace in living room
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Stone veneers are a more budget-friendly option than natural stone. Veneers come in uniform-sized panels which makes for an easier install than oddly-shaped natural stone. You can find natural stone veneers that feature real stone pieces or choose panels that emulate the look. Either way, this option is great for families who don’t want to worry about staining or chipping their stone fireplace.

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